What Is The Lifespan Of A Cockatoo?

Cockatoos are loyal and friendly birds who love attention and affection. They are a firm favorite with many bird lovers, but how long do they live for? And how do you care for them? 

What Is The Lifespan Of A Cockatoo?

Before deciding if this is the bird for you, it is natural to want to know the answer to these questions.

But finding the answers can be tricky. You search and search, but no matter what you do, you can’t find the answers. 

It plagues you, keeping you up at night, and you wonder if you will ever know what the lifespan of a Cockatoo is. 

Well, no more! Today, we are here with the answers for you! Keep reading to find out what the lifespan of a Cockatoo is and everything else you need to know about these birds. 

What Is The Lifespan Of A Cockatoo?

Let’s get straight into it! If cared for properly, Cockatoos can live for up to fifty years! That’s a long time living with your bird.

Generally, we see a lifespan of roughly 20 years if a Cockatoo is living in captivity. 

Cockatoos living in the wild can live for much shorter due to other predators and illnesses. Don’t worry, we have more information on this coming up later.

For now, it’s worth noting that Cockatoos live far longer in captivity than in the wild, providing they are cared for properly. 

Now that we have covered the lifespan of a Cockatoo, let’s move on to learn more about these birds.

Where Does The Name Cockatoo Come From?

Cockatoos are birds native to Australia. Their name comes from the Dutch word kaketoe, meaning “cockerel”, and was later applied to the whole family.

In 16th century Europe, they were known as “cocatores” or “kakatores”. These birds are intelligent and are very chatty, you will often find your Cockatoo talking!

The Appearance Of A Cockatoo

Let’s take a look at the appearance of a Cockatoo. Generally speaking, these are medium-sized birds with a stocky build. 

Cockatoos range from 12 – 24 inches in length and 0.66 – 2.65 pounds in weight. However, one species, the Cockatiel, is considerably shorter and slimmer than the others.

A Cockatiel is roughly 13 inches long including its long pointed tail feathers and weighs 2.8 – 3.5 ounces.

They also have crests on their heads and depending on the species, these can be quite spectacular.

Don’t believe us? Have a search and see for yourself just how magnificent they are!

Along with their large and crested heads, a Cockatoo has a sharp beak that can cut into the wood.

They also have strong legs that help them when standing and climbing trees. These are some strong birds!

The beaks are either red or orange, but it is not uncommon to see a black beak. The color of the beaks will vary depending on the species of Cockatoo.

Along with their beaks, they also have colorful feathers, similar to the Galahas found in Australia. 

Black Cockatoos appear to replace their flight feathers one at a time, while the Galahs and Long-billed Corellas each take about six months to replace all of their flight feathers.

Generally, Cockatoos can fly incredibly fast and achieve fantastic heights.

When they aren’t flying, they walk on trees with ease. Their feet have adapted to make this walking far easier for them.

Usually, male Cockatoos will be larger than females. This isn’t uncommon in the animal kingdom and can be an easy way to determine the sex of the bird.

The Vocalizations Of Cockatoos

Now that we have discussed what they look like, you might be wondering what these birds sound like? Well, Cockatoos are very loud birds with harsh and loud voices.

Often, they use sounds to warn each other. Compared to other birds, they make far more noise and are known to drum on a dead branch with sticks. 

Cockatoos are loud birds that make a distinctive hiss when threatened. Some types of cockatoos make a chirping call when disturbed or when performing territorial displays.

Cockatoos also use sounds to signal danger. This is done mostly using alarm calls, where they start screaming when being threatened by something, like a predator. 

Mating Behaviors Of Cockatoos

Let’s move on to discuss mating now. Cockatoos tend to mate for life and will remain together until death separates them. 

After the death of a partner, some Cockatoos will find another partner. But usually, this is a temporary relationship, rather than a permanent one.

The Habitat Of Cockatoos

But what about the habitat of Cockatoos? Well, this varies depending on the type of Cockatoo. 11 species of cockatoos live in the wild with seven of these originating in the Philippines. 

Cockatoos are native to Australia and are distributed across many regions. 

The Cockatoo Diet

And what does a Cockatoo eat? Well, this again varies depending on the species and if they are in captivity or the wild. So let’s take a little look at some of the different diets. 

Cockatoos eat a variety of foods, such as vegetables and seeds. Galah and corellas feed on the ground, whereas Black Cockatoos will eat mostly in trees. 

Ground-feeding birds flock together and squabble over food. Cockatoos are birds that eat seeds that grow inside hard shells.

