A Full List of Cockatoo Types (With Photo and Video)

The distinctive look of cockatoos in comparison with the other parrot types makes them a highly popular choice of a house bird. They are among the cutest parrots you can find! I know that from personal experience! Keep reading to find which parrot I had as a child! 

Many people are drawn to the look because it is so unlike other parrots. They generally tend to be green, yellow, or red. Personally, I find these creamy colors to be more pleasing to the eye. 

In addition to the pleasing appearance, cockatoos are known for a lively character! They are playful and affectionate birds. Some can be taught human words! In addition, cockatoos are known for long lifespans (as most parrots). Unlike cats and dogs, you won’t feel grief after the mere ten or twenty years with your beloved pet. Cockatoos can live for up to 70 year making them lifelong companions. 

Overall, there are 21 species of this parrot genus, plus 4 sub-species that I’ll talk about in the end. Overall, any cockatoo is not the smallest bird. They tend to be mid- and large-sized overall; approximately 12-13 inches. Some size differences are apparent in various species. Similarly, their weight also varies, but most birds fall under the range of 1-2 pounds. 

Now, I’ll offer you the details about cockatoo types and their distinct characteristics. So, if you plan on purchasing a cockatoo, you’ll know which one to choose! 

Note: all cockatoos have the ability to learn human phrases. So, any species can be bought as a “talking parrot.”


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Let’s start with the most diverse cockatoo species. It combines grey, yellow, white, orange, and black feathers in its coloring. Each bird is slightly unique and has a different pattern. 

Among the cockatoos, they are arguably the most adopted bird, partially due to their small size, partially to their affordable price. On average, they reach around 12 inches and cost $120-$250. You can also check the retailed review of how much you are expected to pay for a cockatoo in the article I’ve done before – How Much Should You Pay for a Cockatoo

They are friendly parrots who form close bonds with their family and love attention. Overall, they are the perfect first parrot for any beginner. They would enjoy sitting on your shoulders and chirping in your ear! 

Sadly, their lifespan is short in comparison with other parrots – below 15 years in the wild, but can reach 25 years at home with proper care, loving family, and regular vet visits. 

Can Cockatoos Talk?

Umbrella Cockatoo 

umbrella cockatoo

In the world of flora, many things bear the name of “an umbrella.” In the animal kingdom though, you can rarely find such comparisons. This parrot bears the name but why? If you take a look at their head crest, you can see the head crest that opens up just like an umbrella. This is one of the popular visual characteristics of a cockatoo that are known to many people. The crest works in parallel to the bird’s emotions. When it feels something strong like fear or high curiosity, it opens up the little “umbrella.” 

Overall, umbrella cockatoos are considered among the most affectionate parrot species. No wonder they are so popular worldwide. They are gentle and calm birds, especially in comparison with many temperamental parrots that are too loud and can nip. 

Appearance-wise, umbrella cockatoos are 18 inches long, weigh a bit over a pound, and have a creamy white body with a dark beak. They can have bits of yellows on the tail and crest. 

Life span: 40-60 years

How Much Should You Pay for a Cockatoo?

Solomons Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

This type of cockatoo looks incredibly similar to the Umbrella one. They may or may not have a crest (one that is smaller) and are generally tinier than their look-alike siblings. Also, Solomons’ beak is lighter. 

These parrots on average reach 12 inches and weigh a bit under a pound. Considering that these parrots are endemic to just Solomon Islands, they are rarer than many other cockatoos. 

However, they also make a great house bird due to their friendly nature and high intelligence. They are sociable birds and demand lots of attention from the owner. You’d better provide some stimulating games for this pet! 

Life span: 50 years

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

As you’ve already guessed, these cockatoos have a yellow crest! Also, remember that the crest looks different from the previous types. Umbrella and solomon parrots have crests that open up to create a smooth consistent line, while the sulphur’s crest forms more of a row of stand-alone feathers. They are as spiky as a rocker’s mohawk. That’s why I like to call them the punk-rockers of the parrot world. Also, these birds seem to be proud of their “hairdo” and open it up more frequently. 

Although they look like moody punks, their behavior is less chaotic. They are also friendly, like most cockatoo and can even become dependent on your love. Take good care of these cute rockers! Be sure you have enough time to spend with them daily. Also, you’ll have to buy a slightly bigger cage and they can reach up to 20 inches and weigh almost 2 pounds! 

Unfortunately, the only downside of these island parrots is their life span. They only live for 20-40 years. Of course, this is better than cats or dogs, but you can choose a crested cockatoo that lives almost twice as much! 

