Cockatoo Lifespan: How Long Do Cockatoos Live?

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Cockatoos are one of the most popular pet birds, and for good reason. Their colorful, vibrant personalities easily distinguish them from many different parrots. These birds are easily distinguished due to the scalloped feathers on their heads, but they have many other features that make them interesting. So if you've always been interested in charming pets, cockatoos might be one of them. But how long do cockatoos live?

Want to learn more about this charming parrot? We've learned about the lifespan of cockatoos and tips on how to extend their life as pets.

Average Cockatoo Lifespan

How long does a cockatoo live-do-cockatoo-live-1
In the wild, cockatoos can live up to 40 years, while domesticated cockatoos can live up to 70 years.

© Sanit Fuangnakhon/

The average lifespan of a wild cockatoo is 20 to 40 years. However, cockatoos are known to live much longer in captivity. Their average lifespan in captivity is between 50 and 70 years. However, some cockatoos have lived to be nearly 100 years old.

Let's take a look at the lifespans of some memorable cockatoo species:

  • Moluccas Cockatoos: Moluccas cockatoos can live up to 70 years in captivity. However, according to a 2012 study called "Ark Survival," a Molucca cockatoo lived 92 years.
  • Sulfur Cockatoo: The Sulfur Cockatoo can live 20 to 40 years in the wild. They may live for more than 40 years in captivity. The oldest sulfur cockatoo in the "Surviving the Ark" study was 73 years old.
  • Goffin's Cockatoo: Their shortest recorded lifespan is about 25 years, while their longest lifespan is about 65 years.
  • Cockatiels: They can live 10 to 15 years in the wild. If domesticated and cared for, their lifespan is about 20 to 25 years.
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Apparently, cockatoos that are cared for have a much longer life expectancy. This is thanks to the care they receive and the absence of fear of conflict with predators.

Average Cockatoo Life Cycle

Now that we have a better understanding of the lifespan of cockatoos, let's dig into the average cockatoo life cycle.


Cockatoos are monogamous breeders with long-lasting pair bonds. Cockatoos mate once a year, between December and March. To attract females, male cockatoos put on impressive displays. He spreads his wings, extends his tail, ruffs his feathers and erects his crest as he swings, bounces and dances in front of the female. When the female accepts the approach of the male, the two groom each other.


After breeding, the pair of cockatoos leave their flock in search of a suitable nesting site. They build their nests in huge tree hollows 16 to 100 feet above the ground. During the incubation period, the female lays two to three eggs, and the parents take turns sitting on them, spinning them, and keeping them moist. Eggs hatch in about 30 days.


Cockatoos are dimorphic, which means that males and females are almost identical.


Baby cockatoos are called chicks. When cockatoo chicks hatch from their eggs, they are born naked, without any feathers, and blind. They will not be able to open their eyes for several weeks. Both mom and dad will take care of the chicks, making sure they are fed and kept warm. Depending on the species, chicks take 60 to 100 days to fully fled. This is also the stage when chicks develop an interest in the world and start exploring their surroundings fearlessly.

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leave the nest

When cockatoo chicks are about 4 months old, they learn to fly. Their parents will continue to feed and supervise them as they grow physically and learn to forage. Young cockatoos are weaned and self-sufficient about a month after hatching. Young cockatoos often remain with the flock in which they were born. Cockatoos reach sexual maturity between 3 and 4 years old.


Adult cockatoos can vary in height from 12 inches to 26 inches, depending on the species. They have a crown on top of their heads, which can be white, yellow, pink or dark gray in color. In deep woodlands, they will make loud noises in groups. Cockatoos eat like humans, using one foot to bring food to their beaks. Their swift tree-climbing skills allow them to access fruits and nuts high in the trees.

Factors Affecting Cockatoo Lifespan

With a healthy environment and diet, cockatoos can live their longest lives.

© Martin Pelanek/

Many variables can affect the lifespan of a cockatoo. Here are some factors that affect the lifespan of a cockatoo. First and foremost, cockatoos need a healthy environment. Cockatoos are free to fly in their native habitat and eat plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, and anything else they would otherwise eat. They may even travel long distances in search of excitement. This keeps them healthy and happy compared to their life in captivity.

Their diet is also very important to their longevity. As mentioned earlier, cockatoos need plenty of plants and fresh fruit to live their best lives.

How to Extend the Life of Your Pet Parrot

A cockatoo can choose to live to its full life cycle or die prematurely. A cockatoo can live longer if it is in good health and eats a nutritious diet. Here are some tips on how to prolong the life of your cockatoo:

  • Diet: Maintaining a suitable and balanced diet for your cockatoo can play a vital role in ensuring it lives its most fulfilling life. Although many people think that cockatoos can only live on seeds and nuts, this is actually misleading. A diet consisting only of seeds can be dangerous for your cockatoo, as it may develop obesity. Instead, their diet should include a mix of high-quality seeds, a variety of nuts, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Stimulation: Cockatoos need a lot of attention. When they are not sufficiently stimulated and given attention by their owners, they tend to engage in self-destructive activities such as hair-plucking. Therefore, you should always provide your cockatoos with items to keep them happy.
  • Maintain good air quality: Since the lungs of most cockatoos are fragile, their health can suffer greatly when they live in crowded environments. Therefore, if you decide to keep cockatoos in your home, you should avoid using perfumes, sprays or anything else with a scent around them.
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about the author


Volia Nikaci is a freelance writer and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding and marketing. She has a background in broadcast journalism and political science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When not writing, she enjoys traveling, visiting used bookstores, and hanging out with her significant other.

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