Why Cockatoos Make Terrible Pets? Truth About Cockatoos As Pets

Cockatoos are fascinating creatures with vibrant personalities and stunning appearances. While these traits may pique your interest in owning one as a pet, there are numerous factors to consider before moving forward.

These birds have specific demands and can cause numerous issues for unsuspecting pet owners.

Resist the temptation of bringing home a beautiful cockatoo without doing proper research! In short, these birds can be quite challenging to care for and may not be suitable for all households. This article will delve into the various reasons cockatoos are often considered terrible pets and discuss the challenges pet owners might face.

Are you curious to know what makes cockatoos such poor pets for many people? Continue reading to find out more about these lovely, yet complex animals.

Understanding Cockatoos

The Natural Habits of a Cockatoo

Cockatoos are native to Australia and the surrounding islands, inhabiting a diverse range of ecosystems, from rainforests to savannas. They are social animals in the wild, forming strong bonds with their flock members. This behavior is important to understand, as it directly impacts how they behave when kept as pets.

Characteristics of Cockatoos

Cockatoos are intelligent and strong-willed. They have a natural curiosity that drives them to explore their environment, often using their beaks to manipulate objects. While these traits are fascinating to observe, they can contribute to the challenges of keeping cockatoos as pets.

Species of Cockatoos

There are various species of cockatoos available in the pet trade. Some of the most popular include the umbrella cockatoo, Moluccan cockatoo, sulfur-crested cockatoo, and Goffin’s cockatoo. Each species has its unique characteristics, but they all share similar traits that make them less suited for certain homes.

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Reasons Cockatoos Make Terrible Pets

Demanding Attention and Time

Cockatoos are highly social animals that require copious amounts of interaction and stimulation. They crave attention from their human family members, often displaying jealousy if they feel left out. If not provided with adequate attention, they are prone to developing behavioral problems, such as excessive screaming or self-mutilation.

Destructive Behaviors

With their powerful beaks and inherent curiosity, cockatoos can be extremely destructive. They have an intense need to chew, which can result in damaged furniture, door frames, and personal belongings. This behavior can be exacerbated if the bird becomes bored or stressed.

Noise Levels

Cockatoos are notorious for their ear-piercing screams. While vocalization is a natural way for them to communicate, many people find these noises intolerable, especially when living in close proximity to neighbors or in an apartment setting.

Longevity and Commitment

Cockatoos have an impressive lifespan, often living upwards of 50 years or more. This long life expectancy means that adopting a cockatoo is a lifelong commitment that should not be taken lightly. It’s essential to ask yourself if you’re prepared for the time, patience, and financial investment required to care for these animals.

Health Issues and Veterinary Care

Cockatoos are prone to specific health problems like fatty liver disease, feather plucking, and psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD). Regular veterinary check-ups and proper husbandry are essential for maintaining their health, which can be costly over time.


Cockatoos are undoubtedly beautiful, intelligent, and entertaining creatures. However, they are also demanding, destructive, and noisy birds that require a tremendous amount of dedication and commitment. While every animal is an individual with unique characteristics, the reasons outlined in this article should serve as a warning for potential pet owners considering a cockatoo. It is vital to fully research and understand the complexities of these birds before deciding to introduce one into your home.

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FAQ: People Also Ask

  1. What is the best way to house a cockatoo? Cockatoos should be housed in large, durable cages made of bird-safe materials, with plenty of enriching toys and climbing opportunities. Make sure the cage is both wide and tall enough for your cockatoo to stretch its wings and climb comfortably.
  2. Are cockatoos good with children? Although some cockatoos may tolerate children, their strong-willed nature and potential for jealousy make them less suitable for homes with young kids. They can become nippy if they feel threatened or jealous, so carefully consider if a cockatoo is the right fit for your family.
  3. What kind of diet should I feed my cockatoo to promote good health? A balanced diet for a cockatoo includes a high-quality pellet mix, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional nuts and seeds. Avoid feeding them high-fat foods, as they are prone to developing fatty liver disease.
  4. How can I train my cockatoo to be quieter? While you cannot eliminate cockatoo vocalizations completely, positive reinforcement training can be used to encourage quieter behavior. Rewarding desired behavior with treats or attention can help reduce excessive screaming.
  5. Do cockatoos need to be in pairs or are they fine living alone? Cockatoos do not necessarily need to be in pairs, but they do require substantial social interaction. If you cannot provide enough time and attention, adopting a single cockatoo may not be the best option. Consider a different species that is better suited for your lifestyle.

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