Last modified on 9 April 2019, at 06:43


Sulphur-crested Cockatoo2.jpg
Sulphur-crested cockatoo
Cacatua galerita
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Superorder Psittacimorphae
Order Psittaciformes
Family Information
Family Cacatuidae
Population statistics

Cockatoo refers to the twenty-one species of parrot-like birds in the family Cacatuidae, immediately characterized from other parrots by the presence of a flamboyant crest on the tops of their heads. Found in Australia and nearby island countries, cockatoos are at once familiar cage birds or agricultural pests; both have severely impacted the numbers of several species, and caused Australia to pass legislation barring exportation.


Most species of cockatoo are medium-sized birds, with an average length of 15-18 inches. The smallest is the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), which is 13 inches in length, while the palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) at 24 inches is nearly equal in size with the largest macaws. With the exception of the cockatiel, all cockatoos have a short, blunt tail.

All cockatoo species bear a crest on their heads. The crest is raised if the bird is excited or threatened, and in some species it is a display of a contrasting color to their overall plumage.

Cockatoos have an upright stance when perched; when not flying they move about in the trees using their hooked beak as a climbing aid. On the ground they walk with a rolling gait. Both feet are zygodactyl, i.e. two toes in front, two toes behind, a trait shared with owls and woodpeckers. Cockatoos further use one foot as a "hand" to hold and bring food to its mouth.

Cockatoo plumage differs from other parrots in that the feathers do not contain the brilliant colors caused by psittacofulvins.[1] The various species have as their base plumage either black, white, or pink as the main color; contrasting colors, such as red or yellow are either part of the facial skin or the crest.


  • Family Cacatuidae
Subfamily Cacatuinae
Tribe Cacatuini:
Genus Cacatua
Blue-eyed cockatoo, Cacatua ophthalmica
Goffin's cockatoo, Cacatua goffiniana
Little corella, Cacatua sanguinea
Long-billed corella, Cacatua tenuirostris
Moluccan cockatoo, Cacatua moluccensis
Red-vented cockatoo, Cacatua haematuropygia
Solomons cockatoo, Cacatua ducorpsii
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita
Umbrella cockatoo, Cacatua alba
Western corella, Cacatua pastinator
Yellow-crested cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea
Genus Callocephalon
Gang-gang cockatoo, Callocephalon fimbriatum
Genus Eolophus
Galah, Eolophus roseicapilla
Genus Lophochroa
Pink cockatoo, Lophochroa leadbeateri
Tribe Microglossini
Genus Probosciger
Palm cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus
Subfamily Calyptorhynchinae
Genus Calyptorhynchus
Glossy black cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus lathami
Long-billed black cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus baudinii
Red-tailed black cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus banksii
Short-billed black cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus latirostris
Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus funereus
Subfamily Nymphicinae
Genus Nymphicus
Cockatiel, Nymphicus hollandicus