Have you ever wanted to be a cockatoo owner? These parrots are adored not just for their curved bills and prominent crest but also for their smart and sweet personality.
But before you drive to the nearest pet store, you need to know all about the cockatoo cost.
As early as now, you need to keep in mind that the prices for cockatoos vary depending on their species. That means you should first decide what type of cockatoo will fit your preference and lifestyle.
Of course, it’s not enough to know how much a cockatoo costs. In this article, you will also find out about initial, ongoing, and potential expenses that you need to financially prepare for.
The Average Cost of a Cockatoo: How Much Are Each Species of Cockatoo?
In the United States, baby cockatoos range from $1,000 to $6,500 on average. However, some rare species are expected to fall anywhere between $15,000 and $40,000. Other factors such as age, rarity, training, color, and breeder reputation affect the final price of these birds.
Now, I’m going to discuss each species of cockatoo and give their respective price range. This will help you choose your next parrot companion while considering your allocated budget.
Umbrella Cockatoo ($1,000 – $3,000)
Umbrella cockatoos, also known as white cockatoos, are one of the most common cockatoo species.
They are native to the tropical forests of Indonesia. They are easily distinguishable through their pure white crest plumage and light yellow tail and underside of the wings.
The umbrella cockatoo price ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 which makes them one of the most affordable species. You can easily purchase them at your local pet shop.
Palm Cockatoo ($15,000 – $23,000)
A palm cockatoo goes by many names including black palm, goliath, and the great black cockatoo.
These birds are strikingly beautiful with bold and fearless personalities to match. They are known to be the largest of all cockatoo species.
Unlike umbrella cockatoos, palm cockatoos are much more expensive. This is because they are harder to breed and considered endangered. You can expect to pay around $15,000 to $23,000 for a palm cockatoo.
Moluccan Cockatoo ($1,000 – $2,000)
Moluccan cockatoo or the salmon-crested cockatoo is a crowd favorite due to its salmon-pink crest and loving temperament. They want nothing more than to be around their owners all day.
How much does a cockatoo of this species cost? Well, Moluccans are on the cheaper end. Their price tag can range from $1,000 to $2,000. However, this can vary for larger variations.
Goffin’s Cockatoo ($1,000 – $2,000)
The Goffin’s cockatoo is a smaller cockatoo species with a mischievous personality.
They are quick learners so you can easily teach them new tricks. However, this could also mean that they can instantly know how to open their cage by observing how you do it.
Goffin’s cockatoo, also called the Tanimbar Corella and the blushing cockatoo, are priced anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000. You might need to spend extra on a special trainer to make them the best companions.
Galah Cockatoo ($2,000 – $3,000)
Galah cockatoos are also a smaller cockatoo species known for their distinctive pink breast plumage and gray wings. In the native Australian language, the term “galah” actually means “fool” or “clown.”
Despite the meaning behind their name, they are actually very intelligent birds that are quite fond of humans.
In the United States, you can buy a galah cockatoo for $2,000 to $3,000. If you live in Australia, you can get them for a much cheaper price.
Bare-Eyed Cockatoo ($1,000 – $2,000)
Another small species of cockatoo is the bare-eyed cockatoo. Even though they are not as popular as other cockatoos, they are considered one of the easiest to take care of. They are also one of the best talking cockatoos.
Bare-eyed cockatoos, also called Little Corellas, are priced between $1,000 and $2,000, making them one of the most affordable species.
Citron-Crested Cockatoo ($3,000 – $4,000)
The citron-crested cockatoo is the smaller and quieter subspecies of the sulphur-crested cockatoo.
They have a unique orange crest that sets them apart from other species. They are also more withdrawn but still love human interaction.
Citron-crested cockatoos are slightly expensive due to their endangered status. You can buy them for around $3,000 to $4,000. It’s also worth considering that this species is more prone to parrot fever than others.
Cockatiel ($80 – $250)
Cockatiels are miniature versions of the standard cockatoo. Their full adult size is only 14 inches. Due to their small build and comical personality, they became the number one pet bird in America.
Another reason for their popularity is their cheap price. You can own a cockatiel for only $80 to $250. They also come in a range of beautiful colors.
