Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (also known as the Yellow-crested Cockatoo) can be found in Timor-Leste and Indonesia’s islands of Bali, Timor, Sulawesi and Lesser Sunda Islands.

The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is critically endangered, especially due to illegal trapping for the pet trade. There are less than 10,000 left in the wild.

Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Order Psittaciformes
Family Cacatuidae
Subfamily Cacatuinae
Genus Cacatua
Species C. sulphurea
Noise level Loud
Skill level Expert
Size Average
Price Expensive
Maintenance High
Talking Good


The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo contains six subspecies:

  • Sulphurea (Lesser Sulpher Crested Cockatoo)
  • Citrinocristata (Citron Crested Cockatoo)
  • Parvula (Timor Cockatoo)
  • Abbotti
  • Djampeana
  • Occidentalis

The Lesser Sulphur is often confused with the larger Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. The Lesser is smaller at 35cm (14in) long. They also have a heavier, wider and less protruding beak. Their crest is in most cases narrower and the bare skin around their eyes is whiter.1

They are all white with a yellow coloured crest (or orange in the Citron’s case). There is also yellow on their cheeks and underneath their wings and tail. Mature females have a reddish or brown iris while males have a dark brown to black iris.
Immature birds have a dark iris (regardless of gender) and lighter coloured feet compared to an adult.

In the wild

The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo prefers to inhabit open woodlands, the edge of forests, and cultivated wheat fields. They usually live in pairs and small flocks, however they will sometimes gather in very large flocks to feed.

Their diet in the wild consists of seeds, berries, fruits, nuts and some blossoms.

The female uses a tree hole to lay her eggs.

As companion pets

Lesser Sulphurs are adorable, entertaining companion pets that require a lot of care. They thrive on attention and love to entertain and dance.

These parrots are highly trainable and respond very well to trick training. In typical cockatoo fashion, they are affectionate and cuddly birds.

The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo requires a lot of mental stimulation through plenty of toys and items to chew on. They are prone to boredom which may lead to feather plucking.

As aviary birds

Cockatoos require an escape-proof aviary containing plenty of things to chew on.

It is best to keep them with parrots of the same species or at least the same size and similar temperament. All birds in the aviary should have their own space.

Diet and health

A good Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo diet consists of seed, vegetables, fruits, and commercial parrot pellets.

Cockatoos are quite prone to psittacine beak and feather syndrome. This condition is often mistaken to be a nutritional deficiency because the first signs are often in the form of overgrown beak and nails and a loss of powder down. Feather abnormalties in cockatoos should be seen by an avian vet before assuming it is a nutritional problem.


The female lays two to three white eggs which are incubated for approximately 24-28 days. Both parents share the incubation. The chicks fledge from the nest about 8-10 weeks after hatching.

Males can become very aggressive during breeding. It is possible that the males may attack the young, so they should be removed at the proper time. Male Sulphurs are even known to kill females if they are kept in a smaller aviary. Having a very large aviary helps prevent this problem.2


There is a lutino mutation of the Citron Crested Cockatoo.3


See also

Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

External Links


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