Monday, November 21, 2011

Moluccan cockatoos

Length: 40-50cm/16-20 inches
Weight: 700-1000 grams
Life span: 50-60 years
Incubation: 28 days
Age at weaning: 16 weeks
Age at maturity: 3-5 years
Natural habitat: Indonesia and Southern Moluccas

Little is known about the Moluccan Cockatoo in the wild. It is quite common in coastal areas and considered to be a pest by coconut plantation farmers, where it frequently damages the young trees. The Moluccan Cockatoo has a distinctive flight, a few rapid wing beats followed by a glide, usually accompanied by a shrill shriek which makes it quite conspicuous.

They nest in hollows in trees, which the line with wood chips, and a normal clutch is 2 eggs.

The plumage of the adult Moluccan Cockatoo is mostly white, though their feathers do look like they have had a very light wash on pink over them. This is more noticeable under their wings and tail. When their crest is down it looks all white but when raised salmon pink under feathers become noticeable. Their eye rings are a very pale blue and their iris's black. Their beak is a dark grey and their legs are grey.

Pet potential: the Moluccan is one of the nosiest of all Cockatoos. Its deafening screech can go on for hours, so these birds should not be kept as pets if you have close neighbours. They are also one of the most affectionate of all the Cockatoos, they like nothing more than snuggling up with their owners. Unfortunately this is also their downfall, their need for attention, if cultivated by the owner, leads to incessant screaming for attention the minute they are left alone. They are very intelligent birds, and with the right sort of handling, they can make excellent pets but it has to be said that in the hands of the inexperienced these birds can develop serious phobic behaviours, often plucking themselves. Even worse some birds will pick holes into their chests, sometimes so deep that they will never heal. They are one of the dustiest of all the Cockatoos and need showering every day. They are not a pet for the novice bird keeper.

Talking ability: Fair

Noise level: Loud

Cage requirements: Minimum 3 x 4 x 5 foot

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