Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita, is a large bird sized between 44 and 51 cm. It is a well-known large white cockatoo with upswept yellow crest, yellow wash on the face, underwings and under tail. Blackish bill and dark grey legs. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has the commonly known call of a loud raucous screech. In flight, broad rounded wings with an irregular flap and glide pattern. Found usually in pairs to massive flocks.

Feeding Habits

Mainly feeds on the ground, foraging for seeds and rootlets. Also making up their diet are insects and larvae, as well as berries and flowers of various trees and shrubs.


May-September. In courtship, male bobs head with crest raised. Nests in a large deep hollow, often in eucalypt. Two-to-three white eggs, incubated by male and female. The young stay with the adults for several months.

Places to Look

  • Wooded scrub
  • Open country
  • Grasslands
  • Watercourses
  • Towns
  • Gardens


  • Loss of hollow nesting sites by clearing old eucalypts.

Traditional Owner Information

The Sulphur-crested cockatoo is known as Kinooroo (pronounced - Ginuru), and the feathers on these birds were used for ceremonial purposes. This bird is used in ceremonial activities for its purity. Also connects back to the ancestral Spirit, Gundilygar, which is the most powerful white spirit in this region.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© NQ Dry Tropics 2015
© NQ Dry Tropics 2015

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