Citron Crested Cockatoo (Everything You Need to Know)

Last Updated on December 22, 2023 by Ali Shahid

The Citron Crested Cockatoo is a charming parrot hailing from the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. This medium-sized bird stands out with its orange crest and light orange ear patches. Renowned for their friendly and loving demeanor, these parrots are the smallest among the yellow-crested cockatoo family, celebrated for their smarts and entertaining tricks.

In their natural habitat, you’ll find them in various forests, from subalpine areas to mangroves, with a particular fondness for tropical forests along the edges. Unfortunately, their existence is under serious threat due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade.

People who own Citron Crested Cockatoos often note that these birds are more calm and reserved compared to other cockatoo types. This makes them a top choice for those seeking a pet bird that demands attention and care. Despite their quieter disposition, they establish strong bonds with their human companions, providing a distinctive and fulfilling pet-owning journey.

Citron Crested Cockatoo
Scientific NameCacatua citrinocristata
Lifespan40-60 years
Size13-15 inches in length
WeightAbout 380 grams
AppearanceMostly white with pale orange patches on cheeks, pale yellow on the undersides of wings and tail feathers, and a bright orange crest. Dark grey feet and greyish-black beaks
PersonalityActive, high-energy, gentle, playful, and affectionate. Quieter than other cockatoo species
Talking AbilityCan learn to talk but typically have a vocabulary of about 10-15 words
Native HabitatEndemic to Sumba in the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia
DietMainly seeds, buds, fruits, nuts, and herbaceous plants
Conservation StatusCritically endangered due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade
PriceTypically ranges from $3,000 to $4,000, but can go up to $4,200

Native Region and Habitat

The Citron Crested Cockatoo is originally from the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia, particularly Sumba Island. These birds live in different kinds of forests, such as evergreen, moist deciduous, monsoon, and semi-evergreen forests, as well as scrubland. They prefer hanging out in tropical forests or at the edges of these green areas, including forest edges, woodlands, and cultivated spaces.

The well-being of the Citron Crested Cockatoo is closely tied to its natural home. Unfortunately, these birds are at risk because their habitats are disappearing, and people are capturing them illegally for the pet trade. Sumba Island has lost a whopping 90% of its original forests, and this has had a big impact on the number of these unique birds. It’s a tough situation for these feathered friends.

Behavior and Personality

Citron Crested Cockatoos stand out for their calm nature, differing from their louder cockatoo relatives. Despite their quiet approach, these birds boast lively personalities and enjoy engaging with their owners. Initially a bit reserved, they become curious and affectionate once they settle into their new surroundings, often choosing to stay close to their human companions.

Known for their intelligence, Citron Crested Cockatoos can learn tricks and even mimic speech. However, they thrive on human interaction and may display disruptive behaviors if neglected, such as screaming or destructive actions. Owners often portray them as playful and affectionate birds with a vocabulary of around 10-15 words. Building a respectful and reciprocal relationship with these feathered friends is key, as they are lifelong companions.

Considered friendly and low-maintenance, Citron Crested Cockatoos are popular choices for both singles and families. They form strong bonds, particularly with their favorite person, and interact well with children. Energetic and playful, they enjoy a variety of toys and demand attention.

Owners highlight that these birds, while active and high-energy, are not as demanding or possessive as larger white cockatoos and are less destructive than their cockatoo counterparts. Their inquisitive nature leads them to explore and chew on objects in their surroundings.

Size and Coloring of Citron Cockatoo

Let’s talk about the size and appearance of the Citron Crested Cockatoo. These birds are medium-sized, measuring around 30 to 32.5 cm (12 to 13 in.) in length and weighing between 300 to 500 grams when they’re all grown up. Some folks say the guys are a bit bigger, with larger heads and beaks compared to the ladies.

Now, onto their looks. The Citron Crested Cockatoo is mostly white, sporting some interesting details in other colors. Picture this: white body, head, and most of the wings. But here’s the cool part—their crest is a vibrant orange, making them stand out from their cockatoo relatives.

When these birds take flight, you’ll notice pale yellow tones on their underwings and tail feathers. They also rock pale orange ear patches. The beak usually comes in a dark grey or black shade, while the area around their eyes has a super light blue tint. Speaking of eyes, males sport very dark black eyes, and females have eyes that shimmer with a coppery hue. Quite a colorful crew, wouldn’t you say?

Health and Care

Citron Crested Cockatoos, like other bird species, require specific care to maintain their health and happiness.

Common Health Issues and Prevention

Citron Crested Cockatoos can face a few health challenges, and it’s good to be aware of them. One common issue is obesity, but you can steer clear of that by giving them a balanced diet and making sure they stay active. Another concern is psittacosis, caused by a bacteria named Chlamydia psittaci. It might make the bird seem tired, with eye and breathing problems, but don’t worry – a round of antibiotics can help treat it. Keep an eye out for nutritional gaps, too, but a well-balanced diet or some vitamin supplements can prevent that.

Now, here’s something important: these cockatoos have a habit of swallowing things that aren’t food, which can lead to health troubles. So, when they’re out of their cages, a watchful eye is a good idea. Regular check-ups with the vet are a smart move to catch and chat about any health, nutrition, or behavior concerns. It’s all part of giving these feathered pals the best care.

Care Requirements

Taking care of Citron Crested Cockatoos involves a few important aspects.


In the wild, these birds munch on a mix of seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and insects. They also enjoy buds, flowers, and plants, often snagging a snack at coconut plantations. For our pet Citron Crested Cockatoos, it’s crucial to keep their diet balanced.

A good menu includes commercial cockatoo seed mix, fresh fruits and veggies, and proteins like cooked rice and chicken. Brands like Zupreem’s FruitBlend are often recommended. 

