Animal Diaries Archive
A Cheeky Cockatoo
21 March 2008
One of my biggest joys being a Rover at Australia Zoo is working with the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. They are so much fun. The fact that they can talk, do tricks and can be extremely affectionate makes them so special. Visitors at the Zoo seem to really enjoy their company too. Lots of laughs are involved when Anthony the cockatoo says, “Hello pretty girl” (usually to a male patron) and then laughs his ‘cheeky laugh’. Everyone finds it hilarious when Occa impersonates a chicken, puppy dog or kettle; such clever birds! Their intelligence and great personalities often sparks the question- are these Cockatoos a good pet?
Cockatoos are very high maintenance. In fact, these particularly complex birds need nearly the same attention as a two year old child; a relationship that involves a fairly substantial commitment. If owners do not devote enough time and attention to their cockatoo, often it will become bored, even emotionally distraught. This, in turn, leads inevitably to feather plucking and a good deal of rather raucous noise.
Cockatoos also mate for life. If these birds are not introduced to another cockatoo they will often choose their human companion as their lifelong partner - and I mean LIFELONG! Cockatoos are monogamous and that means there isn’t anybody coming in between you and your cockatoo. They haven't got enormous, powerful beaks for nothing! Sulphur-crested Cockatoos can live a very long life too. It is common for pet cockatoo to live anywhere from 70 all the way up to their early 100 years old! This means that cockatoos can easily out live their lifelong mate, their owner. How heartbreaking!
Oh, and forget discipline. Many take “NO!” to mean “Try again later perhaps this time when no one’s looking”- very amusing. Without a doubt, cockatoos have a rare presence. Their imposing size, expressive crest, high intelligence, curiosity, weird antics and tremendous capacity for affection makes them very unique animals…but not necessarily a great pet.
Our Amazing Sulphur-crested Cockatoos
The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is probably Australia's best known parrot. These birds are often kept as pets, as they are extremely intelligent and are very good ...more