- Kingdom Animalia
- Phylum Chordata
- Class Aves
- Order Psittaciformes
- Family Cactuidae
- Genus Cacatua, Probosciger, Callocephalon, Nymphicus, Calyptorhynchus, Eolophus, Lophochroa,
- Species Many
Any of the 21 bird species in the Cacatuidae family is referred to as a cockatoo. They’re also known as “parrots,” together with two other families (Psittacoidea and Strigopoidea). They are mostly found in Australasia, although they may also be found in aviaries and as pets all around the globe. Many cockatoos are medium-sized birds with distinct plumage and crests. They’re usually white, grey, or black, with a colourful feature on the side. This might be in the crest room of a colourful cockatoo, such as the Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), or in their cheeks or tail feathers. They are around 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) long and weigh between 0.66-2.65 pounds (300-1,200 g).
Cockatoos have long, pointed tail feathers and a movable head crest. It is very striking in several species. They all have broad wings and are excellent flyers. Some galah species may reach speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph), while others, like the sulphur-crested cockatoo, have smaller, more rounded wings. This allows them to fly at a slower pace than their faster relatives.
The family seems to be divided into three clades. The cockatiel, which belongs to the genus Nymphicus, has its own category, whereas the rest of the birds are divided into two groups. The five species of the genus Calyptorhyncus, which are distinguished by their black plumage, are the next biggest. Finally, the genus Cacatua, which includes 11 white-feathered species, is the biggest group of cockatoos. The other four genera are unique from the others and do not fit well into any of the above categories. Cockatoos are long-lived birds that may live up to 40 years in the wild and up to 70 years in captivity.
Cockatoo Range and Habitat
The range of the cockatoo is quite small, occurring nearly entirely in Australasia. In particular, eleven species can only be found in the wild in Australia. Seven more are limited to the Philippine, Indonesian, Papua New Guinean, and Solomon Islands. New Guinea and Australia are home to the other three species. Some species have been imported outside their normal range, but they are still not considered part of the cosmopolitan bird family. Cockatoo species inhabit a diverse variety of environments within their range. They may be found in subalpine woods as well as among the mangroves at sea level. Many animals are itinerant, but those that live in forests prefer to select a fertile location and remain around, since food supplies are more consistent here than in more dry settings.
The majority of cockatoo species like to eat seeds, fruits, and insects. They all have a strong tongue and huge bills. These abilities, when combined, enable them to manipulate seeds and other foods. To feed, they often assemble in big flocks with many other cockatoos. This is particularly prevalent while they are foraging on the ground, maybe as a kind of “safety-in-numbers” tactic to prevent predation.
Cockatoo Nesting and reproduction
Cockatoos make their nests in tree hollows, and they often return to the same location year after year. They are unable to dig these places independently and must rely on insects or decaying tree trunks to do it. They will then line this spot with wood and leaves and actively defend it, particularly during the breeding season. Although females are the major carers and family planners in certain species, cockatoos establish monogamous partnerships, mating solely with one another for many years and frequently raising their young together. Males will often groom females and vice versa, as well as perform full courting displays before nesting and at the start of the breeding season.
Females will deposit anything from one to eight little white eggs after copulation, depending on the species. Hatchlings emerge from their eggs after an incubation period of roughly 20–29 days. They become fledglings 5–11 weeks later, exiting the nest for the first time. Young will live with their parents for up to a year before venturing out on their own. Compared to other bird species, cockatoos reach sexual maturity later, enabling them to develop the necessary abilities before taking on the responsibility of parenting.
Birds of prey, such as falcons and eagles, are the major predators of cockatoos, attacking them with their talons. Many creatures, including snakes, mammals, and other birds, prey on eggs and nestlings, making them particularly susceptible.
Habitat loss for human development is one of their major dangers, as it is for many other species. Furthermore, because of their popularity in aviaries, they are sought after in illicit trade marketplaces where wild-caught birds are offered as captive-bred. The IUCN has classified many cockatoo species as vulnerable or endangered, including the severely endangered yellow-crested cockatoo.
Fun Facts about Cockatoo!
Cockatoos have a distinct personality. They are also clever and have managed to coexist with humans in certain situations.
A Cockatoo is a parrot.
Cockatoos belong to the Cacatuidae family and are distinguished by their high crests and bent beaks. Within the family, there are seven genera and twenty-one species. Parrots include members of the Psittacoidea and Strigopoidea families, as well as cockatoos. All parrots have a zygodactyl foot, which means they have forward-facing toes and backward-facing toes. They possess a powerful claw that allows them to grip tree branches and devour them. Their legs are all quite small, and their wings are all large.
Psittacoidea, also known as ‘real parrots,’ has a considerably greater range than cockatoos, but Strigopoidea, also known as the Kakapo or New Zealand, has a range that does not overlap with cockatoos. Cockatoos, in addition to their distinctive crests, are often white, grey, or black in colour, making them less vibrant than many other parrot species with multicoloured plumage. Cockatoos do not “speak” or mimic in the same way as “real parrots” do, but they do have a sophisticated range of noises that they use to communicate with one another.
In conclusion, all species of cockatoo are parrots, but not all parrots are cockatoos. Cockatoos, like other parrots, exhibit strident and piercing vocalisations.
The majority of cockatoo species are of modest size. The cockatiel, on the other hand, is obviously a small bird. It seems to have separated phylogenetically before other cockatoo species, which is interesting. In aviaries, all cockatoos are common. Their requirements, on the other hand, are often difficult to satisfy. The cockatiel is one of the simplest birds to care for, and it is the most widely maintained as a pet or in aviaries.
An endangered pest
Habitat destruction is a clear danger to the survival of most cockatoo species, since they prefer to build eggs in tree hollows. Many species are, in fact, endangered in this manner. Certain species, such as the sulphur-crested cockatoo, can adapt effectively and have found alternate nesting places in human-developed regions. In certain locations, some species are even considered agricultural or urban pests.