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How Much Does a Cockatoo Cost? (2021 Price Guide)

Nicole Cosgrove

Cockatoos are one of the most loving, social, and intelligent birds any bird lover could have. They have beautiful crest feathers varying in color from grey, white, to pink. Cockatoos are mostly referred to as ‘Velcro,’ birds due to their friendly nature and need to be around humans.

If you are reading this article, you most likely have or are getting a bird for a pet. Well, great idea! Birds are amazing, and if well taken care of, will provide great companionship over the years. However, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions before deciding to adopt a pet cockatoo.

For one, cockatoos live up to 50-60 years on average! They are also quite demanding birds. Ranging between medium-sized and big, they will require a spacious cage with toys, which will need to be regularly added to the list. On top of this, you must consider the kind of diet they will need throughout their lives, plus medical expenses.

This makes for quite a big decision, but this is the perfect article to provide some all-around information about the cost of owning one whenever you are ready.

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Bringing in a New Cockatoo: One–Time Costs

Due to the extended lifespan, a cockatoo may cost a bit of money, especially during the initial stages of acquiring the bird. However, some costs will only be one time, including the cage and the bird, if you are paying up front.

A Cockatoo’s initial cost of purchase may run up between $375 and $16,000, with each additional year costing you up to between $405 and $780. These numbers are just estimates but can help you get an approximation of the purchase over the years.

red vented cockatoo on a tree branch
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock

Ways you can Adopt Cockatoo

You may be wondering how you can get your hands on a Cockatoo. Here are a few ways:

Free

You can get a cockatoo, free of charge. This mostly happens when you get one from a friend or a person willing to give up their bird. However, as they say, there’s no free lunch! Before getting any birds from anyone, you need to get some information about them first.

Most birds are given away because the owner can’t take care of the bird due to certain reasons. Ensure you get a good healthy bird because sickly bird may also end up running costs at the vet

Adopting

  • $1,000 – $4,000

There are various cockatoo breeds, each coming at varying prices depending on a couple of factors, including species, temperament, training, age, and the previous owner. Cockatoos also come in differing values depending on the birds’ rarity.

Adoption is quite cheaper as they mostly rely on shelters to sell what they can get their hands on. Here you can get cheaper birds; however, ensure you take a good look at the bird before making the purchase and try to get as much information about them as possible.

Breeder

  • $3,500 – $16,000

A breeder needs to make a profit. This means he/she is most likely to have the best types, well maintained and behaved birds to get top dollar per sale.

Breeder birds are carefully selected, bred, and trained to provide the client with the best species. Here you will also get all the information on the bird, including their ancestry, disease tracking, and more.

Large Cockatoo side view_YULIYAPHOTO_Shutterstock
Image Credit: YULIYAPHOTO, Shutterstock

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Some Cockatoo Species and Prices

Palm Cockatoo Price

black palm cockatoo
Image Credit: BangKod001, Shutterstock

This is the most expensive cockatoo in existence, which goes up to $16,000. The bird is hard to breed and rare, too.

Umbrella Cockatoo

Umbrella Cockatoo
Image Credit: Nigel Dowsett, Shutterstock

For those interested in the bigger kinds of cockatoo, this is the perfect match. It is one of the popular species ranging between $1,000-$3,000.

Moluccan Cockatoo

Moluccan salmon-crested cockatoo
Image Credit: Imran Ashraf, Shutterstock

This is another common type of cockatoo, especially in the U.S. The price for this bird ranges between $1,400 and $3,500, and it is most common among bid sellers and will be easy to find.

Goffin’s Cockatoo

Goffin's Cockatoo
Image Credit: Murilo Mazzo, Shutterstock

The Goffin’s Cockatoo is another common type of cockatoo readily available in most pet shops. It is easy to keep and breed and will cost you anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.

Galah Cockatoo

Galah cockatoo Closeup
Image Credit: Pearsew. Pixabay

This is one of the smaller kinds of bird species, pink in color and it breeds easily. The bird is quite affordable, ranging between $,700 and $2,200.

