The Moluccan Cockatoo - Majestically Silly Parrot
The Moluccan (pronounced Muh-LUCK-un) Cockatoo is a magnificent creature to behold. The body feathers can range from almost white to a pale pink color, and when the crest atop the head is raised you can see the beautiful deep coral colored feathers that cause some people to call it the Salmon Crested Cockatoo.
The Moluccan Cockatoo is the largest of the "white" cockatoos and is just over 20 inches long. It also comes with a hefty price tag. In the United States, you can expect to pay $1500 to $2000 for a handfed young bird, and another thousand for a cage that can give it ample living space and withstand the chewing of its substantial beak.
Moluccan Cockatoos are very intelligent and sensitive birds. They need regular interaction with their human flocks, and they need mental stimulation. They need toys, which can be purchased or made yourself, and they need a good varied diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and pellets.
Cockatoos have come to be referred to as "Velcro" birds because they love nothing more than a good snuggle with a favored human. A loving cockatoo will lay on its owner's chest, head extended or completely upside down so that the right spot can be scratched. This is quite a sight to see when such a large and fabulous looking bird melts for attention this way. They easily come to depend on this treatment and may learn to demand it in unpleasant ways.
Moluccan Cockatoos are probably the loudest parrot in the pet parrot trade. If allowed to develop a screaming habit, they can become great nuisances as neighbors begin to call the police and your leisure hours are ruined. If the bird is passed from home to home due to his ill-manners it becomes a great tragedy and may result in death or insanity for the animal. But fear not! There are husbandry techniques that can temper the screams and make them manageable. The Moluccan Cockatoo will never make a good apartment pet, but it can be conditioned to restrict it's screaming to limited periods during the day when it is least likely to be disturbing. Learning Clicker Training is a good way to start.
Moluccan Cockatoos can be dangerous if not handled properly. They are not ideal animals for households with small children. The beak of the Moluccan cockatoo can open a Brazil nut with very little effort. It can also break a finger. For this reason it is essential to learn proper husbandry techniques before you get your Moluccan Cockatoo! Even adults have sustained serious damage from these birds. Clicker Training is recommended for any large cockatoo owner!
These birds are also very destructive if not provided with proper outlets for their natural desire to chew. Sections of clean branches with the bark still attached are good for them, and lots of wooden toys to destroy and other toys which can be manipulated are essential. Moluccans are often quite mechanical and you may find that they quickly learn to open their cages, even if you use additional latches. Some Moluccan cockatoo owners resort to putting padlocks on the cages when the birds need to stay inside!
Moluccans have a peculiar habit of clacking their beak when they are interested in something. Most cockatoos of various species enjoy hopping on the ground, but this must be restricted as Moluccans often become aggressive if allowed to roam freely on the floor.
Moluccan Cockatoos originated in the Molucca Islands in Indonesia, just northeast of Australia in the Atlantic. Their native forest home is being decimated at a rapid pace and it is believed that only about 2000 of these amazing birds remain in the wild. It may be soon that they can only be found in captivity. It is essential that we consider their needs carefully when bringing them into our homes.
An important fact to remember is that Moluccan Cockatoos can live to be 70 or more years old. If you choose to adopt one, you should make arrangements for the bird's care should something happen to you. If you are the right person to adopt a Moluccan Cockatoo, you may well find that you've made a friend for life.