Cockatoo Personality Traits & Species

In my last article, I briefly spoke about the wild yellow-crested cockatoos in Hong Kong. In fact, they are just one of the many species within the cockatoo family. Cockatoo, which encompasses 21 species belonging to the Cacatuidae family, could be found throughout Australasian: Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Solomon Island.

All Cockatoo species

Cockatoo’s iconic silhouette has always attracted humans’ attention throughout history, but little has been captured about their personalities until recently. If one talks to any cockatoo owners, one will find stories about these fascinating creatures and how much personalities and emotions they packed in their small bodies. For this reason, I thought it will be fun to give a brief introduction about different cockatoo species and the general personality traits found within them.
Cockatoo personality traits & species Joyfulness Moluccan Cocaktoo
“Joyfulness: Moluccan Cockatoo”
30cm x 40cm.
Watercolor on paper. Painted in 2020

Joyfulness: Moluccan Cockatoo

The Moluccan cockatoo, also known as the salmon-crested cockatoo, has a lavish and striking appearance at a first glance. These Indonesian birds are loud (all cockatoos are), vivid, and cheerful. Thriving on social interaction, these birds are enthusiastic about everything. Everything could be a celebration to them, whether it is a breeze of wind, a butterfly flying by, a fish jumping out of the pond, etc…Proximity is not an issue for the Moluccans – they love to cuddle with each other. They are also very welcoming birds, taking in injured or feather-picking members with open arms (wings in this case).

Cockatoo personality traits & species Black Cockatoo and Moonlight e1650079216370
“Black cockatoo and Moonlight”
30cm x 40cm.
Watercolor on paper. Painted in 2020

Mystical: Black Cockatoo

Red-tailed black-Cockatoo can be found in the woodland of Australia. The adult male has an iconically red panel in its tail that gives this species its name. Despite being a member of the cockatoo family, they have a rather calm personality. Red-tailed black cockatoos are associated with aboriginal Australian creation stories. Other Australians believe that seeing a red-tailed black cockatoo means rain is coming. Overall, I found these birds very mystically charming.

Cockatoo personality traits & species Cockatoo and Hydragea
“Cockatoo and Hydragea”
30cm x 40cm.
Watercolor on paper. Painted in 2020

Curiosity: Yellow crested Cockatoo

The yellow-crested cockatoo, also known as the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo, is an endangered species from Indonesia. They are smaller in size compared to their Australian cousin, the sulphur-crested cockatoos. The yellow-crested is a sweet and curious little bird, but they do have unpredictable moments being a member of the cockatoo family.

“SunFlower”, my Yellow-crested Cockatoo

We adopted a yellow-crested cockatoo many years ago. She turned out to be a quiet old lady in her 40s. She could not fly as she was confined in a small cage for a long time before us. She was a tormented old soul that did everything in slow motions.

This is a reminder to us that personality is molded by experiences. That is true for a bird too. Painful memories do not go away, they simply become part of us.

She passed in 2011.

Cockatoo personality traits & species Galah
“Galah Cockatoo”
30cm x 40cm.
Watercolor on paper. Painted in 2020

Sweetness: Galah Cockatoo

To me, the galah cockatoo is living proof that nature is a wonderful artist. With its glamorous pink feathers, the galah is a sweet small-size cockatoo – a little less demanding and less destructive than other cockatoos. They have a temperament similar to the cockatiels: loving and affectionate. Obviously, they still have their energetic side being a cockatoo. I always love their unique little wiggle.


Birds and emotion

When looking at human personality, a lot can be traced back to upbringing and environment. This applies to birds too. Therefore, no two birds are the same. They all have unique personalities, preferences, and stories. Their personalities grow and change with age.

I hope that there will be someday in the future when we can communicate with these incredible creatures and hear their stories, thoughts, and experiences.

See the other works from the same series on my portfolio page.

You can find more information with this article by the Nature Conservancy of Australia.

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