If you want to hear a cockatiel singing, watch the video below:
Gang Gang Cockatoo ($1,400 – $1,800)
If you want a true clown of a parrot, you should get a gang gang cockatoo. Due to their high energy level, they never get tired of entertaining their owners. In terms of appearance, their scarlet head is a contrast to their slate-gray bodies.
A gang gang cockatoo costs around $1,400 to $1,800 so you’ll be spending a lot less for a life’s worth of comical adventures.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo ($5,000 – $6,500)
Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is a single species with multi-colored crests. When expanded, you will see bright pink and yellow-orange feathers with white tips.
In terms of behavior, they tend to bond with only one person, making jealousy a problem for most owners.
Since they are also a rare species, they are expected to be pricier than others. Their price tag ranges from $5,000 to $6,500.
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo ($2,000 – $4,000)
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are large white parrots with pale yellow crests. Cacatua galeritas, as they are also called, can make ear-splitting noises which can be annoying. However, they are known to be one of the smartest species of cockatoo.
A sulphur-crested cockatoo costs around $2,000 to $4,000 which makes them a popular choice for those with a slightly bigger budget.
Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo ($15,000 – $40,000)
The red-tailed black cockatoo is considered close to extinction with only 1,500 birds living in the wild. Regardless, these large and goofy parrots can still be owned as pets. They can live from 50 to 100 years.
If you wish to own a red-tailed, then you should prepare a large sum of money. They can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $40,000.
Slender-Billed Cockatoo ($3,000 – $4,000)
Those who wish to have a more independent parrot companion should get a slender-billed cockatoo, also known as the long-billed Corella.
Even though they don’t have a colorful crest, they still have endearing personalities.
You can buy a long-billed Corella for around $3,000 to $4,000 at your local pet store or professional bird handlers.
Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo ($7,500 – $15,000)
Famous for their yellow cheeks and tail panels, yellow-tailed back cockatoos are known to be vulnerable in the wild.
As pets, they are extremely high-maintenance due to their needy nature. They are also highly prone to stress while in captivity.
Like other rare species, yellow-tailed cockatoos are expensive birds. You will need to spend $7,500 to $15,000 to take one home.
Why Are Cockatoos so Expensive? Factors Affecting the Cockatoo Price
From the previous section, you learned that the price of a cockatoo depends on its species. The rarer the species, the higher the price.
However, this is not the only reason why cockatoos are high-priced. Depending on some factors, you may pay more or less than the average price range.
Below is a comprehensive list of factors that can affect the price of a cockatoo:
- Age: A cockatoo’s age is a strong determinant for its price. A baby cockatoo is generally cheaper than a young adult because the pet owner will need to raise the hatchling on their own. On the other hand, young adults are more expensive because they are stronger and at the right age to be trained as pets.
- Appearance: A cockatoo’s feather markings on any part of its body also determine its purchase price. Any undesirable or unusual blemishes or markings will immediately make them less expensive.
- Size: Cockatoos come in large and small variations. Smaller species are typically cheaper than bigger ones. From the previous section, it can be observed that the cockatiel is the cheapest cockatoo species due to its size.
- Training: Most professional breeders provide training for cockatoos before they are taken home by their owners. This is done to ensure that they can adjust easily to a home setting and won’t be inclined to have behavioral issues. Trained cockatoos are expectedly more expensive than those that aren’t.
- Location: Another reason why cockatoos are expensive is that they are not native to the United States. They cost much less in continents or countries where they originated from, such as Australia.
- Breeder: Professional or experienced cockatoo breeders and handlers charge higher than hobbyists or backyard breeders. They can provide complete health records and contracts upon purchase.
A cockatoo’s price also fluctuates depending on market demand. However, it proves that the demand for cockatoos will remain high due to their sweet and loving behavior.
How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Cockatoo From a Shelter?
For those who can’t cash out thousands of dollars for a pet cockatoo, you can always adopt one from a bird rescue center. The adoption fee for these parrots ranges from $50 to $400.
Despite their lovely appearance and temperament, many pet owners choose to give cockatoos up for adoption. This may be due to behavioral changes that oftentimes result in aggressive and destructive behavior.
