The Greater Sulfur Crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita, galerita) is considered a pest in its native Australia, but is relatively rare in the US.  Their large size and the volatile nature typical of all breeding male sulfur crested cockatoos, makes it difficult to breed in all but the largest flights.

This is a somewhat more independent species than the Umbrella and Moluccan, although like all cockatoos they are highly social and need human interaction.  They are bold, curious, rowdy, sassy, mischievous and noisy and their intelligence makes them capable of getting into an amazing amount of trouble. This is definitely not a bird that you can turn your back on  and expect to stay put if there is furniture to chew or a mess to be made.

Greaters are seasonal (spring) breeders, and often will produce just one clutch of two chicks each year.


 One of my baby Greater Sulfur Cresteds was bought by a wonderful young family with three children. The parents and older kids were passionate, caring animal lovers, but the youngest was a typically active, rowdy two-year-old named Timmy. Tim was too young to be involved much in “Mick’s” care and had to be repeatedly reminded not to do anything that might frighten the bird. Nevertheless, when no one was looking, Tim would often ram his toy trucks into the cage. Many parrots would have found this indignity difficult to bear, but not Mick. He would wait patiently until he was allowed out of his cage to play. Then, when no one was watching, he would climb down from his play stand and go from room to room till he found Tim – and bit him!  Tim is much older now and shares his family’s love for animals. He and the cockatoo usually get along fine, but once in a while Mick gets “that look” in his eye, and Timmy knows to steer clear.


Greater Sulfurs often have strong personalities and enjoy rowdy play. One pet that I know loves to intimidate the kids in the family along with the family dog and anyone else who is afraid of him. He races around the living room nipping at their feet until he has chased them all up on the furniture. Then, with his crest up, crowing happily to himself, he struts back and forth, daring them to come down. Needless to say, he is only permitted to be out of his cage when his owner is home!




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