The Triton Cockatoo is a large and beautiful bird that can make a good pet in the right circumstances. Its intelligence and affectionate nature is tempered by the bird’s propensity for screaming and becoming overly attached to its owner. It can be a needy bird, but a human caretaker who fully understands these potential issues will find that a Triton can make a great companion.
Overview of the Triton Cockatoo
The Triton Cockatoo is not a distinct species. It is a sub-species of the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo and has a scientific name of Cacatua galerita triton. This companion parrot is native to the West Papuan Islands, Indonesia, and New Guinea. According to parrots.org, they can form large groups of up to 2,000 birds and feed on the ground with sentinel birds on the lookout for predators.
A Triton Cockatoo measures about 19.5 inches (50 cm) and weighs between 28.5-34.1 ounces (815-975 g). They are predominantly white with a yellow crest, some yellow highlights, and a blue eye ring. Juveniles cannot be sexed by sight, but adult females have reddish-brown eyes whereas the males’ eyes are dark brown. DNA testing might be warranted if you need to know your bird’s gender.
What Does a Triton Cockatoo Look and Sound Like?
The Triton strikes an elegant appearance with its white plumage and expressive yellow crest. Their feet and beaks are rather small for their body size and they have short, rounded tails. One of the characteristics of the Triton Cockatoo is their loud voice and their preference for screaming. This can cause problems for owners and the birds are definitely not recommended for apartment life. Though they can learn words they are not the most prolific talkers in the parrot world.
Triton Cockatoos have often lost their homes due to the excessive amounts of noise they produce. Young cockatoos learn the screaming behavior from hearing other cockatoos when they are young. Early morning and dusk are the times when a Triton will usually be the loudest. Below is a video demonstrating the beauty of these parrots as well as some of their vocal prowess.
What is a Triton Cockatoo’s Personality Like?
Tritons are very active and acrobatic birds that enjoy being the center of attention. One of the characteristics that make them appealing to pet owners is their affectionate nature, though their size and noise levels can cause issues in a home setting. They demand a lot of attention from their chosen human companion and can form extremely strong bonds with that person. Unfortunately, these bonds can cause the bird to be aggressive toward other people, especially once the bird reaches sexual maturity at about 3 to 4 years of age.
Cockatoo on cockatoo violence is a common issue with captive birds. If you plan on having more than one of these birds, you need to have a large aviary available. Seemingly placid birds can suddenly change their disposition and become aggressive toward other birds. Small children should not be left unattended with a cockatoo as it can pose a danger for both parties. These birds like to show off by raising their wings and crest when excited or stressed.
Triton Cockatoos are very intelligent and can be taught to perform a number of tricks, according to cockatoo-info.com. Training sessions should be restricted to 10 to 15 minutes at a time which is the length of the bird’s attention span. Positive reinforcement with praise and a treat is the best method of training these parrots. Clicker training is also possible with these parrots.
How Do I Care for a Triton Cockatoo?
Tritons will do fine when kept at 70-80°F (21-27°C) and healthy birds can tolerate more temperature fluctuation. These intelligent and potentially destructive birds need to be kept in a large and strong cage. According to petplace.com, a cage that is 4 feet wide (122 cm), 4 feet tall (122 cm), and 8 feet long (244 cm) is the minimum cage size for this bird. Bar spacing should be 1 inch (2.54 cm) and heavy-duty 12 gauge welded wire is recommended.
The cage needs to have plenty of chew toys and branches to keep the bird occupied. Your bird needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation to maintain health and avoid behavioral problems such as feather plucking or excessive screaming.
Cockatoos generate a lot of powder and benefit from frequent bathing. Molting is an almost continuous process where the bird loses just a few feathers at a time. You may need to clip your bird’s nails if they become overgrown. Below is a video of a Triton bathing.
Breeding is possible and a clutch of 2-3 eggs is the result of a successful attempt. Breeding can be complicated by the aggressiveness that these birds can exhibit toward each other when mating.
Your cockatoo will do well on a quality pelleted diet augmented by plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. They can be picky eaters so you may need to experiment with their diet.
How Healthy are Triton Cockatoos?
It is estimated that the lifespan of a Triton is about 60 years in captivity. Some common ailments are PBFB, Psittacosis, feather plucking, and fungal infections. Juveniles can be prone to chewing their flight feathers and tails.
How Expensive are Triton Cockatoos?
Triton Cockatoos can cost over $3000. Be prepared to purchase a large, sturdy, and expensive cage for your bird and a constant supply of chewing toys and branches. Being picky eaters, you may spend more than other parrot owners trying to satisfy your bird’s appetite. Wing and nail clipping can be other expenses you need to consider.
Is a Triton Cockatoo Right for Me?
While under the right circumstances a Triton Cockatoo can make a nice pet, they are usually found in bird parks and zoos due to their destructive and noisy behavior. Their affection for their imprinted human can cause problems with aggression toward other household members which complicates caring for this parrot in a home. Think long and hard before choosing to purchase a Triton Cockatoo as a pet.