Umbrella Cockatoo – Species Profile


Species: Cacatua alba.

Size and color: White with a wide crest. The undersides of the tail feathers and wings are yellowish. Their bill is black, however it frequently seems grey because of the power on it. (April’s beak seems to be half and half in the image on the right.) That’s because her beak was coated with powder and looked grey, so she took a sip of water and cleaned the powder off part of her beak.) The ring surrounding the eye has a little blue hue to it. They stand around 18 inches tall.

Country of origin: Halmahera Batjan and Obi, Indonesia; formerly also on Ternate and Tidore.

In the wild: The Umbrella’s natural habitat consists of forest, open woodland, cleared regions with solitary trees, thick vegetation, mangroves, and swamps. They are usually found in couples or small groups of three to ten birds, but may form groups of up to fifty birds on roosting branches. Umbrella cockatoos are easily identified and may be heard from a long distance. They communicate with one another by shrieking continuously while in flight. Typically, they consume seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, insects, and larvae.

Noise Level: It can be really loud! Not suitable for an apartment or any other location where their delightful shrieking may bother the neighbors and get you in trouble. This is my umbrella. April has her moments. Her normal screaming period is around twilight and sometimes in the morning.

Diet: Safflower, sunflower, oats, wheat, pellets, and tiny seeds comprise the diet. Cooked meals, sprouts, millet spray, rowan berries, rose hips, and different fruits and vegetables are also favorites. I’ve read that cockatoos may be finicky eaters and are slow to adopt new meals, yet my bird eats almost everything.

Life expectancy: 50 to 70 years. (Some accounts say between 60 and 80 years.)

Overall personality: They are quite energetic, like cuddling, and are very loving. People first find such characteristic charming. Umbrellas, on the other hand, may be quite demanding. They will continue to expect the same degree of attention if they are spoilt with a lot of attention at initially. If it were feasible, I know several Umbrellas who would be surgically bonded to their people. When their hormones kick in, they might become erratic.

They are quite intelligent and can learn a variety of tricks. Some Umbrellas can speak rather fluently, but most can just say “hello” or “hi.” They have a “bird” voice when they talk. That is, no matter who taught them or where they learned it, everything they say sounds the same in their unique “voice.” In contrast, African Greys take up on the inflection, tone, and pitch of the individual from whom they acquired it. (By the way an African Grey says anything, you can always tell who taught them.)

Other concerns: Umbrellas, like other cockatoos, are voracious chewers. Munch, chew, and more chew. If given the chance, I am certain that your Umbrella would renovate your home. An uncontrolled cockatoo has wreaked havoc on many a chair, table, window frame, and so on. Provide lots of chewing material for your cockatoo and keep an eye on them while they’re out to protect your furnishings!

Cockatoos have a lot of powder as well. That’s POWDER in all caps. If you have allergies, this is not a good option! Their fine, talc-like powder will contaminate everything. On your television, your clothing, the air, your furniture, and so on. This powder is typical and necessary for maintaining their feathers in good condition! Give your cockatoo frequent mistings to cut down the amount of powder floating around in the air. Do you doubt me? You’ll understand what I mean if you embrace a cockatoo while wearing a black shirt.

Cages: Because umbrella cockatoos are quite active, they should be housed in the biggest cage that room and finances allow. The cage must at the very least enable the bird to expand its wings completely. Check that the cage is SOLID and has NO WOOD. Umbrellas are very powerful and experts in undoing bolts and anything else that comes their way. They can quickly gnaw through any wood and may even shatter the welds on substandard cage bars. Check that the cage is properly secured. Umbrellas can (and will) open practically any kind of cage lock. The ideal option is a padlock or a lock that needs at least two actions to be done simultaneously in order for the cage to open.

Sexing: According to some authors, mature females have a reddish-brown iris and a smaller head and bill than males. The iris of adult men is black. By the age of four, the color of the eyes has changed. The first year, both sexes seem similar, and the female’s iris begins to alter, becoming a touch grey. April has been with me since she was a baby. She is now five years old and, in my perspective, has a reddish-brown iris. My vet, on the other hand, believes she is a male. The only way to be certain is to have them professionally sexed. (I’m sticking to my guns when I claim she’s a female.)

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