Cacatua galerita

Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Family: Cacatua

Origin: Australia, New Guinea, Aru Islands

Sulphur crested cockatoo on branch looking at camera.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are large white parrots, with yellow crest feathers, and yellow on the underside of the tail and wing.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Aotea — Exclusion
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Large, stocky white parrot with large hooked black beak and forward-curving yellow crest.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not release any sulphur-crested cockatoo from containment within the Auckland region.

With the exception of Aotea / Great Barrier, sulphur-crested cockatoos are exempt from pest status.

The exemption may be removed in the future if we carry out further consultation. Find out more about the RPMP.


Forest, urban areas, pasture, crops, plantations.

Impact on environment

Impacts native plant species through bark stripping, beak-inflicted damage and consumption of growing tips, seeds, flowers and fruit. May spread Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease to native parrots. Damages nut, fruit and cereal crops.



If you have pet cockatoos, make sure they’re securely contained to avoid accidental escapes. If you are no longer able to look after your pet sulphur-crested cockatoo, find someone who is prepared to give it a lifetime home, or contact a relevant pet shop or animal rescue organisation to get it rehomed.

Never release a sulphur-crested cockatoo into the wild – your pet may be unable to find the food and shelter it needs, and it also puts our native species at risk.

If you see a sulphur-crested cockatoo in the wild on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, report it to Auckland Council at

Sulphur crested cockatoo looking inquisitively at the camera.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are large with short broad wings and a yellow crest.
 Sulphur crested cockatoo sitting sideways on a branch.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are monogamous, forming long-lasting pair bonds.