genus Cacatua alba
Description: Umbrella CockatooCockatoos are one the most attractive and affectionate members of the entire parrot family and one of our favorites. Most experts state that cockatoos are in one of three main categories: they are mostly white, pink and black. However I totally disagree and think that the pink cockatoos fall into the white cockatoo category since these are white cockatoos with tinge pink or rose. Since we only breed the white and pink cockatoos we will only speak of those here. (Moluccan, umbrella) The umbrella cockatoo, also known as the white cockatoo or the great white-crested cockatoo, is well-known in bird circles as being one of the most affectionate and affable companion birds widely available on the market today. An Indonesian native, the umbrella is slightly smaller than the Moluccan cockatoo, but is not smaller in personality or charm.
This out-going cockatoo is infamous for its outlandish antics and for being clingy with its owners. The umbrella cockatoo can be distinguished from other white cockatoos by its wholly white crest that raises like an umbrella when the bird is excited, agitated, or ready to play (or bite!). Both the beak and legs are a dark gray, and the feathers on the undersides of the wings and tail are light yellow.The umbrella cockatoo is native to the islands of Indonesia, where it lives in tropical rainforest.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. This is mostly due to most people are not ready for such a commitment and just will not listen when it comes to how to care for such a loving bird. 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, cage, The umbrella cockatoo 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 cockatoo 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. This is where we always butt heads with most new customers, they just will not listen, once you spoil the bird, they, the bird, simply does not understand when you can no longer deliver what you started, such as constant attention. The same with human children, once you let them start to do what ever they want, have whatever they want, whenever they want, they will not understand the word NO. Only start what you can deliver on a regular basis.
Food for any cockatoos should be low fat and highly 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, umbrella cockatoos do not/cannot thrive on birdseed alone. we have a very good nutritional program which we share in writing with every customer and new owner. Each sale of any baby bird from us comes with a free food starter kit of foods, treats, instructions and other items to get you and your new bird started off correctly, it is then your responsibility to continue with a good food program. The handfed baby umbrella cockatoo certainly makes a charming, affectionate pet, but it’s not for everyone. This bird can be as fickle as the weather, playing one minute and screaming and nipping the next. Birds will be birds, with all of their quirks and caprices, and handfed umbrella cockatoos are no exception, though the informed umbrella owner is fortunate to live with this extraordinary bird that was named after something ordinary—and indispensable. The umbrella cockatoo desires nothing more than to cuddle with the object of its desire, and can become overly attached to other birds or objects in the home,these birds are extremely sentimental. In the wild, the umbrella cockatoo is never without a companion, and the captive umbrella cockatoo has the same instinctual patterning to bond to a mate, or at least to have a special friend.
The best way to make an umbrella cockatoo unhappy is to keep it in isolation.You become the birds mate, and they will look upon you with the same affection. The noise level of this bird is extremely high. It is prone to bouts of loud screaming, especially if it is isolated, locked in a cage, or doesn’t get its way. Screaming is often a measure of the bird’s displeasure—the louder the more significant the disapproval of its circumstances. Many cockatoos are re-homed because of their superior voices. On the up side, the umbrella can be taught to talk and may acquire a vocabulary of more than 50 words, though most will not learn that many. Umbrella cockatoos are prone to picking at or pulling out their feathers is not offered sufficient mental stimulation. Umbrella Cockatoos are excellent as lifetime companions, if you have the time to devote to such a demanding creature. Most people do not qualify to own a cockatoo as a pet. This meaning that if you work extended work hours, like to vacation regularly, have small children in the home, etc. There is very little time left over for these demanding birds. Most of these birds problems come from being left alone for extended periods of time. Cockatoos are nothing like other birds and cannot be treated like other birds i.e. amazons, greys, etc. Cockatoos need and demand attention. If you are ready to devote your life and time to a child then a cockatoo may be right for you.
Cage requirements are to be considered before purchase of a cockatoo or any large parrot. The larger cockatoos being very destructive, the cage needs to be very strong and roomy. These large strong cages are sometimes very expensive sometime costing as much as $700-$800 or most times for the proper cage it will cost upward 900 and more. Stainless steel cages are more costly at $1800-2500 and up for appropiate cages and that is very conservative pricing as many stainless steel cages are 2500 and upwards of 3500 for higher quality cages. Again as with any thing, you get what you pay for for. Many people ask, does male or female make a better bird, our answer is NO, male or female has nothing to do with their mental ability of being suitible for the home. Being male or female is the sex, not the mental capacity, and that applies to most if not all parrots, For some silly reason people think that birds actually know what you are, male or female, many people think that if they are male then they must buy a female and visa versa, this is the most silly thing we have ever heard, as birds have no idea what sex you are, they do not see you as a gender. They may see your hair, or hair color, body size, or color of clothes and also the color tones of the skin and even your voice may be noticed, but what sex you are?, they have no idea. We have seen breeder birds that actually attach themselves to other birds of the same sex, So there you go, they have no idea, they just go by what they may like from a object or human, the sex has nothing to with it, but some birds are just different from another, and that is like humans, some good and some bad.
Diet requirements are basically the same as other larger parrots. I cannot get into all the different diets recommended by so called experts and breeders. Most of these complicated diets as we have found out over the years are totally unnecessary and some to the extent of being ridiculous and dangerous. We feed all our breeders as well weaning babies one of the worlds highest quality diets TROPICAN granules by HAGEN. This formualted diet is the base and we add many other items to create a nutritional varied diet. We have not fed a seed based diet to any of our birds since 1994. Our breeding results and our birds health have changed for the better 100%. Our babies are healthier and stronger due to the great diets. We did try many different well known brands of formulated diets (pellets) over the years and found that most were not adequate in the long term results. Some even being worse than a all seed based diet. Many of these well known pet shop brands(pretty bird, roudybush, exact,etc) seem to have a very large advertising budget therefore they are everywhere, but that does not mean its the best. Keep your birds healthy by feeding the correct diet. We recommend as a base the very high quality Hagen Brand TROPICAN granules for the staple diet and Tropi Mix fruit, veggie, nut mix as a great treat addition. HAGEN (HARI) research facility in Canada has researched more about avian nutrition than any other company in the world. Their goal is better healthier birds not higher profit margins. This great diet base and the other additions create the ultimate in nutrition for all cockatoos and other parrots
For bird diet info visit our PARROT DIETS section