They dig them up using their bills. Cockatoos eat many different types of fruit and nuts. 

They can be generalists or specialist eaters. Glossy black cockatoos are specialists and eat lots of tree cones. They hold the cones with their feet and crush them with their bills.

They then remove the seeds from the crushed cones by licking them.

Cockatoos do not eat fruits because they are too heavy. They prefer seeds. The Sulfur Crested Cockatoo is a member of the Parrots family.

It is also known as the Sulfur Crested White Cockatoo or Sulfur Crested Black Cockatoo.

This species is found in eastern Australia, ranging from the Cape York Peninsula to northern New South Wales. It is an omnivorous species, feeding mainly on fruits and nectar, but sometimes insects too. 

The Behavior Of Cockatoos

All species are generally social and roost together, forage and travel together in groups. Flocks of these birds can be as large as 100 birds or smaller.

In times of plenty, flocking numbers can range from hundreds to thousands of birds.

Their favorite way to eat is by using their left foot. Some cockatoos prefer their right foot when eating. Cockatoos have a variety of different ways to express themselves.

Some birds use their feathers to show how happy or angry they are. 

A cockatoo’s crest feathers are raised when it is scared or nervous. When a cockatoo wants to impress someone, it raises its crest feathers.

Palm cockatoos also have a special spot on their face that gets flushed when they’re excited.

Birds of a feather flock together. Cockatoos lay eggs in pairs, but some species lay more than one egg per clutch.

Most cockatoos incubate the eggs, but some species incubate the eggs themselves. Cockatoos usually raise their young together as a group.

Cockatoos are intelligent birds who love to eat out of human hands. They also like to raid bird feeders and steal food from other birds. 

When their food sources dry up or when there isn’t enough around, they’ll tear apart wooden decking and paneling and even remove the rubber seals from streetlights.

They’re also very destructive to indoor plants and furniture. Palm cockatoos need mature trees with plenty of space to roam and search for food.

Breeding Cockatoos

So how do Cockatoos breed? Well, it starts with the male bird feeding the female during courtship. After the mating, both birds stay together as a couple until the eggs hatch.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Cockatoo?

Cockatoos’ hollows are formed when branches break off. 

They are usually found in areas of high humidity and close to water and vegetation. They use them to sleep during the day.

Cockatoos’ eggs are oval-shaped and initially white, but turn yellowish when they’re about halfway through incubation. 

Their location makes them an easy target for predators, so they need to be camouflaged. Cockatoos’ nests are lined with sticks, leaves, and woodchips, and they contain anywhere from one to six eggs. 

Females lay two eggs every day, although sometimes only one egg is laid. These eggs hatch within a few days of hatching and both parents feed chicks by regurgitating food back to them, which they then feed

Each egg hatches into an infant bird. Some birds hatch before others. A few birds do not even hatch. Most birds start hatching after about 20 days. The smallest birds hatch first.

Cockatiels have a very short nestling period compared to other parrots. Large birds such as macaws take much longer to develop and mature. 

Palm cockatoos have a long nestling period. As the weather gets colder, the number of birds born in spring decreases. Birds born later in the year are more likely to survive than those born earlier. 

Predators Of The Cockatoo

What are Cockatoos predators in the wild? Let’s take a look now. 

Eagles are one of the main predators, known to kill and hunt other birds. Their strength and power mean that Cockatoos don’t often stand a chance against these birds. 

Another predator is the Peregrine falcons, which are extremely fast birds. Again, these hunt other birds as their prey and are good at what they do.

They dive down fast and catch their prey, doing most of their hunting during the day.

Types Of Cockatoo And Their Lifespans

Cockatoo life expectancies vary widely between types of cockatoo. Read about these below.

Moluccan Cockatoos

Moluccan Cockatoos are very friendly birds who love attention. They have a life expectancy of around 70 years in captivity. They are also very intelligent and learn quickly. They love to play and learn new things. 

They are great talkers and know how to use many different words. They enjoy playing with toys and learning new tricks. They make excellent pets! They eat mostly seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects. 

Moluccan Cockatoos do well in captivity, but they need space to fly around and exercise. They also need toys and other items to play with.

Goffin Cockatoos

Goffins are large cockatoos. They are very social animals. They are often found living in pairs or groups of three to five individuals. 

They are known for being extremely friendly to humans. Their lifespan is usually about 25 years. Goffin Cockatoos like to explore their environment by walking, flying, climbing trees, perching, and picking up objects.

Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos

Sulfur-crested Cockatoos are very friendly birds. They are known to be smart and clever. They love to learn new things. Some people even say that they are smarter than parrots. 

They are famous for being able to imitate human speech. They are also very social creatures. They enjoy hanging around other cockatoos.

Their lifespan is estimated to be between 20 to 40 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live much longer. 

The oldest sulfur-crested cockatoo ever recorded was nearly 73 years old. 

Umbrella Cockatoos

Umbrella cockatoos are native birds of Australia. Their scientific name is Cacatua albina. They are also called white cockatoos. They are very intelligent birds. 

They are also very friendly, but they can be aggressive when defending themselves or their territory. They are great mimics. They love to sing, especially during mating season. 

When they mate, they do it in the air. Sometimes they will fly around the place until they find a suitable spot. They are also very social birds. They usually stick together in flocks.

They are easy to care for because they don’t need much attention. You should feed them a variety of foods. They normally live around 60 years.

Galah Cockatoo

Galahs are beautiful little pink-colored birds that have a lot of fun. Their lifespan is about 20 years in the wild. 

But in captivity, a galah lives for more than 40 years if you take care of them well. Your pet galah may even live to 80 years old.

Health Issues

Just like others, Cockatoos have some health issues that you should be aware of before purchasing one. They tend to need more mental stimulation than other birds.

You will need to make sure that they have plenty of toys, mirrors, and have lots of attention to keep them entertained. 

Cockatoos can also pull out their feathers when they’re bored, so keeping them entertained is a must! 

Cockatoos also suffer from diseases such as PBFD, fatty liver disease, and obesity if given too much food.

You can help control this through diet and ensuring that your Cockatoo can exercise in its cage, or has space to fly. If you are concerned about these diseases, be sure to speak to a vet for an examination. 

Conservation Issues

Like other animals living in the wild, Cockatoos are suffering from conservation issues. The desolation of forests has left these creatures without a habitat. This has left Cockatoos without mature trees that they can nest in. 

To help conserve Cockatoos, we need to continue to support wildlife alliances that will help the Palm Cockatoo to continue existing in the wild. 

Ways To Extend Your Cockatoos Lifespan

So how can you help boost and extend your Cockatoos lifespan? Well, there are a few things you can do, check out our list below for some handy tips and tricks that you can use today! 

Give Them A Balanced Diet 

Diet is super important to your Cockatoo and is one way to keep them healthy and happy. Offer a diet that has plenty of fruit, vegetables, and seeds to ensure they are getting the nutrients that they need.

Be sure to check with a vet if you are unsure about the correct diet for your Cockatoo.  

Offer Plenty Of Water 

Your Cockatoo will need access to water all day to ensure they are hydrated and healthy. You should place this in a location that is easy for them to reach and that you can access to refill.

Change their water daily to prevent any bacteria from entering that could make them unwell! 

Keep Them At The Right Temperatures

Also, make sure that he/she does not overheat because that could cause serious damage to his/her internal system. A heated perch can be purchased to provide warmth for your parrot during cold weather.

Cold temperatures make birds restless and uncomfortable. You can also buy cage covers to help keep the cage warm at night. 

Keep Them Entertained 

Use toys and games to keep your cockatoo entertained. This can prevent the bird from becoming destructive out of boredom.

Try out some ropes, chew toys, foot toys, and maize mats to keep your cockatoo mentally stimulated throughout the day.

Keep Them Clean 

Cleaning up urine and feces is also a must. Check around the base of your birds’ wings regularly. Remember to brush your bird’s tail feathers regularly.

Don’t use metal combs. Use only natural products like horsehair or synthetic bristles. 

Keep The Cage Clean 

Change bedding material frequently. Feathers attract pests like fleas and lice. Make sure to remove everything from the cage and clean it thoroughly with hot water, vinegar cleaner, and soap.

Clean out the food and water bowls with hot soapy water, clean all of the accessories, and vacuum around the cage. Take care when handling droppings, and make sure to put your bird in a temporary cage while cleaning.


Cockatoos are amazing and highly intelligent birds, they make fantastic pets and can provide you with many years of enjoyment and companionship. 

Remember to keep an eye out for any potential illnesses that your cockatoo might suffer from and get them checked out by a vet immediately. 

If you keep your cockatoo safe from harm, feed them properly, stimulate them both mentally and physically and take good overall care of them, your cockatoo should live a long and healthy life. 

Some cockatoos live longer than others just by chance, but taking care of your cockatoo properly goes a long way in extending its life as much as possible.

Harlan Derricks