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Eleonora Subspecies 

I’ve decided to add subspecies right after their parental types to avoid confusion. The first subspecies out of four is Suplhur’s Crested Eleanora cockatoo. Generally, it looks the same and has that yellow crest. However, the Eleonora bird is drastically smaller form the main species – only 16 inches in length and under 20 ounces of weight. Yes, it is not as small as some other parrots, like a parrotlet, for example, or even other cockatoos, but still considerably smaller than many. 

Eleonora’s personality takes the friendliness and sociability of cockatoos to the next level! They are extremely playful and require even more time together with their owners. 

Life expectancy: 40 years

Methew’s Subspecies 

This is yet another subspecies of a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. And this one has its own “human” name as well. This bird was actually named after the notable ornithologist, Gregory Matthews, who’d identified the species. Which was not an easy task – this subspecies is incredibly similar to the main types. The famous crest is also yellow. Though, the beak is a bit darker and slanted. The birds are endemic to North Australia. 

Just as the Eleonora subspecies, Mathew’s parrots are also very friendly and sociable. That can be said about the whole sulphur-crested genus. 

This is also one of the larger cockatoo parrots out there. They can reach up to 20 inches and weigh 2 pounds. This, combined with the high demand for social interactions makes Matthew’s a bit problematic for novices. 

However, the life expectancy is around 70 years, which means that you’ll have a friend for your whole life. 

Triton Subspecies 

Sulphur-crested parrots impress their numbers. Not only the general number of birds but their subspecies as well. But this is the last sub, I swear. Well, for these types of cockatoos. 

The last subspecies was identified in New Guinea more than half a century ago by a Dutch zoologist, Coenraad Jacob. Unlike the previous case, the bird was not named after the scientists. 

Generally, it’s hard to distinguish them from the other sulphur cockatoos. The scientist described them having a broader crest and a pale blue periophthalmic ring that is usually while among other subspecies. 

They generally bear the behavioral characteristics of other sulphur cockatoos, but become more aggressive during the breeding season. Though, if you keep it as a house pet, you can avoid such acts of aggression. 

On average, the bird comes in a bigger size range than other cockatoos of the family – 18 to 22 inches; around 2 pounds. 

Life expectancy: 40 years 

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Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

cockatoo types

It’s not such a close sub-species as the previous three. It’s a separate type. It looks similar but the biggest distinction is in the crest – it’s brighter and deeper in color in this bird. It’s also known as yellow-crested though. It also has cute yellow dots on the cheeks – “parrot dimples” I call them. In addition, you can spot pale yellow feathers on the tail. The beak is black. 

The species is medium-sized – around 13 inches. And while the sulphur-crested species are located closer to Australia, this one is endemic to Indonesia. It also has a similar subspecies – a citron-crested cockatoo with a darker orange crest. And they are also among the rarest parrot types!

cockatoo types

I will not create a separate subspecies for this one as they are almost identical to the yellow parrots. Besides the crest, of course. 

Overall, both birds are talkative and outgoing. They are playful and will do incredibly great in a family with kids. 

Life expectancy: 40-50 years

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

best cockatoos

No, this is not a military cockatoo. Though, it’d be a hilarious view. Imagine a white cockatoo sitting on an officer’s shoulder just like pirates are depicted in movies? That would be the cutest considering how colorful the bird is. 

Mitchell’s cockatoo has pale pink plumage and a fair beak. Its crest is the brightest and cutest of all cockatoos – it combines yellow and red lines across the crest. Just look at the picture, isn’t it your perfect cockatoo. 

It’s an endemic species of Australia. And many creatures that inhabit the continent, this bird is bigger than its relatives. Major Mitchell’s cockatoo reaches 20-24 inches and weighs over 2 pounds. 

They are beautiful but not the best choice for a pet. Yes, they are big and require quite expensive cages, but also be prepared for lots of noises. They are more “talkative” than the other cockatoos. And I don’t mean human phrases; just the regular parrot noises. But when you build trust between everybody in the family, they turn to happy chirping and playfulness.

Life expectancy: 50-60 years 

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Moluccan Cockatoo 

cockatoo price

One of the cutest features of cockatoo is that they often spot pinkish hues in their coloring! And that is rare for parrots. Call me girly (well, I am!), but it captivates attention. 

Moluccan Cockatoo also has cute pink in its crest. When agitated or jubilant, the bird shows its “true colors.” 

