Bare-Eyed Cockatoo

Bare-Eyed Cockatoo
Scientific NameCacatua sanguinea
Common NameBare-Eyed Cockatoo
Care LevelModerate to advanced
Lifespan40-60 years
Adult Size14-18 inches
DietSeeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables
OriginAustralia, Indonesia
TemperamentCurious, affectionate, intelligent

History & Domestication

The Bare-Eyed Cockatoo, native to Australia and parts of Indonesia, is one of the smaller members of the cockatoo family. Known for its adaptability, it can be found in a wide range of habitats from coastal areas to interior regions. The bird has experienced various encounters with humans, ranging from being admired for its beauty to being hunted for its tendency to forage on crops.

The journey from the wilds of Australia to domesticated homes began when bird enthusiasts recognized their playful nature and striking appearance. Their innate intelligence and capability to bond deeply with humans made them popular in aviculture. Despite their charming qualities, potential owners should remember that these are wild animals, and domesticated individuals still possess many of the instincts and needs of their wild counterparts.


Typically, the Bare-Eyed Cockatoo ranges from 14 to 18 inches in length. This size makes them one of the smaller cockatoo species, though they’re equally full of energy and personality as their larger relatives.


When properly cared for, a Bare-Eyed Cockatoo can live for 40 to 60 years, with some individuals even surpassing that age. This impressive lifespan means that adopting one is a long-term commitment, often requiring planning for their care even after the owner’s lifetime.


Bare-Eyed Cockatoos reach sexual maturity around 3 to 4 years of age. In the wild, they prefer to nest in tree hollows. For breeding in captivity, providing a large, vertical nesting box can encourage this natural behavior. Clutches usually consist of 2-3 eggs, which are incubated primarily by the female for about 24 days. Once hatched, both parents participate in feeding and caring for the chicks.

Unique Features

Their name gives away one of their most distinguishing features: the bare patch of skin around their eyes. This blue or grey-white periophthalmic ring contrasts beautifully with their predominantly white plumage. Another notable feature is their backward-curving crest, which they can raise or lower to express various emotions.

Behavior and Temperament

Renowned for their affectionate nature, Bare-Eyed Cockatoos are known to form deep bonds with their human caretakers. They’re intelligent, curious, and often demand a lot of attention, making them suitable pets for individuals who can devote ample time to interaction. Their playful nature can sometimes border on mischievous, so owners should be prepared for a bird that’s both entertaining and occasionally challenging.


While they can be affectionate, handling a Bare-Eyed Cockatoo requires patience, especially if the bird is new to the environment. Positive reinforcement and treats can encourage a more trusting relationship. It’s essential to handle them regularly to maintain a tame disposition, but always with respect and care, recognizing their cues and boundaries.

Grooming Needs

Bare-Eyed Cockatoos, like most birds, will preen themselves to maintain their feathers. They also appreciate the occasional misting or shower, which helps keep their plumage in good condition. Their beaks and nails, if not naturally worn down, might need occasional trimming. Always ensure that any grooming is done safely, preferably by a professional or under expert guidance.

Diet & Nutrition

While seeds and nuts form a considerable part of their diet, Bare-Eyed Cockatoos also need fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. In the wild, they are opportunistic feeders, so a varied diet in captivity can mimic this natural behavior. It’s essential to ensure that all food is free from pesticides and that potentially toxic foods, like avocados and chocolate, are avoided.


Being natives of Australia and parts of Indonesia, Bare-Eyed Cockatoos are accustomed to a warm climate. However, they are also resilient and adaptable. In captivity, maintaining a temperature between 65°F and 80°F is comfortable for them. As with all birds, sudden temperature changes and drafts should be avoided.

Common Health Issues

Bare-Eyed Cockatoos can be prone to various health issues, including fungal infections, respiratory disorders, and psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD). Regular veterinary check-ups can aid in early detection and treatment. Maintaining clean living conditions and a balanced diet is crucial for their overall health.

Habitat Requirements

These active birds require a spacious cage or aviary to stretch their wings and exercise. It should be equipped with toys, perches of varying diameters, and foraging opportunities. Safe materials are a must, as they love to chew. When allowed to fly outside their cage, the environment should be bird-proofed to prevent accidents.

Cost of Care

While the initial adoption or purchase of a Bare-Eyed Cockatoo can vary in price, the long-term costs encompass a balanced diet, toys, regular vet check-ups, and potential treatments. Their long lifespan means that this is an ongoing commitment, both in time and finances. Nevertheless, many owners find that the joy and companionship these birds bring are well worth the investment.

Bare-Eyed Cockatoo FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)