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Citron-crested cockatoo

The Citron Crested Cockatoo is a slightly smaller, quieter, and more subdued variety of the sulphur-crested cockatoo. It is a subspecies of the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo. Its distinctive orange crest sets it apart from the yellow plumes of the other subspecies. Its personality makes it a popular choice for owners who want to be needed by a pet bird and have the time to do so.

There is an important subject that comes up when cockatoos are talked about – their noisiness. They are known to be very vocal and talkative, and as loud as a parrot can be. Luckily, the Citron Crested Cockatoo is well known as the quieter of the bunch. This comes as a relief for those who would prefer their pet bird to be less loud. But still, you can expect an occasional high pitched screech or a similar vocal expression that can surprise you. Keep this in mind if you live in an apartment.  They are also great mimics and can learn to repeat words to some extent, but the result is often a flood of silly words.

The first thing you realize about most Cockatoo breeds is their lack of exotic colors. For the most part, they are simple, single color birds, but with a big dose of elegance and a peculiar charm. Citron Crested Cockatoo is entirely white, with pale yellow tones on the underside of the large wing and tail feathers. These are only seen in flight. They have small round yellow patches on the cheeks, giving them somewhat of a blushing look. The crowning feature of these parrots is their graceful, pale orange crest which gives them their name. It is a prominent, curved crest of feathers that is the distinguishing feature of these parrots. It often expands to show the mood of your pet.


Cockatoos should be fed a formulated (pelleted or extruded) diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables daily to add variety and psychological enrichment. Feed approximately 1/4 cup of formulated diet and 1/4 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Monitor food intake. Overfeeding leads to pickiness, selective feeding and wasteful throwing of food.

Adult and juvenile citron-crested cockatoos are picky eaters. Try to ensure that the food that they eat is nutritious and avoid feeding large quantities of high-fat seeds, such as sunflower and safflower. Vitamin supplements are not needed for birds eating a formulated diet.


Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin condition. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry in a warm room or in the sun, or they can be gently dried with a blow drier. Care should be taken not to clip the wing feathers excessively as cockatoos often fall and injure themselves. Clip only the primary flight feathers and only enough so the bird will glide to the floor. Since citron-cresteds are better flyers than Moluccans and umbrellas, a few more feathers should be removed.


Citron-crested cockatoos are very active and should be provided the largest cage that space and budget allows. Ideally, they should provide room for flight. Durable cage construction is not critical as citron-cresteds are not such strong chewers as the larger cockatoos. Many are adept at opening cage latches, however, so locks or escape-proof latches may be necessary. Cages should be as large as possible and must allow at least enough room for the bird to fully spread his wings. Where possible, the bird should also have an outdoor cage to allow playtime in the fresh air and sunlight.


Citron-crested cockatoos breed fairly well in captivity but are not bred as frequently as Moluccans and umbrellas. Breeding age can be as young as 2 years but is usually 5 to 6 years. Breeding life span is not precisely known but is possibly up to 25 years or more. In North America these birds breed mostly in the winter and spring. Clutch size is typically two to three eggs. A suggested cage size is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 6 feet long suspended 4 feet above the ground or floor.

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