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21 Types of Cockatoo Species & Colors

Nicole Cosgrove

Cockatoos are beautiful and intriguing birds. They can be divided into 21 different species, each with a unique look and colors. The cockatiel is the species most commonly kept as pets, although the illegal snatching of cockatoos from their wild habitat has led to a decline in the population of nearly every species in the wild. Read on to learn more about the different species of cockatoo.divider-birds

Cockatoo Species

All species of cockatoos are native to Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, or the Solomon Islands. They range in size from 11 to 26 inches and have many different feather colors and patterns.

1. Baudin’s Black Cockatoo

Height: 19 to 23 inches
Weight: 1 to 1.7 pounds
Habitat: Southwestern Australia

Also called the long-billed black cockatoo, Baudin’s black cockatoos are known for their distinctive full body of dark feathers. Their feathers are mostly black or very dark brown. However, the edges are tipped with grey or white. These birds also have a distinctive white patch on the side of their heads. Unfortunately, there are only about 10,000 to 15,000 of these birds left in the wild.


2. Blue-Eyed Cockatoo

Height: 18 to 20 inches
Weight: 1 to 1.2 pounds
Habitat: Papua New Guinea

The blue-eyed cockatoo is named for the bright blue ring around its eyes. The rest of their bodies are white with occasional yellow feathers. This species is also known for its very loud screeching call. They are considered vulnerable, with less than 10,000 remaining in the wild. Habitat decline has been the main cause of their population decline.


3. Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo

Height: 21 to 23 inches
Weight: 1 to 1.7 pounds
Habitat: Southwestern Australia

Carnaby’s black cockatoo is similar to the Baudin in appearance. It has the same dark feathers with a white spot over its ears. What differentiates this species is the short crest of feathers on top of their head. They are known to travel in packs and some farmers in Australia find them to be a nuisance because they eat the almond crop.


4. Cockatiel

Cockatiel in a branch
Image Credit: jlkramer, Pixabay
Height: 11 to 12 inches
Weight: 2.8 to 3.5 ounces
Habitat: Throughout Australia

One of the smaller species of cockatoo, the cockatiel is the species most often kept as pets. They have grey body feathers and a yellow crest of feathers on their head. They also have a bright orange spot on the side of their face. Unlike many of the other cockatoo species, these birds are not endangered. As pets, cockatiels are smart and friendly. Males might even learn to speak a few words.


5. Ducorps Corella

Ducorps Corella
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock
Height: 12 inches
Weight: 10 to 14 ounces
Habitat: Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands

The Ducorps’s corella is another small species of cockatoo. They are also known as the Solomon Island cockatoo. Their body feathers are white with a pinkish tinge. They have a blue ring around their eyes like the blue-eyed cockatoo, but it is not quite as vivid. The Ducorps’s corella has a short, curved beak and a small crest on top of their head.


6. Galah Cockatoo

Galah Cockatoo Close up
Image Credit: BeffyQuaire
Height: 13 inches
Weight: 9.5 to 14 ounces
Habitat: Parts of Australia, including offshore islands

The Galah is another cockatoo species that is commonly kept as a pet. They have grey bodies with black accents. Their heads are a distinctive pink or reddish-pink. The galah is very social and intelligent. As pets, they can be chatty and can learn how to mimic human voices and other sounds such as bells, horns, or whistles.


7. Gang-Gang Cockatoo

Gang-Gang Cockatoo
Image Credit: AmyJo_Freelance_Artist, Pixabay
Height: 12 to 13.5 inches
Weight: 8 to 11.5 ounces
Habitat: Southeastern Australia

The gang-gang cockatoo, or red-headed cockatoo, likes to spend summers in the mountains of Southeastern Australia. In winter, they travel to lower elevations. The males are most noticeable for their bright red heads, while the female’s head matches the rest of her body. Both the male and female have dark grey feathers and short tails. The gang-gang male is one of only two species of cockatoos with a bright red head.


8. Glossy Black Cockatoo

Height: 18 to 19 inches
Weight: 14 to 17 ounces
Habitat: Kangaroo Island

The glossy black cockatoo is a beautiful bird. The main color of their feather is, as you’d guess, black. The female has some yellow feathers on her head. Both males and females have dark orange or red stripes on their tails. This species primarily lives on Kangaroo Island in Australia. Recent wildfires have destroyed much of their habitat and, along with it, many of these birds have perished.


9. Goffin’s Cockatoo

Height: 12.5 inches
Weight: 10 to 11 ounces
Habitat: Indonesia, Singapore, Tanimbar Islands

These small cockatoos are mostly white with some yellow feathers under their tails and reddish markings around their beaks. Both the male and female have a light blue ring around their eyes. Goffin’s cockatoos have suffered from a loss of habitat and capture for the pet trade. This has lessened their numbers in the wild over the last decade.