In other cases, the bird owners can’t financially support the cockatoo’s growing needs, especially when they become susceptible to health issues.
Initial Cost of Cockatoo Ownership
Ideally, cockatoos can be taken in as a pet when they are old enough to be separated from their parents.
This means that they can eat on their own and move around without their parent’s assistance. This usually happens between 8 and 12 weeks old.
At this age when they are ready to go home, you will need to buy a few cockatoo supplies to make their transition comfortable. These initial expenses should be added to your overall cockatoo budget.
Here is a list of initial items needed by your cockatoo after purchasing:
- High-Quality Food: Depending on the cockatoo species, their diet will comprise mainly of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, greens, and vegetables. Bird pellets are a common option for owners since they can meet most of the cockatoo’s nutritional needs. You are expected to spend $30 to $50 for their food.
- Treats and Supplements: Treats such as dried fruits and peanuts are ideal for your cockatoo. Depending on your vet’s advice, you might need to add supplements to their diet such as calcium. Treats and supplements can cost you anywhere from around $20 to $60.
- Cockatoo Cage: Your cockatoo will spend most of its time in a cage. A spacious one is most suited since you will need to put up some bird perches and place a food bowl and water dispenser. Good quality bird cages can cost around $100 to $300.
- Cage Cover: During the night, you will need to put a cover over your cockatoo cage to keep their sleeping space dark. They rest better without any light source disturbing their slumber. An effective cage cover can be bought for about $20 to $30.
- Perches: To maintain the grip strength of your cockatoo’s legs and foot, you need to purchase bird perches of different diameters. Not only are they used for movement, but they also serve as chew items for your pet. Perches are priced anywhere between $40 and $60.
- Food and Water Dishes: For a cockatoo to eat and drink sufficiently, they need a food and water dish. Remember to purchase them according to your pet’s size. Both can be purchased for around $15 to $25.
- Play Stand: If you want to upgrade your perch, buy a play stand for your cockatoo. This has all the things they need to keep stimulated and physically active, like ladders and swings. For $30 to $80, your cockatoo can enjoy a new play stand.
- Toys: Your home welcome won’t be complete without new toys. Bells, puzzles, balls, and rings can keep your cockatoo entertained for days on end. Complete this set of toys for around $40 to $60.
- Grooming Supplies: If you want to groom your cockatoo on your own, you need to buy some grooming essentials. These include nail trimmers, scissors, and tweezers. Purchase these items at your local pet store for $15 to $20.
Here is a tabulated breakdown of the initial expenses of a cockatoo:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|High-Quality Food||$40 – $80|
|Treats and Supplements||$20 – $60|
|Cage||$100 – $300|
|Cage Cover||$20 – $30|
|Perches||$40 – $60|
|Food and Water Dishes||$15 – $25|
|Play Stand||$30 – $80|
|Toys||$40 – $60|
|Grooming Supplies||$15 – $20|
|Total Initial Cost||$310 – $675|
Compared to other domesticated birds, the initial cost of owning a cockatoo is above average. However, this estimation can drastically change depending on where you buy your items or if you choose to DIY.
Ongoing Cost of Owning a Cockatoo
An experienced bird owner will know that the ongoing costs of owning a cockatoo can really hurt your bank account. The cost of food, medical expenses, and other supplies eventually add up during the first year.
Below is a list of the ongoing expenses that your cockatoo will need as they grow up:
- Vet Check-ups: A vet consultation once a year or every six months is ideal for detecting any hidden illness that your cockatoo may have. As your pet gets older, the visits need to be more frequent. These check-ups can cost around $100 to $250 a year.
- Vaccinations: Essentially, your young cockatoo may need only one vaccine which is for the polyomavirus. Afterward, they will only need yearly boosters. You will spend $30 to $60 per year on these vaccinations.
- Parasite Treatment: Your cockatoo is also prone to different parasites like giardia that can cause a contagious infection. It’s important to have preventive treatment for these parasites to avoid passing on these infections to humans. You may need to spend $20 to $100 for treatment.
- Insurance: Getting insurance for your cockatoo is recommended because emergency treatments can be very expensive. Make sure that it covers the cost of illnesses, theft, injuries, and death. Depending on the insurance plan you choose, you may need to pay $50 to $360 a year.