Another captivating feature of this bird is its high intelligence. Moluccas are among the smartest cockatoos in the world. Thus they make very interesting pets to have as you can train them with different puzzles, play games, and teach many phrases. They are gentle birds! Sometimes, you’ll wonder how a bird can understand so much, but that is Moluccan for you! 

They are quite big: 20 inches and almost 2 pounds. 

Life expectancy: 40-60 years 

Goffins/Goffini Cockatoo 

best cockatoos

Also known as the Tanimbar corella, Goffins or Goffini cockatoo is an average-sized parrot that is considered among the smallest Cockatoos though. It generally reaches only 12 inches and weighs 10 ounces. 

Appearance-wise, these are the usual creamy white cockatoos with a light beak with an orang-y area around it. Personally, I find this feature super endearing! In certain lighting, it becomes even more pink than orange. The small area is like a parrot’s beauty mark. How can you resist it? I couldn’t! And had this bird for some time in my childhood. 

It’s a great parrot for a family! It’s friendly and not too nippy. So, your child will be safe. Also, remember to provide the bird with toys to keep it entertained. Plus, their small size makes them apartment-friendly! 

I’ve found a cute video of them; it shows their beauty better than any old photo can! 

Life expectancy: 40 years 

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Little Corella 

best cockatoos

This bird may be known as Little Corella, but it’s average for a cockatoo. In fact, it reaches around 14-16 inches. That is not a small-sized bird if taking all parrots into consideration. 

You’ve heard the word corella here several times already, I suspect. But we are here discussing cockatoos, right? So, what’s going on? Remember that corellas are just a subgenus of a cockatoo! 

This corella is mostly white, with a pale beak, blue eyes, and a pink spot around the beak!

The coloring is not too bright, unlike the bird’s personality. It’s very active, clownish, but also very independent. If you are looking for a parrot that is not an attention-seeker (almost impossible with cockatoos), this is the closest option! 

Life expectancy: 50-80 years; if you are lucky, it’ll outlive even you! 

Long-Billed Corella

best cockatoos

This type of cockatoos is probably among the easiest to distinguish! They don’t have a fancy crest like many of the mentioned birds. You can notice a tiny-tiny one on top of their head. They are mostly creamy white, but have red and orange plumage around the eyes and on the neck. The ring around the eyes is blue. 

I’d love to say “don’t judge the book by its cover,” but they are not the prettiest cockatoos. Personally, I think they look somewhat like a mix between a chicken and a dove. Besides, they have demanding personalities and can be nippy. 

However, I encourage you to share your love with this corella and teach it some manners. It’ll be a devoted parrot then. 

Size: 14-15 inches 

Life expectancy: 50-60 years 

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Red-Vented Cockatoo 

And here comes one of the more colorful cockatoos – Red-Vented. And it’s quite obvious why they are called so. You’ll find red feathers and some orange on their tails. Also, a few pale yellow feathers usually appear under the wings. They have a cute white crest that often stands for attention. 

I’m also a bit tired of repeating how sociable this and that cockatoo type is. But they are all lovely playful birds! Though, the Red-Vented may be a bit more energetic than the previous species. Meaning, your kids will love playing with the bird! 

They are also on the smaller range of cockatoos, but are average for parrots – 12 inches and 10 ounces. 

The bird is native to the Philippines. So, like all the parrots they are used to warmer climates. 

Life expectancy: 40 years 

Blue-Eyed Cockatoo

best cockatoos

Have you ever seen a parrot with blue eyes? (Blue around their eyes). Well, I bet you did somewhere. But what do you think about owning such beauty? 

This is generally a tricolored bird. The overall coloring is creamy white, with blue around the eyes, and yellow crest. Remember the triton subspecies of the sulphur-crested parrots? I’ve mentioned that it had a blue periophthalmic ring as well. In fact, these two types of cockatoos are incredibly similar for an untrained eye. Personally, I find it hard to distinguish the two based on a photo as well. Note that the blue-eyed are endemic to Papua New Guinea. 

These birds reach the standard size for the bigger cockatoos – 20 inches. 

Life expectancy: 50 years 

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo 

best cockatoos

Wow, that is something new! All the other cockatoos are white and a bit of yellow! Now we have a balck bird with a red tail? That’s rock. 

Yes, I agree with you! This is the most distinctive cockatoo of them all! They are rare and expensive. There are two subspecies that are considered endangered even. Outside of Australia, they are extremely expensive. 

Despite their sombre look, they are your typical cockatoos – loving and friendly. It’s an affectionate rocker! 

