Large conspicuous white cockatoo with yellow crest frequently raised in alarm or display. Beak and feet black.
No sexual dimorphism. Males are distinguished from females by the colour of the eye; females have slightly lighter (reddish) coloured irises than males,
although many females have a blackish iris (like the males). There is also some marginal difference in the size of the head and general stature.
Males have slightly larger heads and when in pairs usually stand taller with legs apart giving an overall dominant appearance.
mmature birds resemble adults but are extremely difficult to sex.
Across northern and eastern Australia.
Forests and woodlands including wet sclerophyll and rainforest.
Seeds, grains, nuts, fruits, bulbs, fruits, insects and insect larvae.
May-September in the north, August-January in the south.
Usual nesting site is a large hollow limb or a hollow tree trunk most often at least 10m above ground. It appears that tall eucalypts close to or bordering
water courses are preferred nesting sites. Both males and females prepare the nest by chewing around the entrance and inside the hollow which may be excavated
to some depth. The nest base is rotten wood.
In captivity hollow eucalypt logs are best suited for breeding. The log should be approximately 35-40 cm in internal diameter and about 1m in length.
The log should be suspended vertically or in an inclined position. Some birds prefer entrances at the front of the log, whereas others prefer an entrance on top.
The preferred nesting material is a mixture of wood shavings and dirt or peat moss.
Male Sulphur-crested Cockatoos strut towards females with the crest erect and tail feather spread wide. He also nods/bobs and flicks the head from
side to side whilst emitting a low chuckling call. These displays are often performed during the process of nest preparation and many such displays usually precede
the actual copulation.
These birds usually breed at four to five years of age. However, this may not always be the case. There are records of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos
breeding at two years of age but this is under rather unusual circumstances such as in an overabundance of food. Similarly, sexually mature pairs may not breed
until six or seven years of age, depending on prevailing circumstances.
One to three white oval eggs. Incubation period: 30days. Fledging usually occurs at 9 to 12 weeks. Chicks remain with the parents for an indefinite
period thereafter however.
Mutations and Hybrids
Lutino Sulphur-crests are similar to the normal variety but with a pale beak and flesh coloured feet and eyes.
Hybrids have been recorded with Major Mitchell, Galah, Little (short-billed) and Slender- (long) billed Corellas