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Cockatoo, Moluccan

Moluccan Cockatoo pair at the LA Zoo (Photo Credit: Charlie Morey)

Scientific Name: Cacatua moluccensis

This species has a distinctive red crest that unfurls from the top of its head when threatened or to frighten off a possible attacker. It is often called a "salmon-crested" cockatoo.

The Moluccan cockatoo can no longer be imported into the United States due to the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 which was enacted to protect exotic bird species from being manipulated by the international pet trade.

Special Powder

The Moluccan cockatoo has small tufts of powder down feathers, the tips of which are able to disintegrate into small flakes of keratin (a structural protein in the skin of humans and other animals) that the bird uses to coat and clean the remainder of its feathers. These down feathers never molt, therefore the bird can use this “powder” to clean itself whenever it wishes, ensuring that it keeps its beautiful shine all year long.

The Moluccan cockatoo is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This species of cockatoo makes its home in the lowland forests on the Moluccas of eastern Indonesia.

The majority of the Moluccan cockatoo’s diet is made up of seeds, nuts, fruit, and sometimes even insects.

The Moluccan cockatoo is one of the largest white cockatoos in the world, measuring at around 20 inches long. It is almost completely off-white, yellowish in color and, when threatened, will raise its crest to reveal bright, salmon colored feathers to scare possible predators. The eye ring of this bird is black in males, reddish-brown in females and the beak and claws are dark grey to black. The underside of the tail may also have a small hint of yellow in it as well. Other than its beautiful colors, this bird is known for its loud vocalizations in the wild and incredible intelligence and desire for human attention in captivity.

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