The table below shows a simplified breakdown of the ongoing expenses of a cockatoo:
|Type of Expense||Yearly Estimate|
|High-Quality Food||$480 – $960|
|Treats and Supplements||$240 – $720|
|Vet Check-ups||$100 – $250|
|Vaccinations||$20 – $60|
|Parasite Treatment||$20 – $100|
|Insurance||$50 – $360|
|Other Supplies||$100 – $200|
|Total Yearly Cost||$1,010 – $2,650|
|Average Monthly Cost of Owning a Cockatoo||$84 – $221|
The ongoing expenses of a cockatoo include the monthly and yearly costs of expenses.
From the table above, you can see that it’s not as high as you think. Cockatoos are low maintenance in terms of health so you won’t need to spend so much on vet bills.
Other Potential Expenses
Throughout your cockatoo’s life, other expenses may arise. These miscellaneous costs may include emergency trips to the vet, pet boarding when you’re away, and other services and items you may suddenly need.
Some of the potential expenses you need to prepare for are the following:
- Health Emergencies: Accidents may happen anytime, especially when you are taking care of multiple cockatoos. Injuries and the spreading of illnesses can happen unexpectedly. To be on the safe side, keep around $300 to $2,000 for health emergencies.
- Vacation Boarding: If you travel a lot, you may opt to leave your cockatoo at a boarding facility. These places provide care and accommodation for your pet while you are on vacation or a business trip. This can cost you around $15 to $30 per night.
- Bird Sitter: If you want a cheaper alternative, you can hire a bird sitter to watch over and feed your cockatoo. You can hire one for as low as $10 to $20 a day. Make sure to hire from trusted pet sitting agencies.
- Professional Grooming: If you are too busy to groom your cockatoo at home, you can go to a professional bird groomer. They often charge $35 to $50 for the grooming fee. The service typically involves trimming the nails, wings, and beak.
- Cleaning Supplies: Keeping your cockatoo’s cage clean is important to prevent the spreading of germs and bacteria. Make sure to always have enough supply of cleaning products, paper towels, or newspapers to keep the cage sanitized. You may need to allocate $30 to $50 for these products.
Most of these expenses are optional. Spending money on these services will depend on your current lifestyle, household situation, and daily routine.
However, it’s still necessary to put away an emergency fund for your cockatoo.
Common Health Issues of Cockatoos and Their Cost of Treatment
To reach its maximum lifespan, your cockatoo should always be in the best health condition.
As the owner, you need to be aware of the common health issues associated with their species. This also means that you need to keep in mind the cost of treatment for each condition.
Below is a list of health problems that cockatoos are prone to and their treatment costs:
- Lipoma: This is a kind of fat tumor that develops from the collection of fatty tissues. Some lipomas grow so large that they can inhibit your cockatoo’s movement. In these cases, they need to be surgically removed. This can cost anywhere between $200 and $500 per mass.
- Sarcocystis: This is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite found in the fecal matter of opossums. In case your cockatoo gets infected with sarcocystis, they will be prescribed to take drugs and sometimes be given supportive care. You may need to spend $11 to $35 for treatment.
- Giardiasis: This is another infection caused by a protozoan parasite called giardia. This is transmissible through the ingestion of contaminated water or consuming fecal matter. Treatment drugs can cost around $10 to $20.
- Parrot Fever: Parrot fever or Psittacosis is a rare infection caused by a specific bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci. It can easily be transmitted through coming in contact with bacteria-exposed food and water bowls, airborne particles, feathers, and feces. Antibiotic medication is often prescribed, costing anywhere from $16 to $40.
Ensuring a clean and healthy environment for your cockatoo is the first step in avoiding expensive vet bills and treatment costs. Also, make sure to feed them proper food to maintain their weight.
Places to Find Cockatoos for Sale or Adoption
Cockatoos are widely available in the United States. Many online stores and rescue organizations offer cockatoos for sale and adoption.
However, it pays to be safe from online scams and illegal pet trade that are quite common nowadays.
To make sure that you get a healthy cockatoo, check out these trusted cockatoo sellers:
- Golden Cockatoo – This is a bird shop located in Florida that can provide you with a cockatoo companion and other bird supplies. It is run by avian specialists who are educated in handling all cockatoo species. They also offer boarding and grooming services.