PRODUCT COST
Cage $100 – $300
Purchase Price $1,000 – $16,000
Perches $40 – $60
Cage Cover $20 – $30
Food Water & Dishes $15 – $25
Toys $40 – $60
Food $300 – $400
Treats $50 -$100
Medical Needs $100
Vet Visits $100
Grooming tools $15 – $20
Cage Cove $20 – $300
Total $2,000- $33,000

Initial Set up and Supplies

The Cockatoo initial costs will include several things such as the bird’s cost, cage, and cage accessories. As stated, the cost will start from $1,000, depending on the species and rarity of the cockatoo. The cage will be something spacious and well-built for the birds’ comfort; you can get it from anywhere between $200 and $2,000.

You will also need a few accessories, toys, and grooming supplies, valued at around $200.

Initial costs will mainly be mostly one-tie purchases, which will be knocked off on several of your next purchases, making it more affordable to keep the bird. Ensure you get value for your money and buy quality materials for the pet.

Avoid any lead and zinc-based toys and chewable things the cockatoo may indulge in as they may pose some health hazard.

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How Much Does Maintenance cost Per Month

  • $200 – $1,000

Cockatoos are generally low-maintenance birds but can still dent your pocket if not well taken care of. The bird is healthy and rarely gets sick, but you will need several things including food supplements, veterinary care, and cleaning supplies.

Don’t be surprised if you cross the $1,000 mark, especially if you visit the vet regularly. Although the bird rarely falls ill, it requires checkups and may at times get some emergency health complications.

In addition, certain factors such as the conditions you keep your bird in, including diet, food, and habitat, will go a long way in helping you save some money from the monthly vet bills.

Likely monthly expenditure includes:

two yellow crested cockatoos on the ground
Image Credit: Beverly Buckley, Pixabay

Health Care/Vet Visits

  • $150 – $ 1,000

You can do your best to provide the best care for your bird but some illnesses may be inevitable. You never know when you may need the vet, and being an avian species may require a specialized kind of vet who may translate to more money.

Although generally quite healthy, Cockatoos are not disease-proof. It is also important to take them to the vet occasionally for a checkup, which may help dodge some diseases creeping up.

Due to a long lifespan, cockatoos may fall into some long-term diseases such as diabetes or heart diseases, which may require some expensive medication. The lifestyle you provide for your bird over time will help you maintain a healthy pet that will enjoy a good life.

Food

  • $50 – $60

Cockatoos need a variety in their diet including high-quality seeds, pellets, and complete foods. Plus, if you love to spoil your bird, there are several treats you can get for the bird, but remember to keep them at a minimum.

There are several brands to choose from, which may end up reducing or running up the cost. The best trick here is to find quality products at the lowest prices, which may require a bit of research.

The best diet for a cockatoo includes various fruits and vegetables.

Ensure you feed the pet the right diet with a minimum of teats. Do not give your bird junk treats; this may lead to unhealthy traits and habits over time. The bird may even reject the healthier foods opting for junk and treats.

baby cockatoo eating
Image Credit: Omer Ejaz, Shutterstock

Grooming

  • $10 – $20

Bird grooming will not dent your paycheck. You will not even feel it as they do not require daily washes, plus their grooming products will last you a while before needing replacements.

Cockatoos will regularly preen and clean themselves. They also produce some dust, which keeps their skin and wings healthy. A weekly shower will work fine for your bird in removing the accumulated dust on the skin and wings.

Different birds have different preferences for a bath, and your cockatoo may like dipping themselves as they shower or just standing under some running water.

Unless the birds are in pairs, the owner may need help to reach some places while showering, especially the top of the head and neck areas.

Pet Insurance

  • $15 – $ 50

Bird Insurance is worth looking into as previously stated; it comes in handy in offsetting the money used to take care of the cockatoo, especially on health and medical issues. Since the bird may live for a long time, it is important to reduce the cost of taking care of the pet, something that bird insurance will greatly assist.

Bird insurance works similar to other animal insurances, with different companies providing different policies.

