Citron-Crested Cockatoo

Citron-Crested Cockatoo
Scientific NameCacatua sulphurea citrinocristata
Common NameCitron-Crested Cockatoo
Care LevelAdvanced
Lifespan30-40 years
Adult Size13-15 inches
DietSeeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables
OriginSumba Island in Indonesia
TemperamentAffectionate, sensitive, playful

History & Domestication

Originating from Sumba Island in Indonesia, the Citron-Crested Cockatoo is a subspecies of the Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. With its vibrant yellow crest and expressive eyes, this bird has become a notable figure in aviculture. However, with popularity comes challenges: over the years, its wild population has dwindled due to habitat destruction and illegal pet trade. As a result, there has been an emphasis on ensuring that individuals kept as pets are sourced responsibly and ethically.

In domestic settings, the Citron-Crested Cockatoo’s playful nature and striking appearance have made it a favored choice for bird enthusiasts. Nonetheless, its demanding nature means that it’s best suited to experienced bird handlers who understand the commitment of time, energy, and resources needed to keep them thriving.


A medium-sized parrot, the Citron-Crested Cockatoo typically stands between 13 to 15 inches in height. While it’s not as large as some of its cockatoo relatives, it more than compensates with its vibrant personality and colorful plumage.


When adequately cared for, a Citron-Crested Cockatoo can live between 30 to 40 years. As with many parrots, this lifespan signifies a substantial commitment for potential owners, ensuring that their needs are met throughout their life.


Reaching sexual maturity around the age of 3, these cockatoos in the wild tend to nest in tree hollows. Those in captivity require a sizable nesting box to encourage their natural breeding habits. Typically, the female will lay 2 to 3 eggs, which she incubates for approximately 28 days. After hatching, both parents take turns feeding and caring for the chicks until they fledge.

Unique Features

Aside from its bright yellow crest, the Citron-Crested Cockatoo sports an equally radiant patch of yellow on its cheeks and under its wings. These features contrast dramatically with its primarily white plumage, making it stand out vividly among other cockatoo species. The expressive, dark-brown eyes set within a featherless blue eye-ring only add to its captivating appearance.

Behavior and Temperament

These cockatoos are renowned for their affectionate and sensitive nature. They thrive on interaction and can form deep bonds with their human caregivers. However, they are also known to be quite vocal and can become destructive if they feel neglected or bored. Mental stimulation, in the form of toys, puzzles, and interaction, is crucial for their well-being.


Building trust with a Citron-Crested Cockatoo is essential. Gentle, consistent handling can lead to a deep bond, but abrupt movements or handling can lead to nipping or biting. Positive reinforcement and patience are key components when working with these birds, especially if they come from a less-than-ideal previous environment.

Grooming Needs

Like other cockatoos, they will naturally preen their feathers. However, they also appreciate showers, either through misting or a lukewarm shower. Regular wing, nail, and beak trims might be necessary, depending on the bird’s activities and environment.

Diet & Nutrition

While their primary diet consists of seeds and nuts, it’s crucial to offer a balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality pellets. An assorted diet not only provides essential nutrients but also offers mental stimulation.


Native to the warmer climates of Indonesia, the Citron-Crested Cockatoo thrives in temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F. However, they are adaptable as long as sudden temperature changes and drafts are avoided.

Common Health Issues

Potential health concerns include fungal infections, psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), and respiratory issues. Regular veterinary check-ups can help in early diagnosis and treatment. Proper hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular monitoring can prevent many health problems.

Habitat Requirements

Due to their active nature, a spacious cage that allows for wing spreading and movement is essential. Toys, perches of varying diameters, and materials to chew on are necessary for their mental and physical well-being.

Cost of Care

Beyond the initial cost of adoption or purchase, potential owners should budget for a nutritious diet, toys, regular veterinary care, and potential emergencies. Their longevity means that this is a long-term financial and time commitment, but the joy they bring to a household often outweighs the costs for those passionate about these birds.

Citron-Crested Cockatoo FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)