how long do cockatoos live
Image source: Cockatiels

Cockatoos live longer than most other bird species. Their lifespan, however, is dependent on the species. Larger species can live for at least 20 to 80 or even 100 years on average, whereas smaller species (cockatiels) can survive for up to 25 years. Here, we’ll discuss how long most cockatoos live, as well as the factors that affect their longevity. 

How Long Do Cockatoos Live Based On Species?

#1. Moluccan Cockatoo 

The Moluccan cockatoo, sometimes known as salmon crested cockatoos, is identical to the Umbrella cockatoo. The sole distinction is that its plumage is reddish rather than white. The two species also have comparable lifespans.

While tamed, Moluccan cockatoos can live for up to 70 years. But, when they are living and fending for themselves in the wild, their lifetime is greatly increased, as they can live for up to 90 years.

Nonetheless, the majority of the Moluccan cockatoo population is vulnerable to environmental conditions that may shorten their longevity, such as disease, drought, and predators.

#2. Goffin’s Cockatoo

Goffin’s cockatoo, also known as Tanimbar Corella, is one of the smallest cockatoo species.

Their lifetime is also one of the cockatoo species’ shortest. Their shortest lifespan is approximately 25 years, while their maximum lifespan is approximately 65 years.

#3. Cockatiel

Although cockatiels have a smaller size and are frequently confused with parrots, they are actually a species of cockatoo. They are mostly tamed in houses.

Cockatiels are amusing, gregarious, and cuddly. They are also capable of whistling and serenading their owners. A well-socialized and healthy cockatiel is an excellent family pet, which is why they are widespread in most Australian households. You can raise them in your residence as well.

They can live in the wild for 10 to 15 years. They have a lifespan of roughly 20 to 25 years when domesticated and carefully cared for.

#4. Sulfur-crested Cockatoos

Sulfur-crested cockatoos are abundant in Australian cities. They are well-known for their inquisitive and lively personalities. They are also heavily tamed in many homes. If you want to domesticate this uncommon bird, keep in mind that it is highly demanding and wants a lot of attention.

A domesticated Sulphur-crested cockatoo has an estimated lifespan of 20 to 40 years. They could, however, survive for up to 70 years if they are in good health and have adequate living conditions.

#5. The Galah Cockatoo

Galah Cockatoos, also known as rose-breasted or pink and grey cockatoos, are well-known for their lovely pink appearance. They are most common in Australia, where the majority of them have been domesticated. They have a longer lifespan than normal parrots.

Because Galah cockatoos are friendly and affectionate, they are typically tame. They enjoy being taken care of but dislike being cuddled. They are quite demanding because they crave attention.

Galah cockatoos live between 20 and 40 years in the wild. They can, however, live for up to 80 years if properly cared for.

#6. Umbrella Cockatoos

The umbrella cockatoos, scientifically known as Cacatua alba, are one of the species with a long lifetime.

You should feed your umbrella cockatoo extremely nutritious diets, including forages, to ensure that it lives a long and healthy life. Because the umbrella cockatoo is lively, intellectual, and fun-loving, their food should reflect these characteristics.

They can live for up to 60 years after being domesticated. Due to the antagonism and hard environmental variables, individuals in the zoo tend to survive for roughly 50 years. Some umbrella cockatoos have been reported to survive for over a century.

The species covered are not all-inclusive, but rather a selection of the most frequent. They offer you an indication of how long you may anticipate your cockatoo to live if you decide to keep one.

How Long Do Cockatoos Live in the Wild?

Human activities, natural calamities, and predation have all had an impact on the average projected lifespan of all cockatoo species in the wild. Life expectancy ranges from up to 70 years for larger species like the Moluccan cockatoo to 10 to 14 years for the much smaller Cockatiel.

The following are the average maximum life spans in the wild of some of the many cockatoo species:

  • Cockatiel: 10 to 14 years
  • Glossy black cockatoo: 15 to 30 years
  • Galah (Roseate cockatoo): Up to 20 years
  • Sulfur-crested cockatoo: 20 to 40 years
  • Red-tailed black cockatoo: 40 to 45 years
  • Citron cockatoo: 40 to 50 years
  • Black palm cockatoo: 40 to 60 years
  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo: 50 years
  • Triton cockatoo: 50 to 60 years
  • Greater sulfur-crested cockatoo: 60 to 65 years
  • Moluccan cockatoo: 70 years

What Factors Determine How Long Cockatoos Live?

It should be noted that the lifespans addressed thus far have all been maximum lifespans. However, the average and median lifespans of cockatoos are not quite as long. The median longevity of the 1675 salmon-crested cockatoos included in the “Survival on the Ark” research, for example, was just about 4.5 years.

This implies that, while these birds can live to incredible ages, it is not the norm. But, with some luck, decent genetics, and especially proper care, you may expect the ordinary cockatoo to live for at least 20 years, and possibly much longer.

That said, here are the major factors that affect the lifespan of cockatoos:

#1. Diet

The simplest thing you can do to increase your cockatoo’s potential lifespan is to offer a proper diet. It’s still a prevalent misconception that pet parrots can survive on a diet of seeds and nuts, when in fact they require a lot more variety.

