The umbrella cockatoo is a long-term commitment for an owner — this species can live up to 70 years with proper care and attention. Unfortunately, many of these sensitive birds don’t live that long. They are prone to self-mutilation and the infections that result from that abnormal behavior.
Because this bird is large and hates being confined to the point of chewing and picking out its feathers, it requires a large space to live in, preferably an enormous, well-build cage with a top that opens into a playstand. An umbrella can’t live happily in a small space, and will become weary and apathetic or agitated and aggressive if confined.
The umbrella cockatoo owner should have experience with parrots before taking on this feathered handful. This is not a good first bird, nor is a good child’s pet. The umbrella also tends to become spoiled very easily, and will not take well to changes in routine, or additions to the family, such as an infant or new puppy.
Food for cockatoos should be nutritious, but should also include a foraging element as well. Cockatoos are fun-loving, intelligent and energetic parrots, and their food should reflect those traits. Wild cockatoos forage all day for seeds and nuts, as well as coconuts and grain crops. Like all companion parrots, cockatoos do not thrive on birdseed alone. Cockatoo food shouldn’t be boring to eat, either, and will love foods like Avi-Cakes, Pellet-Berries, Nutri-Berries, and Lafeber’s Premium Daily Diet Pellets.
Another serious consideration for a new owner is the powder dust that these cockatoos emit, which can irritate those owners with sensitive respiratory systems or allergies. Use air purifiers if you have room for them, as these items help to cut down on the dust. Regular bathing with clear, warm water will also help.