How Much Does a Cockatoo Cost?

Cockatoos are the most loving, loyal, smart, and social animals you’ll ever find, making them such amazing pets. 

They need a lot of attention…and we mean a LOT because once they feel ignored, bored, or stressed, they become unhappy and have the tendency to hurt themselves.

However, if properly cared for and with the right environment, cockatoos can live from 50 to 80 years. Cookie, for example, is a male cockatoo who surpassed this and lived until he was 83. 

He was even recognized by the Guinness World of Records as the oldest living parrot in the world.

Cockatoo pet

Breaking Down the Cost of Cockatoo

The cost of a cockatoo depends on a number of factors and each of them will be discussed in this article. Here, you will find the different common cockatoo species along with their respective prices. But other than the cost of purchasing one, there are other expenses that come with owning a cockatoo. This entails maintenance costs such as toys, food and visits to the vet.

The one-time purchases like shipping costs, DNA tests, and proper shelter are also included in this article. In addition, we’ve added a few tips that can help you before buying these precious birds.

Upfront Cost of Owning a Cockatoo

If you’re planning to buy a cockatoo as a pet, there are a few factors that affect cockatoo price. Once you get to know these factors, you can easily determine whether or not you have the budget of owning one and more importantly, avoid paying more than you should.

To give you an idea, the average cockatoo bird price in the United States is around $500 to $16,000.

Along with the cost of the bird, there are also other expenses you should know about, such as:

  • Shipping Costs – If you’re not in the same city with the bird’s seller, you may be required to pay for shipping the bird to your home.
  • DNA Test – You’ll often see birds being sold without their gender being stated. This is because it takes a DNA test to determine their sex. If you want to know a cockatoo’s gender, you may be asked to add around $40.
  • Cage or Aviary – Unless you plan to let your cockatoo fly free around your home, you may want to buy a cage or an aviary. For some sellers, like previous owners, they include the cage with their offer. Bird cages usually cost around $340 to $3,500.
cute parrot Cockatoo

What Else to Spend On

  • Toys – Cockatoos always need toys to chew on, to swing on, and colorful toys they can engage with. These costs somewhere between $3 and $45.
  • Food – A cockatoo’s main diet consists of dry food and fresh food. Their fresh foods are generally made up of vegetables and fruits which you can buy at your local market. Their dry food can be seeds or pellets and these costs somewhere from $7 to $33 for an 8-lb pack which is good for two weeks, given that you feed your pet at least one cup a day.
  • Veterinarian Appointments – Cockatoos need regular checkups from a professional to keep them healthy and prevent diseases. The average cost for a vet visit is $55. This includes a full physical examination and a thorough review of your pet’s housing conditions, diet, and care recommendations.

If a problem arises during a visit, the doctor may require diagnostic tests to further assess your bird’s health. This calls for additional costs as well.

What Affects the Cost of Cockatoo?

Obviously, the Cockatoos have a very wide price range. So, to cut it down for you, let’s discuss the factors affecting a cockatoo’s price.

The cost of cockatoos is determined by the following factors:

  • Species of the cockatoo – There are 21 kinds of cockatoos in the world but not all of them are easily available for purchase as some of them are critically listed as endangered.
  • Age of the bird – the cockatoo’s age is a big element for its cost. Usually, a very young baby is cheaper than a young adult as baby cockatoos need a lot of work as it grows. When you purchase it as a baby, you’re putting the work on yourself, saving the seller valuable time. Also, since babies are more vulnerable, you’re also taking the responsibilities and risks.

As the cockatoo ages, its price also tends to go lower. For example, a baby triton cockatoo bird for sale on birdbreeders.com is offered at $2,550 while a young adult of the same species costs $1,295. On the other hand, a 30-year-old triton cockatoo for sale at a different online shop is only $750.

  • Type of seller – If the seller is a pet owner or a bird enthusiast without the focus on commercial gains, the price is likely lower compared to a seller whose business is primarily on selling birds. Of course, this is because professional cockatoo sellers or breeders need to make a profit.

To show you how this factor affects the price, a private individual who’s only looking for a new home for his bird sells his young umbrella cockatoo for $1,500 while The Finch Farm, a company specializing in birds, sells the same young cockatoo species at $4,165.

  • Existing problems regarding health or behavior – If you happen to find a very low-cost cockatoo, you should think twice. Sometimes, low prices can indicate some problems with the bird’s health or behavior.

However, this isn’t always the case. Just be careful in purchasing a bird with a very low price tag and make sure to ask for a written health declaration when you do decide to buy one.

Also visit the bird at least twice with its existing owner as you can better see the different moods of the bird and find out if it has some problems such as anxiety, aggression, or excessive screaming. For example, a bare-eyed cockatoo that had already undergone four surgeries costs $1,000 – the lowest price for such species.

