Cockatoo Lifespan: How Long Do Cockatoos Live?

Loudest Animals: Moluccan Cockatoo
© CG3/

Written by Volia Schubiger

Updated: June 27, 2023

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Cockatoos are one of the most popular pet birds and for good reason. Their colorful and vibrant personalities easily distinguish them from many different parrots. While these birds are most easily set apart thanks to the fan of feathers that they exhibit on the crowns of their heads, they are lots of other traits that make them interesting. So if you’ve been interested in an engaging pet then a cockatoo just might be the one. But how long do cockatoos live?

Curious to find out more about this fascinating parrot? We’ve got the rundown on how long cockatoos live as well as tips on how to extend their lives as a pet.

The Average Cockatoo Lifespan 

In the wild, cockatoos can live for 40 years whereas domesticated ones can live up to 70 years.

©Sanit Fuangnakhon/

The average cockatoo’s lifespan is 20 – 40 years in the wild. However, in captivity, cockatoos have been known to live much longer. Their average lifespan in captivity is anywhere between 50 – 70 years. However, some cockatoos have lived to reach almost 100 years old. 

Let’s take a look at the lifespans of a few memorable cockatoo species: 

  • Moluccan cockatoo: Moluccan cockatoos can live in captivity for up to 70 years. However, according to a 2012 research titled Survival on the Ark, a Moluccan cockatoo lived for 92 years.
  • Sulphur-crested cockatoo: Sulphur-crested cockatoos can live for 20 to 40 years in the wild. They may survive for more than 40 years in captivity. The oldest Sulphur-crested cockatoo in the Surviving on the Ark study was 73 years old. 
  • Goffin’s cockatoo: Their shortest recorded lifespan is around 25 years, while their maximum lifespan is approximately 65 years.
  • Cockatiel: They may survive in the wild for 10 to 15 years. They have a lifespan of roughly 20 to 25 years when domesticated and carefully cared for.

As is evident, cockatoos that are taken care of have much longer lifespan projections. This is thanks to the care that they receive as well as no longer having to worry about run-ins with predators. 

The Average Cockatoo Life Cycle 

Now that we have a better understanding of how long cockatoos live, let’s dive into the average cockatoo’s life cycle. 


Cockatoos are monogamous breeders with long-lasting pair ties. Cockatoos mate once a year, between the months of December and March. To attract a female, the male cockatoo puts on an impressive performance. While bobbing, bouncing, and dancing in front of the female, he extends his wings, stretches his tail, ruffles his feathers, and lifts his crest. The duo will preen each other when the female accepts the male’s approach. 


Following breeding, the cockatoo pair departs from their group in search of a suitable nesting site. They build their nests in enormous tree holes that are 16 to 100 feet above the ground. During the incubation stage, the female lays two or three eggs, and both parents take turns sitting on them, rotating them, and keeping them wet. The eggs hatch in about 30 days.


Cockatoos are dimorphic, which means that the male and female are nearly identical.


Cockatoo babies are called chicks. When cockatoo chicks hatch from their eggs, they are born naked without any feathers and blind. They won’t be able to open their eyes for several weeks. Both the mother and father will look after their chicks, making sure to feed them and keep them warm. Depending on the species, it takes 60 to 100 days for the chicks to become completely feathered. This is also the stage at which the chicks grow interested in the world and begin to fearlessly explore their surroundings.

Leaving the Nest 

When the cockatoo chicks are around 4 months old, they practice flying. Both their parents will continue to feed and monitor them as they grow in strength and learn to forage for food. The juvenile cockatoos are weaned and self-sufficient around a month after hatching. Young cockatoos frequently remain with the flock into which they were born. Cockatoos achieve sexual maturity between the ages of 3 and 4 years.


Adult cockatoos range in size from 12 to 26 inches tall, depending on the species. They have a crest on top of their heads and are white, yellow, pink, or dark gray in color. In deep woodlands, they create big, loud flocks. Cockatoos feed themselves just like humans do, by using their one foot to bring food up to their beaks. Their quick tree-climbing skills allow them to access fruits and nuts high up in the trees.

Factors That Affect The Lifespan of Cockatoos

With a healthy environment and diet, a cockatoo can reach its maximum lifespan.

©Martin Pelanek/

Many variables influence how long a cockatoo lives. Here are some of the things that influence a cockatoo’s lifespan. For starters, cockatoos require a healthy environment. Cockatoos may fly freely in their native habitat and consume plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other items that they were designed to eat. They will even go long distances in quest of excitement. In contrast to how they live in captivity, this keeps them healthy and happy.

Their diet is also incredibly important to their lifespan as well. As mentioned, cockatoos require lots of plants and fresh fruits to live their best lives. 

How To Extend the Life Of Your Pet Cockatoo 

A cockatoo has the option of living to its full lifespan or dying prematurely. The cockatoo’s lifespan can be extended if it lives in good health and eats a nutritious diet. Here are some tips on how to extend your cockatoo’s lifespan

  • Diet: Maintaining a suitable and balanced diet for your cockatoo may play a vital part in ensuring that it lives its life to the fullest. Although many people assume that cockatoos can subsist just on seeds and nuts, this is actually misleading. A diet consisting solely of seeds can be dangerous to your cockatoo since it can develop into obesity. Instead, a mixture of top-quality seeds, various types of nuts, veggies, and fruits should all be included in their diet. 
  • Stimulation: Cockatoos need a lot of attention. When their owners do not fully excite and pay attention to them, they tend to engage in self-destructive activities such as stress plucking. As a result, you should always provide your cockatoos with items to keep them amused.
  • Maintaining good air quality: Because most cockatoo species have delicate lungs, their health suffers tremendously when kept in a congested environment. As a result, if you have decided to breed a cockatoo in your home, you should avoid using perfumes, sprays, or any other fragrant things around them. 

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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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