- Birds by Joe – As a small bird business, the owners of Birds by Joe strive to provide quality care and training to all of their cockatoo birds. They let them socialize and play while also giving them the attention and love they need to develop good temperaments.
- Bird Jungle – Bird Jungle offers top-quality cockatoos for bird lovers in the New York area since 1982. They have an unweaned bird policy which means that customers need to hand-feed a baby cockatoo until they are strong enough to eat on their own.
- Parrot Stars – This is another bird shop that breeds, hand raises and socializes a variety of avian species, including cockatoos. They also contribute to the preservation of bird habitat by donating a portion of every customer’s purchase to conservation groups.
As an alternative option, you can check out these rescue websites and adopt a cockatoo:
- Birds and Beaks Rescue and Rehab – Aside from providing suitable homes for unwanted parrot species like cockatoos, this rescue aims to educate people about parrot behavior. In this way, surrendering or abandoning parrots can be reduced significantly. All of the available birds for adoption can be found on their Petfinder page.
- Florida Parrot Rescue, Inc. – This is another non-profit avian rescue focused on rescuing, rehabilitating, and placing companion parrots in permanent homes. All of their rescued birds are kept in foster homes before adoption. Once you adopt a cockatoo, you are also eligible for lifetime discounts on their pet shop.
- Mickaboo – Located in North Carolina, this foster-based rescue provides necessary medical and supportive care before putting them up for adoption. They require interested adopters to attend their free bird care class before proceeding to the adoption process.
Before buying or while waiting for a rescue’s approval, educate yourself all about a cockatoo’s behavior and special needs.
Money-Saving Tips for Cockatoo Owners
Looking at the price range for different cockatoo species can be disheartening.
However, there are simple, budget-friendly tips that you can follow in order to save money:
- Ask for affordable recommendations. If you want cheaper alternatives for bird food, grooming essentials, bird supplies, and even vet clinics, ask for recommendations from experienced cockatoo owners. Social media groups and forums are also good sources of information.
- Buy supplies in bulk. Buying food and other products in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run. They are usually cheaper and frequently offered at a discount. You can also save a lot of gas money since you will need fewer trips to the pet shop.
- Get pet insurance. Getting pet insurance for your cockatoo is a must since treatment for illnesses can cost thousands of dollars. It’s one of the best investments you can make for your pet.
- Make DIY play stands and toys. Instead of buying a pricey bird stand for your cockatoo, make a customized one by watching DIY tutorial videos. You can also enjoy making homemade toys such as chewables and swings from materials that can easily be found at home.
- Groom your cockatoo at home. Paying for professional bird grooming services can hurt your budget, especially if done frequently. Learn how to groom your cockatoo at home to cut down on your pet’s expenses. Video tutorials and articles are available online to get you started.
You may not notice it at first, but as time goes by, you will observe how much you were able to save by following these practical tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cockatoo Good Pets?
Cockatoos make wonderful pets when hand-raised and socialized early. They are known to be active, affectionate, and fast learners.
It’s important to give them adequate attention so they won’t develop behavioral issues in the future.
Which Cockatoo Is Cheapest?
The cheapest cockatoo species is the cockatiel. These are small members of the parrot family which are known for their mellow but funny personalities. They are the most affordable species due to their size.
How Long Do Cockatoos Live?
On average, cockatoos can live for 50 to 70 years. However, their lifespan may vary depending on their species and also their upbringing. A healthy lifestyle can ensure a long life for your pet cockatoo.
Final Thoughts: Are Cockatoos Worth Their Price?
Cockatoos are renowned for their intelligence and warm-hearted temperament. Even though they come at a high price, they can be one of the best companions you can have.
When you raise them properly and provide enough mental stimulation, they can grow up to be well-tempered birds.
A lot goes into raising a cockatoo so their average price is only reasonable. However, they may not be for everyone, especially those who live in small apartments. Loud noise can be a problem for neighbors and even the owner.
Before deciding to own a cockatoo, make sure that you are prepared not only on the financial aspect but also the full responsibility of being an owner.