Toss in some formulated (pelleted or extruded) diet for a nutritional boost. Fresh fruits and veggies daily add variety and keep them mentally sharp. Keep an eye on high-fat seeds like sunflower to prevent chubbiness. Watch out, these birds can be a bit choosy about their grub, so be mindful not to overfeed.


Give your Citron Crested Cockatoo a roomy cage, the bigger, the better. Even for the small ones, think 27″ x 27 ” x 39″ (70x70x100 cm) as a starting point. Placing the cage at eye level in a quiet, sunny spot away from drafts is a good call.

Toys and Interaction:

These birds are social and curious, craving human time to stay emotionally upbeat. Load up on toys to keep them busy and prevent mischief. They also need plenty of outside-cage time for exercise and play.


Regular baths or showers keep their feathers and skin in top shape. A little misting and letting them air-dry in a cozy room or sunshine does the trick. It’s a bit like a spa day for your feathered friend.

Affectionate and friendly, enjoys cuddlingCan be quite vocal, may not be suitable for all owners
Intelligent, trainable for tricks and new behaviorsHigh maintenance, requires a lot of attention and care
Social birds, enjoy spending time with ownersDestructive if not provided with enough toys and stimulation
Quieter than most cockatoo speciesMay require specialized veterinary care, which can be expensive
Long lifespan (50-70 years or more with proper care)If not properly socialized, can become territorial and aggressive
Potential for loud screams and vocalizations bothering neighbors
Not well-suited for apartment living due to noise concerns

Conservation Status

Current Population and Conservation Status

The Citron Crested Cockatoo is in big trouble – it’s critically endangered. The number of these birds has really gone down over the years. Back in 1992, there were about 3,200 of them. But fast forward to 2012, and it dropped to just 500 to 600. Now, in 2023, things haven’t improved much – the population is still really low. 

This bird is in such a tough spot that it’s on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This means there are strict rules against trading them internationally and catching them from the wild is a big no-no. We’ve got to step up and make sure these unique birds don’t disappear.

Threats and Conservation Efforts

Citron Crested Cockatoos face some major problems, mainly losing their homes and getting caught in the pet trade. Cutting down trees and turning forests into farmland also puts a lot of pressure on them. 

People are working hard to help these birds out. They’re keeping an eye on how many Citron Crested Cockatoos are around, figuring out how they use their homes, and finding ways to protect their nests.

Locals are getting in on it too, learning about how important it is to keep these birds safe. There are also efforts to stop illegal hunting, like getting folks who used to trap birds to help protect them instead.

Even though some good things are happening, like successful breeding programs in captivity, the situation in the wild isn’t getting much better. There’s news that illegal trapping has been getting worse since 2017.

While there’s hope with breeding programs, the wild Citron Crested Cockatoo gang is still in danger. We need to keep up the work to make sure their numbers don’t drop even more.

Places to Buy Citron Crested Cockatoo and Prices

If you’re thinking about bringing a Citron Crested Cockatoo into your life, there are several places where you can get one, like online pet stores and breeders. 

But, because these birds are endangered, it’s super important to make sure that any bird you’re getting is born in captivity and comes with a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) certificate. Here are a few places where you can find these feathered friends:

  • Feathered Grey Parrot Home: They’ve got a good bunch of healthy male and female Citron Crested Cockatoos for sale.
  • Macaw Parrots Shop: If you’re into hand-reared Citron Crested Cockatoos, they’ve got some looking for a new home.
  • Omar’s Exotic Birds: This place offers Citron Crested Cockatoos and gives you all the info you need about taking care of them and understanding their personality.
  • Parrot Stars: They’ve got Citron Cockatoos, which are not that common in the pet world.

Now, talking about the money side of things, getting a Citron Crested Cockatoo can cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000, and at Parrot Stars, it might go up to $4,000. Just remember, these prices don’t cover other important stuff like cages, food, and toys. And here’s the real deal – having a Citron Crested Cockatoo is no small commitment. These birds need a lot of your time and resources. 

They’ve got these big personalities that require tons of attention and love. Before you go ahead and get one, do your homework. Make sure you know what these birds need and that you can give them the care they deserve. It’s also a good idea to get your bird from a trusted breeder or store to make sure they’re healthy and legal. It’s a big step, so be prepared!


Do Citron Crested Cockatoos have the gift of gab?

Absolutely, Citron Crested Cockatoos can talk, but they’re not the chatterbox champs of the parrot family. When it comes to mimicking sounds, they’re not as skilled as some other parrots. Typically, their spoken vocabulary doesn’t go beyond about 15 words and phrases.

Are Citron Crested Cockatoos a rare sight?

You bet! These birds are some of the rarest cockatoos worldwide. They call the island of Sumba in Indonesia home, and unfortunately, their numbers have taken a hit because of the pet trade.

How many Citron Crested Cockatoos are out there?

The Citron Crested Cockatoo crew has faced a tough time with their numbers dropping. Back in 1992, there were around 3,200 of them. But as the years rolled on, by 2012, it dwindled to a mere 500 to 600. According to, the current gang of Citron Crested Cockatoos sits somewhere between 800 and 1,320 mature individuals.


The Citron Crested Cockatoo, hailing from the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia, is a captivating bird celebrated for its unique orange crest and friendly nature. Even though they lean towards the quieter side, these birds make deep connections with their human pals, earning them a spot as a beloved pet. However, keeping them happy involves a good deal of attention, a balanced diet, and proper housing.

Sadly, these charming birds are facing a critical situation – they’re endangered. Habitat loss and illegal trapping have hit them hard. While conservation efforts are in play, their population is still hanging by a thread. For potential owners, it’s crucial to pick a bird that’s born in captivity and comes with a CITES certificate. It’s not just about getting a pet; it’s a commitment to helping these fantastic creatures survive.









  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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