Backyard Buddies
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Photo: FNPW Image Library

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

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The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is Australia's most famous cockatoo, easily recognised by their signature yellow crest and wings.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are very adaptable and have become a common sight to people living in suburbs all over Australia. They don't have any trouble finding their own food, and your backyard may just be a great source.

These snow-white cockatoos are very social, especially during autumn and winter when mating season has ended. They can even be seen in flocks of up to a hundred birds, and small clusters may feed in your backyard while socialising, chatting and preening.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos spend their mid-mornings and afternoons feeding on a diverse menu of grass and plant seeds, leaf buds, berries, nuts, bulbous roots, grains and occasionally insect larvae.

They mostly feed on the ground, and retreat to the shade of tree branches during the hottest parts of the day.

Plant locally native grasses, bushes and shrubs in your backyard. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos will enjoy a nourishing meal, and will help prune these native plants for you.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos work together to protect the flock. While feeding, two cockatoos will keep a lookout for signs of danger from the post of a nearby tree. If danger appears, these cockatoos will screech loudly as a warning. The word 'cockatoo' has even become a colloquial term for someone who keeps guard.

One thing that the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo cannot warn their friends about however is eating poisoned seeds from garden pesticides. Try to avoid using any pesticides, and instead let other backyard buddies like the Willie Wagtail be your garden bug controllers.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos love:

But they don't like:

Try to:

Avoid:

Don't be surprised if Sulphur-crested Cockatoos:

A few more Sulphur-crested Cockatoo facts

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”BYB is a great intro to Australia’s wildlife - to educate your kids and discover more about nature in your backyard. I recommend BYB to all parents.“

Helen - BYB Supporter & Parent, WA

Photo: OEH