Skip to main content

Moluccan cockatoo

Cacatua moluccensis

Description: Also known as the Salmon-crested cockatoo, the majority of the body is covered in whitish-salmon colored feathers. The crest and under-feathers are a bright salmon-pink, and orange, yellow and pink can be seen at the base of the tail feathers. The bill and legs are black. Males and females are similar in appearance, although females have a dark reddish-brown eye and may be slightly less pink in color.

Size: The largest of the white cockatoos, the Moluccan cockatoo can measure up to 20.8 inches (52 cm) in length, and can weigh up to 35 ounces (1000 g). Females are usually larger than males.

Behavior: In the wild, Moluccan cockatoos are shy and cautious birds. They are generally seen either alone or in very small groups, and are most visible early and late in the day. When excited, these cockatoos will raise their crest, stamp their feet and clack their bills.

Diet: Diet consists of seeds, nuts, fruits, berries and occasionally insects.

Communication: Moluccan cockatoos have loud, piercing calls that carry long distances. They tend to vocalize twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Reproduction: The normal clutch size is two eggs, although one egg, and very rarely three eggs may be laid. The eggs are completely white and are incubated for around 28 days. Eggs are laid at approximately 48-hour intervals and hatch at the same interval. The young are cared for by both the male and female.

Habitat/range: Moluccan cockatoos prefer lowland forests, up to 3,300 feet (1000 m), with the highest population density in primary forests. They are endemic to the Maluku island group in Indonesia.

Status: Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN Red List; CITES, Appendix I.