10. Little Corella

Height: 14 to 15 inches
Weight: 12 to 18 ounces
Habitat: Australia

Little corellas are primarily white with pale pink and orange feathers under their wings and tails. They also have a blue ring around their eyes that’s larger than some of the other cockatoos with that same feature. The males have a tall crest on top of their heads. Unlike many of the other cockatoo species, the little corella population is actually thought to be increasing in the wild.


11. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Height: 13 to 14 inches
Weight: 12 to 15 ounces
Habitat: Inland Australia

These cockatoos are quite fun to look at. Major Mitchell’s cockatoos are pale pink with a darker pink bridge around their beaks. The defining feature is the plume on top of their heads which is banded in orange, yellow, and red. They are the only species of cockatoo with a multi-colored crest. Unfortunately, their interesting appearance has made them vulnerable as they have been over-captured for the pet trade and, as a result, their numbers in the wild are declining.


12. Moluccan Cockatoo

Height:  15.5 to 19.5 inches
Weight: 1.5 to 2 pounds
Habitat: Indonesia

The Moluccan is a large bird. Their feathers are peach except for the darker peach feathers on their head plumes. They have black beaks and eyes. These very vocal and loud birds are only found in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the number of Moluccans in the wild is diminishing rapidly, with some estimates claiming that up to 4,000 birds are taken for the pet trade every year.


13. Palm Cockatoo

Height: 20 inches
Weight: 2 to 2.5 pounds
Habitat: New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia

The palm cockatoo is also known as the goliath cockatoo because of its large size. They are not only big but also distinctive looking. Most of their body is covered in black feathers, however, they have a bright red patch on their cheeks. On top of their heads is a large black crest that looks like palm fronds, hence the name!


14. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Height: 23 inches
Weight: 1.5 to 2 pounds
Habitat: Northern Australia

Both sexes of red-tailed black cockatoos are mainly black with the females having lighter colored speckles all over their bodies. As the name implies, these cockatoos also have red bands on their tails. The tops of their heads have a fluffy black crest. In the wild, these birds have been known to travel for food and congregate in large flocks of up to 2,000.


15. Red-vented Cockatoo

Height: 12 inches
Weight: 12 ounces
Habitat: Philippines

The red-vented cockatoo has a white body with red and yellow undertail markings. Their eyes are surrounded by a pale blue ring. Unfortunately, these small cockatoos are considered critically endangered. There are only between 600 and 1,100 left in the wild. Their wild population has declined by over 80% in just 40 years due to deforestation and trapping.


16. Slender-Billed Corella

Height: 14 inches
Weight: 1 to 1.5 pounds
Habitat: Southeastern Australia

The slender-billed corella has mostly white feathers with peach or salmon-colored streaks around the neck and beak. They also have a distinctive bright blue ring around their eyes. Their beaks are long, sharp, and thin. This allows them to dig around for food. As pets, these birds are very talkative and can learn to mimic entire sentences.


17. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay
Height: 19 inches
Weight: 1.5 to 2 pounds
Habitat: Australia, Indonesia

These large-crested cockatoos are white with some pale yellow markings on their ears and throats. Their crest is yellow and looks similar to the crest of the palm cockatoo with long fronds. These birds are not afraid of predatory birds and have been known to work together to gang up on potential attackers.

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18. Western Corella

Height: 17.5 inches
Weight: 1.5 to 2 pounds
Habitat: Southwestern Australia

The western corella looks similar to the little and blender-billed corellas. They are primarily white with salmon-colored patches around their eyes and throats. The western corella also has a long bill. These birds have experienced a loss of habitat and have been heavily hunted over the last century. However, recent efforts to prohibit the shooting and poisoning of western corellas have helped the population stabilize.


19. White-Crested Cockatoo

Height: 18 inches
Weight: 1.5 pounds
Habitat: Northern Indonesia

The white-crested cockatoo is completely white-feathered on top with some yellow or pink feathers on the undersides of their wings and tails. They also have a large crest on top of their heads that opens like a fan when they are scared or upset. The white-crested cockatoo is considered endangered and it is not known how many of them still exist in the wild.


20. Yellow-Crested Cockatoo

Height: 12 to 13 inches
Weight: 10 to 13 ounces
Habitat: Hong Kong and Singapore

The yellow-crested cockatoo is another critically endangered species with less than 2000 remaining in the wild. Deforestation and trapping have caused a sharp decline in their numbers. These birds are mostly white with yellow plumes on top of their heads. They also have yellow patches over their ears.


21. Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Height: 26 inches
Weight: 1.5 to 2 pounds
Habitat: Southeastern Australia, Kangaroo Island, Tasmania

The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo has a black body with yellow check patches. They also have a thick yellow band on their tail. Their heads have a short, fluffy black crest. They eat somewhat like Woodpeckers, by gouging out pieces of bark and feasting on the insects within. Like many other Cockatoos, their population is on the decline due to habitat destruction.divider-birds

Conclusion

Cockatoos are beautiful birds with many distinctive features. Unfortunately, many species are suffering from habitat loss and over-capture by humans. In the future, hopefully, this will change and more action will be taken to save the populations of these unique birds.


Featured Image Credit: ignartonosbg, 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.