Moluccan Cockatoo


Moluccan cockatoos are sociable and playful. They demand plenty of interaction and cuddle time. Owners often do not understand how demanding the Moluccan cockatoo can be, making it one of the top cockatoos to be re-homed. They are also intelligent and known for solving puzzles and other games. They are described as being a little spastic, but with a friendly reputation. To keep these pet birds happy, they need at least one hour of playtime a day. They also need exercise with their owner and several more hours of supervised out of the cage time.

Behavior / Health Concerns

Without enough mental and physical stimulation, Moluccan cockatoos can resort to destructive behavior such as feather picking. They can be prone to psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), fatty liver disease, obesity and bumblefoot. While these pet birds need attention and time with humans, they must also learn how to be independent and not become accustomed to an excessive amount of human attention. Moluccan Cockatoos can become territorial once they have matured and they are often destructive chewers. Moluccan cockatoos are known to be dusty birds, which is a concern for those with allergies.

Expert Advice

“Parent-reared Moluccan cockatoos, or those who were wild-caught before this became illegal in the United States make superior companions. Hand-reared birds frequently have problems with feather destructive behavior, screaming and biting. Perhaps the most common problem encountered is the tendency of the young bird to overly bond with the owner. This is encouraged by the owner who believes, because of the parrot’s obvious enjoyment of physical affection, that the young bird needs a lot of cuddling. In my experience, it is this excessive time spent cuddling that leads to the development of an overly-strong bond with the owner. Once the young Moluccan becomes sexually mature, this bond often begins to incorporate a sense of territoriality about the favored human. This, in turn, often evolves into shows of extreme aggression toward the less favored human in the house. This can be easily avoided, however, by making sure that the owner takes the lead in teaching the young parrot all the living skills it needs to live happily in captivity: how to eat a varied diet, bathe until drenched, play with toys and destroyables, enter a carrier and ride in the car, spend time outdoors in a safe enclosure, step easily onto a human hand from a variety of places in the home, go to different people for handling and to learn a trick or two. A young parrot that is being challenged to learn new things in this manner will grow into a confident, enjoyable companion.”

Pamela Clark, IAABC Certified Parrot Behavior Consultant

Breed Details

Scientific Name:
Native Region:
Large, up to 20 inches
Life Expectancy:
65 years
Noise Level:
Talk / Trick Ability: