Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

4th July 2010

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are attractive and entertaining & famous for their devotion, they are also very intelligent and easily taught tricks. They are frequently the stars of trained bird acts. The most famous of the Sulphurs was the Triton Cockatoo "Fred" who starred in the 1970’s TV show Berretta. All Sulphurs have crests, which turn up at the end when at rest, and display beautiful yellow or orange feathers when it is raised. Talking ability ranges from poor to excellent, depending upon the individual. But talking or not, like all Cockatoos, Sulphurs are nevertheless endearing.


The largest Cockatoo described here, Galarita, is found only in Australia, which imposed strict export laws in the early 1970’s.


Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are divided into two broad classifications; Greater and Lesser. Of the four subspecies of Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoos; Galarita, Triton and Eleonora can be found as pets in the United States. We divide Lesser Sulphurs into Citron Crested and Lesser Sulphur Crested, although these classifications may be too narrow to describe all of the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.


GALARITA - The Largest Sulphur


The Galarita is seen the least in captivity. It is the largest of the Sulphurs standing as tall as the 20" Moluccan when reaching full size at 3 years of age. It is a rather slender bird, mainly white with a large, lemon yellow crest. The bare eye ring is white in color. There is a slight yellow tinge to the feathers over the ear and there is bright yellow on the underside of the wings and tail. Beak and feet are grayish-black.


Galaritas are respected by many as the most gentle of all Cockatoos. They can learn to speak several words but are not regarded as great talkers.

CITRON CRESTED - The Most Striking


Citrons are the most easily recognized Sulphur. Their crest is a bright yellow-orange. Ear patches are shaded with orange and some individuals even have a light yellow-orange wash across the chest. Adult males are often as large as the Eleonora, although the Citron is actually a subspecies of the Lesser Sulphur.


Citrons are good talkers. They are also very outgoing.

TRITON - The Most Famous Sulphur


Although slightly smaller than the Galarita, the Triton is a stunning looking bird. Overall color is similar, but the Triton’s head is larger and its’ eye ring is an intense blue. They like to vocalize, they are striking in appearance, and always attract attention. They are also very smart and demanding.

ELEONORA - The Most Popular


Most stories you've heard about Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are about Eleonoras. Imported in large numbers in the 1970’s and ‘80’s in response to demand created by the television show Beretta, most lived up to this case of "mistaken species identification".

Also mistakenly referred to as "Medium Sulphur Crested," this is actually the smallest of the "Greater Sulphur Cresteds," at 15 inches. The body is white with a bright yellow crest and very light blue eye ring. The undersides of the wing and tail feathers are yellow.

LESSER SULPHUR - The Forgotten Cockatoo


Thousands of Lessers were imported in the 1980’s.  Lessers range in size form 12 to 15 inches, with males generally being the larger bird, although size variations may represent different subspecies. Lessers are white with ear cover feathers marked by yellow patches and bright yellow on the underside of the wing and tail feathers. Some have a light yellow wash over the face and head. All have sunny yellow crests, except for the subspecies Citron which sports an orange crest.


Lessers combine striking good looks with a wonderful, sweet nature.


UMBRELLA - The Cuddliest Cockatoo


At first glance, the Umbrella appears to be a solid white bird, lending its alternate name "White Cockatoo." The 18" Umbrella also has yellow feathers under its wings and tail, and a bare ring around the eye which may be white or slightly bluish in color. They have a large white crest which usually lays flat "recumbent" against the head. When the crest is raised it resembles an opened, inverted umbrella.


MOLUCCAN - The Regal Pink Giant


This impressive 20" bird comes from the Molucca Islands where inhabitants are called (Mo-loo’-cans). The Moluccan is large with a light pink upper body color and yellow under the wings and tail. The huge recumbent crest lies flat and unseen on top of the head until raised. When raised, spectacular bright salmon pink feathers are displayed, thus the alternate name; "Salmon Crested Cockatoo."


Moluccans have sweet and loving temperaments, similar to Umbrellas.

GOFFIN’S - The Smallest Cockatoo


The Goffin's is the smallest of the Cockatoos at just 12" to 13" from head to tail. The primary body color is white with bright pink markings on the face and a faint pink cast overall. There is yellow under the wings and tail. They have a small crest which is barely discernable when at rest.


They are very playful and active, and although not as dependant as the Umbrella. Goffin’s are one of the best talkers of the group.

DUCORP’S (due’ kores) - The New Cockatoo


Ducorp’s resemble a white Goffin’s, with some pink coloration at the base of the neck feathers. Overall size is between that of a Goffin’s and an Umbrella. They have a dark blue eye ring and some yellow under the wings and tail.


The Ducorp’s is playful and likes to be the center of attention. They have a clear speaking voice & small vocabulary.



To the Austrialians they are common Galahs (oalso known as Rosies). They are considered a pest in their native homeland, where they seem as common as our house sparrow, many wild Rosies spend their day trying to outsmart farmers who must in turn spend part of their day working to outsmart Rosies. No grain bag or grain storage container remains "Rose Breasted proof" for long. The small beautiful Rose Breasted is just slightly larger the Goffin’s. The top of the head, neck, wings, back and tail are light ash gray. The chest, abdomen, and underparts are all a beautiful rose pink.


BARE EYED - The Little Old Man


When you meet a Bare Eyed for the first time, you will believe that it is a Goffin’s that has something wrong with its eyes. This bird’s distinctive feature is a large irregular bare blue patch around and below the eyes. At maturity the bare patches swell, giving the bird a comical, cartoonish appearance. These eye rings may remind you of a person with puffy eyes.


The Bare Eyed is perhaps the most extroverted of all Cockatoos. If Bare Eyed’s were human, they’d all be clowns. They love people and love to show off. If there is an audience, the Bare Eyed will play to it. Bare Eyeds are good talkers with clear voices and playful dispositions.