Checkpoints before buying

Okay, so you decided to get a cockatoo. Which points do you need to keep in mind when finding and buying one?


Of course you want to buy a healthy cockatoo. Buying a cockatoo that is already sick from the start will give you a lot of heartache and a peppered veterinary bill. Make sure you buy a cockatoo without fluid at the nose, without audible breathing, has neat feathers, keeps his eyes open and alert and that does not lack any toes or nails.

You can have your cockatoo tested to the most common and serious diseases like PBFD, Polyoma and psittacosis. A reputable breeder will hand you a form signed by a veterinarian stating that the bird has been tested and is healthy. Testing for Polyoma is extremely important if you already own birds or cockatoos and you want to buy a new one to add to the group. A cockatoo can be a carrier for these viruses (PBFD, Polyoma or psittacosis), meaning it will not appear sick but can spread the viruses to other birds.

Behavioral problems

You don’t want to buy a cockatoo with behavioral problems, like plucking feathers, excessive biting, excessive screaming or extreme fear. Therefore you need to visit your cockatoo once or twice before buying him, to check how the bird is behaving. How does it behave when it is alone? How does it act around the owner and other family members? Is the cockatoo aggressive to one particular person in the family? How does is respond to you?

If your desired cockatoo does have behavioral problems, but you think you can handle it, you need to try to arrange some sort of trial period. You will buy the cockatoo under the conditions that if the stated behavioral problems are too severe you will be able to return it within a certain time period.

The law regarding buying a cockatoo

Owning some species of cockatoos will require you to have certain forms stating the bird was captive bred. Some species need CITES papers.

Cockatoos are obliged to have either a fixed ring around their foot or a microchip in Europe and the US, and also in some other countries. Please check the website of your government to get up to date on the law in your country.