A fair warning: Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos like to chew everything they see. I highly suggest you invest in some parrot toys to save your house, hair, and limbs! Watch them like a hawk when you set them free! 

They come on the larger spectrum of cockatoos – 24 inches and up to 2 pounds.

Life expectancy: 45-50

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Glossy Black Cockatoo 

Hold up, here comes yet another black cockatoo on my list. Who would’ve thought that there are more than two of the kind? However, when you take a closer look at good lighting, you’ll notice that they are dark brown. The male birds are more blackish brown with red tails and females are dark brown with yellow spots. 

This parrot also lives in Australia but is somewhat smaller than the previous balck species. It reaches only 19-20 inches. They are also affectionate. 

Unfortunately, you’ll hardly be able to buy this parrot for a pet and they are endangered. There are only about a few hundred birds left. 

Life expectancy: 15-50 years 

Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

Okay, I won’t keep you a secret anymore. All the rest of the species that are left are dark-colored and include brown, grey, and black. This one comes with a yellow tail and two yellow dots on the head. Parrot dimples, as I’ve mentioned before! 

This is a huge cockatoo, even compared with some huge species I’ve mentioned before. They reach 26 inches and weigh around 2 pounds. Also, a cute feature – though it looks black when sitting still, as it ruffles the feathers you’ll notice that the tips are black but the base is also yellowish. Remember this detail and you’ll always be able to distinguish the yellow-tailed parrot from the rest of black tattoos. 

They are actually available for adoption, but are not the cheapest. They’ll make a great addition to any family ready to love the bird dearly. 

Life expectancy: 50 years 

Short-Billed Black Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

Just as the name suggests, this dark-colored parrot has a short beak that is light grey. The overall plumage is also more dark grey than black. The bird has white dots on the head, a bit higher than the dimples, though. The ends of its tail are also white. 

Just like the red-tailed parrots, they are very energetic and love to chew things. Be sure to offer them some chewy toys! 

Their size is around 21-23 inches.

Life expectancy: 25-50 years 

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Long-Billed Black Cockatoo 

This is almost the same bird!!! If you don’t put two together for comparison, I’ll easily confuse the two! I do not kid, an average person knows no difference besides the beak part. 

They are even similar personality-wise. Thus, you can choose of these two species for your pet interchangeably.

Though, this bird is sliiiiglty bigger: 22-24 inches

Life expectancy: 25-50 years 

Palm Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

Yes, this one also looks like a cool rocker. Among all the mentioned birds in this list, it has the longest crest. I believe it demands respect immediately! This is a type of cockatoo flex and the Palm Cockatoo is the winner. 

Overall, it has dark-grey coloring with bright red cheeks. In different lighting, it can spot black or even blue-black coloring. The beak is also dark-grey. 

This is a huge bird! You’ll need a big (and probably expensive) cage if you want this parrot at home. It can reach 28 inches and weighs over 2 pounds.

If you are fascinated by the looks, remember that this is one of the least affectionate cockatoos that has a strong character and is highly independent. Though, if you take it in at a young age and keep around most of the time, it’ll get used to you and will love you in its way. 

Life expectancy: 40-60 years

Gang-Gang Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

Well, that’s an interesting name. I always find such distinctive parrot names to be easier to remember. Both the name and a bird in general. Though it’s not a descriptive name, you’ll remember how this parrot looks. I guarantee. 

It has medium-grey plumage, grey medium-sized beak, red crest and big red area around the eyes that covers half the head like a mask of sorts. Just look at the picture above and it’ll stay in your memory forever! 

If you are interested in everything about the parrot so far, search for them without delay – their personality is great as well! They are playful and often act silly. However, behin that silliness, you’ll find an intelligent bird who loves talking and solving puzzles. 

Besides, it’s smaller than all the other dark parrots of Australia. It reaches only 13 inches. 

Life expectancy: 60 years 

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Galah Cockatoo 

cockatoo types

Okay, let’s finish this list with a cockatoo that has even rarer coloring than black – pink overall. While many cockatoos spot tiny patches of pink feathers, Galah is mostly entirely pink! Well, at least it’s body is pink, while the wings are grey with black ends, and the crest is whitish. 

These birds are affectionate and friendly. They are sociable but not big fans of cuddling. They are somewhat sensitive and require lots of attention and love from their owner. They can be a bit loud with screeching and pitching. Though, that’s not a constant habit. 

Besides, they are not as huge as black parrots, despite being endemic to Australia as well – only 14 inches. 

Life expectancy: 40 years