Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo
Scientific NameCacatua sulphurea
Common NameLesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo
Care LevelAdvanced
Lifespan30-50 years
Adult Size13-18 inches
DietSeeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables
OriginIndonesia and East Timor
TemperamentSocial, playful, noisy

History & Domestication

The Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, not to be confused with its larger relative, the Greater Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, hails from the Sunda Islands of Indonesia and parts of East Timor. Their vivid colors and lively personalities have garnered them immense popularity among bird enthusiasts around the world.

Historically, these birds played a significant role in the cultural and spiritual narratives of the indigenous communities of their native regions. With the advent of global trade and colonization, the charm of the Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo reached Western shores, leading to a demand for them as exotic pets. Unfortunately, this also led to rampant poaching, threatening their numbers in the wild. Today, while the wild populations are protected under international treaties, challenges remain due to habitat loss and illegal pet trade.


The Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, as the name suggests, is smaller than its “greater” counterpart. Typically, they measure between 13 to 18 inches in length from beak to tail. While smaller, they still possess all the energy and dynamism of their larger cousins.


In a well-maintained environment with proper care, these birds can live between 30 to 50 years. Like all long-lived pets, they form deep bonds with their owners and often become integral parts of the family.


Breeding the Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo mirrors many of the practices adopted for other cockatoo species. A sufficiently large nesting box is necessary, with females usually laying 2-3 eggs per clutch. The incubation period lasts about 27 days, with both parents participating in nurturing and feeding the chicks until they fledge.

Unique Features

Their standout feature is, without doubt, the stunning yellow crest that sits atop their head, lending them their name. While predominantly white, they have a yellow wash under the wings and tail. The vivid yellow crest can be raised or flattened, often serving as an indicator of the bird’s mood.

Behavior and Temperament

These cockatoos are known for their affectionate and sociable nature. They thrive on interaction and often form strong bonds with their caregivers. Their intelligence and curiosity necessitate regular mental stimulation, or they may resort to destructive behaviors. Owners should be prepared for their vocal nature; they are quite capable of loud calls, especially when seeking attention.


Building trust is paramount. Regular and gentle handling, reinforced with positive responses like treats, can help establish a strong bond. They are incredibly interactive and enjoy playing with toys, solving puzzles, and engaging in activities that challenge their intelligent minds.

Grooming Needs

Regular grooming is crucial to ensure the health of a Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. This includes wing clipping to prevent uncontrolled flights, nail trimming, and occasional beak checks. They also enjoy and benefit from regular baths or misting, helping to maintain the luster of their feathers.

Diet & Nutrition

While they love seeds and nuts, a balanced diet should also incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Specially formulated pellets can also be a good dietary addition. As with all pets, clean, fresh water should be accessible at all times.


Originating from the tropical regions of Indonesia and East Timor, these birds prefer warm temperatures. If housed outdoors, they need protection from the cold. When kept indoors, they should be kept in a consistent environment, away from drafts and direct sources of heat.

Common Health Issues

The Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo is susceptible to various ailments, including fungal infections, respiratory issues, and psittacine beak and feather disease. An observant owner is often the first line of defense against health issues, noticing changes in behavior or appearance, indicating potential health concerns.

Habitat Requirements

Given their size and activity levels, these birds need spacious cages. The cage should have enough space for them to move, play, and spread their wings. Perches, toys, and climbing structures are essential for their mental and physical well-being.

Cost of Care

Owning a Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo involves substantial costs. Apart from the initial expense of purchasing the bird, there are additional costs for housing, feeding, vet care, toys, and other essential accessories. Their long lifespan implies continued investment over the years, but many owners find the joy and companionship they offer to be truly invaluable.

Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)