Citron-crested Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata
Irish Name: Cocatú ciotrón-círíneach
IUCN Status: Critically endangered

The citron-crested cockatoo is invariably described as a beautiful, intelligent bird with white plumage (feathers) and a distinctive orange coloured forward-curving crest. They have orange ear/cheek patches and pale yellow coloured feathers under their wings and tail feathers. Other features include a dark grey beak and a pale blue ring around their eyes. Females have copper-coloured eyes and males have very dark black eyes.

Citron-crested Cockatoo

The citron-crested cockatoo is invariably described as a beautiful, intelligent bird with white plumage (feathers) and a distinctive orange coloured forward-curving crest. They have orange ear/cheek patches and pale yellow coloured feathers under their wings and tail feathers. Other features include a dark grey beak and a pale blue ring around their eyes. Females have copper-coloured eyes and males have very dark black eyes.

General Information

Where do they live? (Natural habitat)

The citron-crested cockatoo is only found on Sumba Island in Indonesia. They live mainly in forests on Sumba but will also move over agricultural land.

How long do they live?

There is very little information about their lifespan in the wild. However, cockatoos are known to be long-lived and some individuals may live between 50-60 years of age in the wild. They are known to live 40+ yrs in human care.

What do they eat?

They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, buds, flowers and fruit. They will also eat food grown on farms e.g. maize. They rely on sight to identify the seed and fruits that they eat.

Closest related species/Sister Species

The citron-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) is one of four sub-species of the Yellow crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphur). The other three are (i) C.s. sulpurea; (ii) C.s. parvula; and (iii) C.s. abbotti.

Group name

They live in large groups called flocks outside the breeding season.

Zoo location

The citron-crested cockatoos are near the Orangutan Forest

Animal class

Aves

Animal order

Psittaciformes

Fun Facts

Mohawk

Citron-crested cockatoos raise their orange crest when surprised or excited.

Courtship

Their courtship displays includes vocalising from the top of a tree, frequent raising and lowering of the crest, mutual feeding. short flights and breaking twigs from their perch.

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Family Life

Outside of the breeding citron-crested cockatoos live in large flocks but form breeding pairs as the breeding season (April-May) approaches.

Their courtship displays includes vocalising from the top of a tree, frequent raising and lowering of the crest, mutual feeding. short flights and breaking twigs from their perch.

Nests are built in cavities in trees. Both parents help rear the chicks.

Baby Name

Chick or Hatchling

Gestation period

"The eggs are incubated for approx. 28 days by both the male and female. The chicks fledge approx. 75 days
(10-12 weeks) after hatching."

Number of young at birth

Clutch size is 2-3 eggs

Weight at birth

Hatchling weight is 16g

Age at maturity

Breeding capability occurs between 3-4 years of age.

Adult male name

Male

Adult female name

Female or Hen

Size male adult

Average Weight: 350g; Body length is slightly larger in males than in females.

Size female adult

Weight: Similar to males; Body Length: 32-34 cm or 33-40cm from beak to tail feathers.

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Conservation

IUCN status

The citron-crested cockatoo is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation in Nature.

Current population estimate

As of 2017, the wild population was estimated to be between 500-5,000.

Threats

The main threats to citron-crested cockatoos are trapping for the illegal cage-bird trade and habitat loss resulting from deforestation. Citron-crested cockatoos depend on forests for food and nesting. Sumba Island has lost 90% of its native forest. The citron-crested cockatoo also has a low reproductive output which means it takes longer for the population to recover when conservation measures are put in place.

They sometimes feed on agricultural crops e.g. maize which brings them into conflict with local farmers. In general, animals like the citron-crested cockatoo, whose range is restricted (e.g. living on an island), and/or whose population is small, face additional threats for example, isolation of the population may lead to inbreeding with a resultant reduction in genetic variation making the population vulnerable to disease outbreaks and environmental disasters particularly as they cannot escape or replenish the population from other sources without human help.

What is Dublin Zoo doing?

Dublin Zoo took over the management of the European Zoo Breeding Programme for this species in 2004, this means that we manage the breeding of citron-crested cockatoos across all European zoos. A bit like a cockatoo match-maker, we choose suitable mates among zoos.

In 2011, Dublin Zoo provided funding for research in Indonesia to establish why breeding output was so low among the population of citron-crested cockatoos on Sumba Island.

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