You will get different types of compensations, including:
  • Health issues
  • Theft
  • Public liability protection

The more comprehensive insurance covers will be more expensive, but depending on your preferences, it’s best to carry out some research before settling on any particular insurance company.

yellow crested cockatoo
Image Credit: Martin Pelanek, Shutterstock

Environmental Maintenance

  • $20 – $40

When it comes to maintaining the pet, you can count yourself luckier compared to a person with a dog or a horse. As the bird spends most of its time in its cage, the cleaning area is smaller; you get the work done within a short time. It is worth noting that cockatoos are quite messy birds and will make a mess off the cage, although they prefer a clean environment.

Ensure you clean the cage every day to remove the dust and feathers from the birds preening themselves. This means changing the cage liners that have discarded food and droppings every day. Cage papers should also be changed as they can stink the place up.

Also, wash your bird’s food and water dishes daily with appropriate cleaning detergents to prevent bacteria growth.

Entertainment

  • $10 – $80

If you have never owned a bird, you should know that they love to chew on things, and your household goods are not an exception. To keep them busy, most people will provide their birds with plenty of toys. However, due to the frequent toy destruction, owners will have to keep replacing them, which may cost something extra.

Some people take the toys away from the bird after some time as a way of reducing use; however, it would be better to join a bird to subscription service where you can get plenty of cheaper options for your bird, saving money in the end without necessarily withholding toys from your bird.

Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay

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Total Annual Costs of Owning a Cockatoo

  • $400 – $800

After removing the bird’s initial cost and the cage’s cost, you will find it affordable to cater for a bird annually, especially if you have some insurance.

A cockatoo will cost you between $400 and $780, including toy feeding and medical expenses. However, this cost may go up, especially in case of medical emergencies.

Additional Cost to Factor In

  • $100 – $400

There are several things people will never inform you about when adopting a bird such as a cockatoo. You may think a cage, food, toys, and medical expenses are the end of it, but several other things may come in.

One of the main things is pet sitting in case you cannot travel with the bird. Getting a good pet sitter may be a problem. In addition, if the bird needs some behavioral training, you may incur some extra costs.

Apart from these, there are some house damages, cage damages, and other victims of the bird’s beak, which may end up running up costs.

If you can, have a small fund in a box for such things, or make a swear jar! Let the family contribute towards additional costs.

rose breasted cockatoo
Image Credit: Gabriela Beres, Shutterstock

Owning a Pet on a Budget

You can still own a bird on a budget; all you have to do is change the tact of keeping her, and you’ll see some money saved. For one, if you have more time at home, you can spend it with the bird, letting her roam around the house with you. This will save you some money on toys; however, this does not mean not buying any toys at all for the birds, as they may start self–destructing by biting their feathers off.

In addition, the features you introduce to the pet’s cage can be reduced to save some money. However, ensure the reduction is not so much as to mess with the comfort of the bird.

You can also add another pet to keep each other company; another bird, pet, or dog will do the trick. Ensure you are careful while introducing them and ensuring they are used to each other before leaving them alone together.

Saving Money on Cockatoo Care

You can build the cage and customize it by yourself. This may cut down on the cost of buying a ready-made cage.

The kind of diet you provide for your bird can also go a long way in saving you some money on medical expenditure. You can buy in bulk at a wholesale price; remember to keep the diet as healthy as possible, with a small number of treats.

Also, ensure you get strong, sturdy, and quality bird products, including cages and perches. Remember, cheap may sometimes be expensive, and you may end up replacing or constantly repairing the bird’s cage or perch.

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Conclusion

Cockatoos are a bit expensive to maintain, especially in the initial stages of acquiring the bird, where you have to cater for the bird, the cage, and insurance costs. Depending on the bird you want to adopt, you may see the cost running from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Also, apart from the initial costs, there are monthly costs which include health costs, especially if the bird is always sickly.

However, cockatoos are well worth their cost, as they will prove to be amazing companions over the years. They are smart, loving and will be there with you every step of the way, taking over your heart piece by piece, to a point they will be indistinguishable from family.


Featured Image Credit: Tanya Puntti, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.