The Different Varieties of Cockatoos

Here’s a breakdown of the species of cockatoos you can buy and their respective prices:

  • Umbrella Cockatoos – also known as the great white-crested cockatoo or white cockatoo, umbrella cockatoos are very popular bird pets as they are one of the friendliest and most affectionate companion birds easily available on today’s market. They are intelligent and they can be trained to perform tricks. They cost around $500 to $4,200.
  • Ducorps Corella Cockatoos – are small species of cockatoo. They are common as pets and they love being in houses. Normally, they are quiet and docile but can make a lot of noise when they feel like it. When they get familiar to humans from a young age, they become very affectionate towards them. They cost around $1,500 and if you’re interested in buying one, you can try BirdsNow.
  • Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos – these are large types of white parrot. These beautiful birds are often in demand as companion birds. But, make sure you have the time to attend to their needs as these birds are demanding pets. They need a devoted owner and constant obedience training from a very young age. They can cost around $500 to $1,800.
  • Eleonora Cockatoos – also known as medium sulphur-crested cockatoo, eleonora cockatoos are friendly, social, and affectionate. Furthermore, they are naturally curious and intelligent.

There has even been a study in 2009 where scientists found that these types of birds have the ability to synchronize their movements to a musical beat. They make extremely loving pets when hand-fed. They’re sold at around $1,100 to $3,000.

  • Triton Cockatoos – are magnificent parrots that measure about 18 inches in length. There are excellent pets and owning one is a lifelong commitment as they live very long.

They are also animated birds which can be taught to do tricks. Just a reminder, these birds need a strong cage with enough room as they can be excellent escape artists. They cost from $1,200 to $3,000.

  • Goffin’s Cockatoos – considered the smallest kind of white cockatoo, goffin’s cockatoos are intelligent and fun-loving birds that are popular bird pets. They are less demanding and less noisy compared to most of the other cockatoo species. Plus, they have a great personality as well. They are sold for $700 to $3,000.
  • Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos – are also known as leadbeaters or pink cockatoos. They are medium-sized with a very distinct yellow and red band in their crest. These birds need an owner who can provide meaningful interaction and socialization because if not, they become prone to having behavioral problems. They can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000.
  • Moluccan Cockatoos – or salmon-crested cockatoos, are one of the largest white cockatoos. They are intelligent and complicated parrots which need to constantly stay in touch with their owner. They tend to form a close bond with one person and if you love spending a lot of time with your pet and you’re willing to provide training, they’re a perfect choice. They can go around for $600 to $3,000.
  • Little Corella Cockatoos – or also known as the bare-eyed cockatoos, are less noisy and demanding species of cockatoos. They are somewhat comedic with an affectionate personality. As pets, these birds are excellent as they learn quickly and are fully capable of performing tricks. They cost from $1,000 to $2,500.
  • Lesser Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos – otherwise known as the yellow-crested cockatoos, these are beautiful type of birds that have a shy and docile demeanor. They are curious and are always on the lookout for new activities. If kept in pairs, these birds stay satisfied on their own. They are sold for $500 to $2,800.
  • Citron-Crested Cockatoos – these types of cockatoos have orange crest instead of the usual yellow. They make as good pets since they’re friendly and sociable with a curious nature. They’re also not as noisy as most cockatoo species.

However, these birds are classified as endangered so if you’re planning on buying one, make sure they come with an official CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) certificate. They can cost around $600 to $2,000.

  • Palm Cockatoos – or black palm cockatoos and goliath cockatoos, are huge smoky-gray or black parrots. They’re a popular pet all over the world even with the very expensive costs associated with owning one.

They have an impressive look with resourceful and smart personalities. They need constant interaction and for them to be at their friendliest behavior, you’ll have to train them from a young age. They’re sold from $12,500 to $16,000.

  • Galah Cockatoos or Rose Breasted Cockatoos – These are one of the easily available cockatoos today. They are quite popular pets because of their personality, abundance, and overall features. They are highly sociable, affectionate, and friendly, plus, they live for a very long time. In fact, they live so long they tend to outlive their owners. They come around for $1,000 to $3,000.
  • Cockatiels – are members of the cockatoo family which are considered as prized house pets and companion birds. They are cuddly, comical, and very outgoing. They are talented whistlers, particularly the males, and they are well-known for their serenades which are often directed to their favored object, favorite person, or their own reflections. They can cost anywhere from $10 to $250.

Shopping Tips

When buying a pre-owned cockatoo, it is important that you get a healthy one to save you from all the headache, heartache, and unfortunate veterinary bills. So, before making the final decision, check for the following red signals:

  • Fluid at the nose
  • Audible breathing
  • Lacking toes or nails
  • Untidy feathers
  • Can’t keep his eyes open
  • Inattentive

Once you have made your mind, you can try searching for your dream cockatoo from a pet store or bird breeders like Ava’s Aviary, The Finch Farm, and Birdie Brains Aviary. You can also look for cockatoos available in your area through BirdsNow or BirdBreeders.

An alternative to Buying a Cockatoo

If the costs of buying and owning a cockatoo we’ve indicated above seem a lot for you, you can save big bucks if you rescue a cockatoo instead.

Rather than buying a newly hatched bird, you could give an abandoned or an unwanted cockatoo a new home. You can go to “Adopt A Pet” or “The Lily Sanctuary” to find one.

Cockatoos are magnificent creatures that need to be loved and constantly attended to. They enjoy hugs, caresses, and endless cuddling. Aside from being incredibly affectionate, they are also intelligent, funny, and when taken cared of properly, they can be the best companion for you and your family.

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