Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

How Old Do Cockatoos Get? Cockatoo Lifespan

Nicole Cosgrove

Cockatoos are one of the bird species with the most extended lifespan. However, the lifespan depends on its specific species. The larger species can live for at least 20 to 80 or even 100 years on average, while the smaller species (Cockatiels) live up to 25 years).

This piece will enlighten you on some of the famous cockatoo species, their lifespan, as well as factors affecting the lifespan of cockatoos. Keep reading to learn more.divider-birdcage

1. Moluccan Cockatoo

Also referred to as salmon crested cockatoos, the Moluccan cockatoo is identical to the Umbrella cockatoo. The only difference is that it has a pinkish tinge and not the stark white plumages. The two species also tend to have a similar lifespan.

While domesticated, Moluccan cockatoos tend to live for approximately 70 years. However, while living and fending for themselves in the wild, their lifespan is much extended as they can live for up to 90 years.

However, most of the Moluccan cockatoo population are exposed to environmental factors that may limit their lifespan, including illness, drought, and predators.


2. Goffin’s Cockatoo

Also referred to as Tanimbar Corella, Goffin’s cockatoo is considered one of the smallest species of cockatoos.

Their lifespan is also one of the shortest among the cockatoo species. Their minimum lifespan is about 25 years, while the maximum lifespan is approximated at 65 years.


3. Cockatiel

side view of a cockatiel bird
Image Credit: Will-travel, Flickr

Although cockatiels tend to have a more petite body, and most of the time confused with typical parrots, they are actually one of the cockatoo species. They are mostly domesticated in homes.

Cockatiels are comical, outgoing, and cuddly. They are also good at whistling and can serenade to their owners. A well-socialized and healthy cockatiel tends to make an awesome family pet, which is why they are common in most households in Australia. You can also rear them in your apartment.

In the wild, they can live for about 10 to 15 years. However, when domesticated and well taken care of, they have a lifespan of about 20 to 25 years.


4. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested cockatoo with crest erect
Image Credit: Ken Griffiths, Shutterstock

Sulphur-crested cockatoo life is common in urban settings in Australia. They are famous for their curious and spunky nature. They are also majorly domesticated in many households. If you wish to domesticate this rare type of bird, you should remember that it is very demanding and requires a lot of attention.

The expected lifespan of a domesticated Sulphur-crested cockatoo is roughly between 20 to 40 years. However, they could live for up to around 70 years with good health and proper living conditions.


5. Galah Cockatoo

Galah Cockatoo Close up
Image Credit: BeffyQuaire

Popularly referred to as rose-breasted or pink and grey cockatoos, Galah Cockatoo, are famous for their attractive pink outlook. They are most common in Australia, and most of them are domesticated. As compared to regular parrots, they tend to live longer.

Galah cockatoo is known to be friendly and affectionate, which is why they are mostly tame. Although they like being taken care of, they do not like being cuddled. They are much demanding as they want attention.

In the wild, the lifespan of Galah cockatoo is between 20 and 40 years. However, when well taken care of, they can live for up to 80 years.


6. Umbrella Cockatoo

Scientifically referred to as Cacatua alba, the umbrella cockatoos are considered as one of the species with an impressive lifespan.

To ensure that your umbrella cockatoo lives long and healthy, you should feed them with highly nutritious feeds, including forages. Umbrella cockatoo is energetic, intelligent, and fun-loving, and thus their diet should reflect these traits.

While being domesticated, they can live for up to 60 years. However, those in the zoo tend to live for about 50 years due to the hostility and harsh environmental factors. Some of the umbrella cockatoos have been known to live for up to even 100 years.

The discussed species are not all-inclusive but just some of the common ones. They give an idea of how long you expect to live your cockatoo should you want to rear one.divider-birdcage

Factors Affecting Cockatoo Lifespan

A cockatoo can live to attain the maximum lifespan, or it can die early. Maximum lifespan can be attained if the cockatoo lives in perfect health conditions and maintains a proper diet. Explained below are some of the major factors determining the lifespan of cockatoos.

Diet

If you are breeding a cockatoo at home, maintaining a proper and balanced diet for your cockatoo can play a significant role in ensuring that it lives its life to the maximum. Although many people believe that cockatoos can survive by only feeding on seeds and nuts, this myth is misleading as they require more than that for a healthy living and longer lifespan.

A diet comprising of seed only can be hazardous to your cockatoo as it can lead to obesity; it has the same effect as overfeeding. Poor diet is one of the aspects that leads to short-lifespan for cockatoos in captivity.

Cockatoos that live in the wild tend to live a longer life as they fend for themselves, and thus, they can access a wide array of nutritious and beneficial feeds to their bodies.

If you are not particular on what to feed your cockatoo

a mix of the following feeds will be much beneficial:
  • A mixture of top-quality seed- it would be best if you avoided sunflower seeds as they are hazardous to the health of cockatoos
  • A mixture of high-quality pellet
  • Various types of nuts
  • Veggies, including leafy greens, peppers, carrots, and more, could be either chopped or whole.
  • Fruits including grape, pear apple, and more-they should be served in small amounts
  • Cooked items including pasta, wild rice, and lentils- ensure that they are unsalted

To reduce stress on your cockatoo and make them friendly, active, and enthusiastic, you should stimulate them to use their favorite meals more often. This could boost their lifespan.

General Care

To keep your cockatoos healthy and to better their quality of life, general care is much vital. The following as some of the aspects that you should put into consideration to ensure your cockatoo is healthy and that it lives long:

  • Stimulation – Cockatoos are considered one of the most demanding species of parrots. When not adequately stimulated and given enough attention by their owners, they tend to turn to self-destructive behaviors, including stress plucking. Thus, you should ensure that your cockatoos have things to keep them entertained at all times.
  • Air Quality – Most cockatoo species have susceptible lungs; thus, their health is greatly affected when domesticated in a stuffy environment. Therefore, if you have opted to breed a cockatoo in your household, you should strictly avoid perfumes, aerosols, and any other scented products close to them. It would also be best if you avoid smoking, as it is not only hazardous to you, but also to the health of your cockatoo.
  • Don’t Skimp on Bird-Proofing – All cockatoos are vicious and vulnerable to household hazards due to their extreme curiosity. It would be best if you kept an eye on your cockatoo while it’s out of the cage so that it may not injure itself or destroy your belongings. Ideally, you could keep out of reach any potentially poisonous items, contraptions, power cables, and other types of pets.
  • Time Out of the Cage – For the good health of your cockatoos, both mental and physical, you should let them out of the cage more often. This will not only give them a chance to exercise their body and mind but will also help them to avoid obesity-related issues. Allowing your cockatoo to get out of the cage gives them a perfect opportunity to play and entertain themselves. This helps to avoid stress and to make your cockatoo live a happy and long life. The cage itself should feature a variety of perches, foraging toys, and multiple supplies of freshwater.

divider-birdcage

Bottom Line

The varying cockatoo species have variable lifespans as already seen. However, with good health care, a conducive environment, and a proper diet, they tend to live longer, up to 80 or even 100 years. If you are keeping a cockatoo at home, it is advisable to take good care of it so that it can live long.


Featured Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay

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.