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Moluccan Cockatoo - A Guide

Bird Image

The Moluccan cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) is instantly recognisable with its salmon pink crest and pale pink feathers. It is a beautiful bird and grows to a significant size. Also known as the salmon-crested cockatoo, this species is extremely popular with bird fanciers as it is highly intelligent and full of personality. However, its lively mind means that the Moluccan cockatoo requires constant companionship and a great deal of attention when kept in captivity.

Where are They From?

The Moluccan cockatoo is one of the largest white cockatoo species. It is native to the south Moluccas and eastern Indonesia. The birds live in the lowland forests and their wild diet includes seed, fruit, nuts and insects.

Personality & Behavior

Moluccans would be happy to be by your side 24 hours a day, every day! They absolutely crave attention and do not do well when left to their own devices. They are only suitable pets for those who are at home most of the day and who have time on their hands for extensive interaction. They can become upset and even neurotic if they do not receive the attention that they crave. This can lead to them self-mutilating. They do not like being caged for too long and so must be free to explore their environment for much of the day.

These birds can also be very destructive and so owners must be prepared for their furniture to be chewed. Moluccan cockatoos tend not to be biters, however, but care must be taken as they possess very powerful beaks.

Vocalisations and Speech

The Moluccan cockatoo would win most shouting contests between exotic birds. They love to scream, often for no apparent reason. They can yell at up to 130 decibels which means they are a poor choice of pet if you live in a flat! They are not the greatest talkers but will learn a few words and are prone to vocalising incomprehensible gibberish. They can sound very excited or irate as if they are delivering a tirade. These birds are popular pets for their affectionate nature rather than for their ability to mimic human speech.

Caring for a Moluccan Cockatoo

If you would like to keep a Moluccan cockatoo, then you should invest in the largest cage which you can accommodate in your home. You should provide plenty of toys for these birds as they are easily bored. Locate the cage in the kitchen or living room so that the bird is at the heart of family life rather than shut away. If you are not at home all the time, then consider keeping two cockatoos so that they will always have company.

Cockatoos do not thrive on a seed diet alone. Pellet and nugget feeds are a more nutritious choice and can be supplemented by nuts and seeds. It is also beneficial to hide food items for the birds to forage for as foraging is a natural behaviour and provides mental stimulation.

Moluccan Cockatoos are striking birds which are full of personality and which have lively minds. They have big voices too and so you should think carefully before welcoming one into your home.


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