How Much Does a Cockatoo Cost?

Cockatoo Cost

The price of a cockatoo itself varies depending on species or whether you’re buying from a breeder or a rescue.

Most popular Cockatoo species will generally cost around $800 to $2,000. On the other hand, some rare species of Cockatoo cost up to $15,000 like the Black Palm Cockatoo.

The price varies depending on species or whether you’re buying from a breeder or a rescue.

Buying from a rescue will generally be cheaper but it will probably entail more vet costs. This is so since most rescues, by definition, have been dumped by owners that were ill-prepared for ownership and the birds may have psychological issues that require more vet care such as feather plucking.

Other Upfront Costs

  • 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. A typical cage for a Cockatoo is anywhere from $150 to $2,000 and must be large in size.

What Else to Spend On?

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.
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How Much Does a Cockatoo Cost? 3

What Else to Spend On

Owning Cockatoos is amazing as they are fun, loyal, loud, and silly. It’s vital to be aware of the costs for anything that may spring up in the 60-80 years of their long lifespan.

  • Toys

Be prepared to spend a lot on toys and enrichment. Some toys you buy may be $15 and only last 2 days. Other toys will be $30 to $80 and last a few weeks.

Toys are never permanent as cockatoos are highly-intelligent and need to tear their toys apart for brain stimulation. If not given enough toys, as previously mentioned, it can become bored and harm itself.

  • Food

Birds, in general, are designed for flight, which means they want as little weight as possible. Parrot’s digestive systems are efficient so food will be consumed and excreted as fast as possible.

Cockatoo’s main diet consists of dry and fresh food. Their fresh foods are generally made up of vegetables and fruits which you can buy at your local market and their dry food can be seeds or pellets to be given at least one cup a day.

Cockatoos need a large parrot pellet diet ($30 to $80/bag depending on size) such as Mazuri Cockatoo Diet or Rowdybush Large Parrot Pellets. In addition to this, they need seeds ($30 for a tub of seed balls) which act as treats.

  • Perches

These cost around $5 to $20 depending on size and Cockatoos need a variety with different textures to prevent bumblefoot – an infection from having no variety of perching.

Cockatoos can and will throw out 30% to 80% of the food you give them for “fun” and may not eat what they throw to the floor. Account for this when buying food by knowing you will go through the bag faster because of this.

  • Hygiene Care

This is important for owning a Cockatoo. It’s recommended to go to a bird specialty store or vet for talon trimming since over time, Cockatoos’ toes will grow and become too long; eventually being detrimental to them.

This varies greatly depending on location and whether you go to a store or vet. Stores will usually trim for much cheaper at $20 to $50, while vets can max out at $100.

Should you want to try to do this on your own to cut costs, it’s extremely important to be aware that cutting too close to the quick (tip of toe, blood flows through it), the parrot will bleed. This can be severe as Cockatoos’ and birds’ circulatory systems are efficient and are made for flying, but they are very poor at clotting.

A severely cut quick, if left alone, can actually lead to bleeding out. If not treated right away at a vet clinic ($200) for very severe cases, the bird can die. If only slightly knicked and bleeding, you can gently pat sawdust on it or a special avian glue powder that you can order online ($20). This will need to be done every few months or so.

Another trim your parrot will need is beak trims. These should only be done by professionals with a Dremel.

Parrot beaks constantly grow and Cockatoos, if not trimmed when needed, can suffer severe deformities and malnutrition due to being unable to eat such as cracking seeds open which requires a functioning beak. This will cost between $20 and $100 depending on where you go and will not need to be done too often.

How Vet Care Can Add Up?

Vet care is extremely important when owning a Cockatoo and any exotic vet is expensive. A standard check-up appointment can be anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the vet.

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.

It’s recommended to go for a standard checkup every 6 months or annually.

If the issue is bone-related like a broken wing, X-rays will be taken and the standard cost is $85 per procedure. The vet will also do bloodwork to check for any issues like an infection which presents itself with elevated white blood cells. Blood work is typically priced at $200.

Should a Cockatoo need surgery, there will be blood drawn ($200), X-rays ($85), anesthesia ($100), oxygen ($65/day), fecal tests ($25+), recovery boarding ($200/day), and the surgery itself ($200 to $2,000). It is highly recommended to buy pet bird insurance to reduce costs and most plans will be $20/month.

If the issue is GI-related, fecal tests and blood work will be done. The prices are the same as above.

A likely disease is Candidiasis or “sour crop”, and a crop wash will be performed at $85 to $200. If confirmed, antifungal medication will be prescribed which will be anywhere from $40 to $150 depending on the vet.

Other fungal infections like Aspergillosis (a fungus we humans breathe in every day but can be deadly to birds) can occur and the diagnosis/treatment costs are higher due to its severity. Bloodwork will be taken to confirm Asper and the treatment consists of a strict regiment of antifungals via IV and nebulization, which cost $120 to $500.

Surgical/endoscopic debulking of the granulomas that obstruct the airways costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on severity and vet. A topical steroid ($80) will also be prescribed.

The following boarding and recovery will be priced similar to other surgery mentioned above.

Another common vet problem is Bumblefoot caused by a cockatoo not having correct or variable perching. This is easily prevented by a variety of perching. But should it spring up, the vet will prescribe a topical antibiotic that costs $40.

Psittacosis is a zoonotic (can be given to humans) disease that is serious and can cost more than just a vet visit. It’s a serious disease in parrots like Cockatoos and treatment can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000, with no certainty that your bird will survive.

As mentioned above, it is a zoonotic disease and you may experience symptoms similar to the flu and will require your own treatment from the doctor. Fortunately, while Psittacosis is important to be aware of, it is rare.

Most other diseases Cockatoos can get will all be treated with similar antibiotic and/or antifungal routines with medicines such as Doxycycline or Sodium Benzoate that are around $50 to $80.

What Affects the Cost of Cockatoo?

Obviously, the Cockatoo bird prices have a very wide 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Different Varieties of Cockatoos

Here’s a breakdown of the species of Cockatoo birds for sale 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 with humans from a young age, they become very affectionate towards them. They cost around $1,500.
  • 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 $15,000.
  • 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.
Shannon Cutts

Shannon Cutts is first and foremost a parrot, tortoise, and box turtle mama. She is also the proud and doting auntie to a standard wirehaired dachshund named Flash Gordon.

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