A seed-only diet can easily lead to obesity, as can overfeeding. As with people, this is a massive silent killer of captive birds. To ensure that your ‘too gets all of the (micro)nutrients it needs, try a combination of the following:

  • Veggies (whole or chopped, try carrots, leafy greens, peppers and more) (whole or chopped, try carrots, leafy greens, peppers and more)
  • Fruits (little amounts, try apple, grape, pear, and more) (small amounts, try apple, grape, pear and more)
  • Pellet mixture of superior grade
  • High-quality seed mix (try to avoid sunflower seeds, which are great as treats!)
  • Sprouted seeds, such as lentils
  • Unsalted cooked pasta, lentils, and wild rice
  • Occasional training snacks, such as nuts

#2. General care

In terms of general maintenance, there are numerous things you can do to keep your cockatoo healthy and increase its quality of life. It is impossible to put everything here, however, keep the following in mind at all times:

The quality of the air.

Because domestic parrots have extremely sensitive lungs, this is a huge killer. If you have a cockatoo in the house, you cannot use nonstick cookware, aerosols, perfumes, (scented) candles, or cleaning products. Obviously, no smoking is permitted.

Time in and out of the cage. 

Both are quite significant! Every day, your cockatoo requires time out of its cage to exercise both its mind and body. This aids in the prevention of both stress-related disorders and obesity. The cage itself should be as large as possible, with plenty of (foraging) toys, perches, and freshwater sources.


Cockatoos are among the most demanding parrots, with some becoming practically obsessed with their owners. If the owner is unable to provide the care they are accustomed to, they may resort to stress plucking and other self-destructive activities. You should endeavor to ensure that your ‘too can entertain itself to some extent and provide it with plenty of opportunities to do so!


All parrots are disruptive and prone to household hazards, but cockatoos appear to be among the worst due to their inquisitive curiosity. Keep a watch on your cockatoo when it’s out and about, or restrict its access to spaces that are completely devoid of potentially hazardous materials, electricity cords, contraptions, and especially other pets.

What is the Age of my Cockatoo?

If you got your cockatoo from someone else, they might not have all of the necessary paperwork. Sadly, many individuals are unaware of how long they live and what having a cockatoo requires, resulting in the birds passing through several hands over time.

Is it possible to determine the age of your cockatoo? Unfortunately, not at all. You can identify the difference between a juvenile and an adult bird, but that’s about it. If your ‘too doesn’t have a leg band and previous owners can’t find any records, the bird could be five years old or twenty-five. A few hazy age markers are:

The color of eyes. 

When female cockatoos reach sexual maturity, their eyes lighten, whilst males’ eyes remain dark. If your cockatoo has lighter eyes, it is most likely older than two years old, as this characteristic does not occur in juveniles.

Feet and beak.

They will appear rougher and more weathered in birds that are more than a few years old. If the beak and feet of your cockatoo are smooth, it’s usually not very old.

The level of noise.

Except for cockatiels, all cockatoos are regarded as particularly noisy birds. In other species, such as the umbrella cockatoo, juveniles scream much louder. Infants make the most noise because they are still begging for nourishment from their parents. 

How do the Majority of Cockatoos Die?

Cockatoos are susceptible to a variety of avian diseases and viral infections, including psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), which weakens their immune systems and limits their ability to recover from illnesses.

Predation, as well as hunting and pest control, and illicit capture or smuggling for the pet trade, are major causes of cockatoo death in the wild.

Another key issue contributing to the decline of wild cockatoo populations is habitat degradation, with deforestation and development having an irreversible impact on the long-term survival of these colorful crested birds.

What is a Cockatoo’s Life Cycle?

Cockatoo eggs incubate in a hollow cavity in a tree trunk for anywhere between 20 and 29 days, depending on the species.

Nestlings remain in the hole for 5 to 12 weeks after hatching, depending on the species – larger cockatoo species take longer to prepare to leave the nest, while smaller varieties fledge sooner.

Fledgling cockatoos spend several months with their parents, mastering the knack of foraging before joining a flock.

Maturity occurs around the age of four years; cockatoos mate for life and may pair up the year before reproducing. Female birds often reproduce for the first time between the ages of three and seven years.

Can Cockatoos Live For 100 Years?

Sulfur-crested Cockatoos reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 or 7 years. They can live for several decades in the wild and up to 100 years in captivity.

Do Cockatoos Bond With Humans?

It is unnatural for a cockatoo to form a bond with a human. If another bird is not available and a caring human being is present in the ‘too’s life on a regular basis, the bird will most likely create a bond with that person.

Are Cockatoos Very Smart?

Cockatoos are frequently regarded as the most intellectual birds, as well as among the most intelligent creatures in general. Pigeons, finches, domestic fowl, and birds of prey have also been studied for intelligence.

Do Cockatoos Get Sad?

Many parrots, particularly highly gregarious and intellectual species like cockatoos and African grays, require a lot of attention, and if they don’t get it, they grow bored and anxious, and they may scream, feather pluck, or self-mutilate.

In Conclusion,

As previously stated, the lifespans of various cockatoo species vary. They tend to live longer, up to 80 or even 100 years, with adequate health care, a suitable atmosphere, and proper food. If you have a cockatoo at home, you should take good care of it so that it lives a long time.

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