One of Australia’s most well-known birds, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is a large white parrot with a dark grey-black beak, a distinctive sulphur-yellow crest and yellow wash on the underside of the wings. The feet are dark grey with black claws.
In the north, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos live in pairs or small groups. In the south, the birds live in large flocks. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos eat the seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants, grains, bulbous roots, berries, nuts and leaf buds. They also take handouts from humans.
They are often kept as pets, as they are extremely intelligent and very good at learning to talk. They warn of intruders, and also have an extremely loud raucous screech. They often outlive their owner, with the longest living cockatoo recorded at over 80 years of age.
Recognisable by their curved beaks and showy crests, cockatoos communicate using vocalisations and body language, often raising their crests in greeting, excitement or alarm.
Cockatoos, along with some parrots, have the most evolved brains in all birds. They became easily habituated among people, and can imitate all sorts of noises, including human words. Listen carefully to see if you can recognise Lone Pine’s cockatoo conversations.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are highly social and monogamous breeders, with pair bonds lasting many years, sometimes for life.