Range: Australia and New Guinea
Habitat: woodlands and forested areas
Diet: seeds, nuts, fruit (sometimes insects & skinks)
Life Span: up to 70-80 years in captivity
Description: The most distinguishing feature of a cockatoo is the crest of feathers on their head. The major purpose of their crest is communication. A raised crest can indicate that a cockatoo is displaying for its mate; defending its territory or its flock, calling its flock members; or it may be expressing curiosity, excitement, surprise, fear or frustration. For those approaching a cockatoo -a raised crest may be a warning not to touch them - or else risk being bitten, where a lowered crest can indicate calmness, friendliness and general approachability.
Family Life: As part of the courtship behavior, the male ruffles his feathers, spreads his tail feathers, extends his wings, and erects his crest. He then bounces about. Initially, the female ignores or avoids him, but - provided he meets her approval - will eventually allow him to approach her.
Once he is accepted as a mate, they will both preen each other's head and scratch each other around the tail. This serves to strengthen their pair bond. Eventually, the male will mount the female and perform the actual act of mating by joining of the cloacae. For bonded pairs, this ritual is much shorter and the female may even approach the male. Pairs leave their group and find a nesting spot in a tree.
Cockatoos form a close bond that lasts for a lifetime. If they are separated, they may slip into a deep depression. In absence of a "true" mate, they may accept a caretaker as its mate.
Status in Wild: endangered
Nature Notes: They also engage in a process called Geophagy in which they eat clay to detoxify their food.
Personal History: Tucca and Perry arrived at the zoo on Thursday October 23, 2012. Their owner couldn’t care for them anymore.