Yellow-Crested Cockatoo

Cacatua sulphurea
Lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo
The Yellow-crested cockatoo usually has white plumage, and on its head is a yellow crest that curves forwards. Its wings and tail on the undersides are also yellow, its bill is black, and its feet gray. Females have reddish-brown eyes and males have black eyes. The skin around their eyes is bluish. Juveniles have a gray iris, and chicks are born with patchy yellow down.
below 7,000

population size

60 yrs

Life span

308-380 g


33 cm



The Yellow-crested cockatoo native to East Timor and Indonesia's islands of Sulawesi and the Lesser Sundas. There is also introduced population in Hong Kong developed from caged birds that have been released. This cockatoo inhabits forest, forest edge, scrub and cultivated areas from sea-level up to about 1500 meters.

Habits and lifestyle

Yellow-crested cockatoos in the wild are friendly and peaceful. These birds live in small flocks or pairs, sometimes gathering in very large flocks when feeding. They are noisy, and often make rough shrieking sounds. They can also make smoother and softer whistling sounds. They are active, high-energy animals. They are playful and gentle, tending to be shy.

group name

flock, company, pandemonium

Diet and nutrition

Yellow-crested cockatoos eat a wide range of food, including seeds, berries, nuts, fruit, and flowers. They sometimes raid crops of rice and maize, and may also eat green plant material. Yellow-crested cockatoos aid in seed dispersal through their diet.

Mating habits

Yellow-crested cockatoos are monogamous birds, and pairs stay together for life. On Sumba Island, mating occurs from September to May. These birds nest in tree cavities. Their eggs are white and usually 2 are laid. Incubation is shared by the male and the female, for about 28 days, the chicks leaving their nest after about 75 days.

Mating behavior

Reproduction season

September-May on Sumba Island

Incubation period

28 days

Independent age

75 days

female name


male name


baby name

2 eggs

Clutch size


Population Trend

Population status


Population threats

The main threats to the Yellow-crested cockatoo are the pet trade, in terms of unsustainable over-exploitation, and habitat loss.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Yellow-crested cockatoos is fewer than 7,000 individuals (including 1,500-7,000 mature individuals): 3,200-5,000 birds on Sumba Island; 500 birds on Komodo Island, 200-300 birds on Timor Leste Island, 200-300 birds on Sulawesi Island, 20-50 birds on West Timor, 40-70 birds on Flores Island, 50-100 birds on Sumbawa Island, and 100 birds on Rinca Island. Overall this species' population is decreasing today and it is classified as critically endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List.

Fun facts for kids

  1. Yellow-crested cockatoos (also known as lesser sulphur-crested cockatoos) are the smallest sulphur-crested parrots.
  2. Cockatoos are able to hold their food with one foot while breaking off pieces with the other.
  3. They are very gregarious animals and learn quickly to mimic. Their cry is very shrill.
  4. Sometimes these birds attempt to eat quite large coconuts.
  5. Cockatoos which are pets need a great deal of attention or they will become unhappy.
  6. Cockatoos are very smart, and if they suffer from boredom, they can destroy things.
  7. Cockatoos are the only parrots possessing head crests, which they use to communicate with one another.
  8. Cockatoos are the only members of the parrot family that are naturally white or pink. Usually a white parrot is regarded as a genetic mutation or an albino.
  9. A cockatoo's bite is stronger than any other bird, due to their 3-point lower bill.
  10. Cockatoos are extremely curious and smart. They can work out how to unlock their cage and will then set out to explore your house. They are one of a few birds that aren't afraid when placed on the ground.


  1. Yellow-Crested Cockatoo Wikipedia article
  2. Yellow-Crested Cockatoo on The IUCN Red List site