The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is one noisy, raucous, at times crazy and destructive larrikin of a bird, which can be heard and seen performing its unwelcome, though sometimes humorous antics in most parts of eastern and far northern Australia. In Sydney this bird is found in large flocks which breed and roost not far from us, as the forests provide the beautiful Angophora costata or Sydney Red Gum Trees, which are known as an artists delight, because of their twisted branches and coloring. These trees, also known as widow makers, have their dead branches die and when they fall leave a hole, which the Cockatoo are able to chip out with their beaks to make a nesting hole.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo nesting in Angophora tree

The sound of squawking Cockies is heard regularly in the background of most days, as they compete with one another and show off their crazy antics, as part of the teenage training, learning techniques in aviation and the use and limitations of their extremely strong beaks. These birds are excellent indicators to birders of raptors flying overhead. When you hear them flying madly in panic, look up, there will usually be a threat above.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo calling

They test their skills to the limit, at times dangerously. They are basically seed eaters, though they will eat fruit, and are known to attack backyard fruit trees of humans and decimate a whole tree within minutes. They are known for their childish naughtiness, and will playfully try to outwit any human attempts to prevent them from carrying out their destructive tendencies. When they or their nest is threatened, they have a routine of loudly screeching, spasmodically spreading wings and lift their head combs.

The Cockatoo is one of the species of bird that can use their claws to lift things up to their mouth to eat. They are good also at learning to mimic human voice and become playful and mischievous, which is why many have them as caged pets, though it is not the best place for them. Click on photos to enlarge them.

I have heard wild Cockies saying what appear to be words or barking like a dog. Their large flocks roost together each evening, and their loud raucous call can be heard as they go out and come in, which can be rather unpleasant for those living near these areas. They have a habit of biting off twigs and denuding trees, demolishing them,even ring-barking them, just because they can, and also to find grubs beneath the bark. A friend of mine had their complete timber veranda destroyed because they were away on holidays and had stopped feeding them. This is one bird you must never start feeding regularly.

Despite all this, these birds are faithful, pairing for life, and very committed to each other, often showing affectionate behaviour to one another which is classic of most birds of the Parrot family. They nest in the hollow of both Angophora and other suitable eucalypts that have nesting holes.

This bird is featured in my first book What Birds Teach Us, for its playful antics, warning youngsters to play safely and fairly.

The Sulphur-crested, along with the Rainbow Lorikeet share the same trees and nest about the same time in late Winter early Spring, and often compete for nesting holes. On a recent walk in our local reserve we saw that many that had been nesting are now fledging their young. It was also lovely seeing more species of the Spring flowers out.


Hoping you have a wonderful week, and our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in Florida after hurricane Ian’s devastation. We are experiencing more rain bombs here in our state, and facing a wet and humid Summer, as this rain is unrelenting, but for occasional sunny days. Many have suffered repeated loss due to severe flooding, and this may occur again in the next few days, as it continues pouring while I write this post. It is possible I will be taking a break from posting for a month.

If this is your first visit, check out my website for more birding info and my posts for more interesting info about our Aussie birds.

noisy and restless

Young Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and even older ones are good examples of restlessness. They are always looking for things to occupy themselves with, which is why they are often seen as naughty and noisy. This same restlessness is seen on our youth and even older people, as they try to fill their lives with significance, as if something were missing and not quite right about themselves. This problem is innate in men and women. For men it is significance and women it is security, both are equally important as is the need for respect, acceptance and a sense of meaning and purpose to one’s life, This meaning was ultimately taken or removed from us when disobedience (known as selfishness or sin) entered the world through our shared ancestor Adam, who exchanged God, his Creator’s rule of peace, purpose and contentment, for his own substitute, which was to run and rule his own life his own way. As a result of his actions we all share sinful and selfish natures, regardless of how good we might think we are.

What impact has our naughtiness had on bird behaviour ?

So Adam’s attempt to run with his acquired selfish nature became ruin as he replaced God’s rule in his life with his own i rule or in the modern context myrule where his own desires and wants became central to his life, rather than those of God’s or others, which is how we all were created to function. As a result we all continue searching endlessly, but unsuccessfully for fulfillment, meaning and happiness. However, most do not realize that this lack of peace and restless state is relational, and is the result of a broken and unhealthy relationship with their Creator. This is why we all chase endlessly after entertainment, amusement and holidays to fill up our lives and appease our restless spirits with a false sense of peace and happiness.

Why do birds and animals fear us ?

God has provided a way back whereby we can know the true peace, contentment and meaning to life, which God originally and lovingly intended. God himself provided the way, because we could not ourselves. He sent his son Jesus whom he calls The Prince of Peace, to restore us to peace with God through Jesus’ death and resurrection, The offer is to all who will receive this free gift. This is made available to all who want to return to God by repenting, that is, turn away from living life selfishly and restlessly, to trusting in Jesus who is true Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6). He alone brings true meaning, purpose, fulfillment, contentment and peace back into our lives, so that we do not need to strive after it any longer.

If you are interested to find out more about God’s peace and how he can transform your life click here, otherwise get a copy of The New Testament or view it here online in a modern version such as New Living Translation (NLT) or New International Version (NIV). These bibles can be purchased from most booksellers.

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To introduce people to our amazing Australian Birds

To learn from them better ways of living a healthy happy life

Adv. Dip. of Counselling and Family Therapy

© W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

11 Comments »

    • Thanks RJ, Yes it is wonderful how He has made each species is so unique and beautiful in its own unique makeup. Their playful and risky behaviour is part of their training like teenage boys, they love the thrill of testing themselves to the limit. Thanks for your comment my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah, yes I do agree, I feel I must have given them such a bad spin, they are beautiful birds but we do have so many of them and they are crazy noisy birds. They do provide some humor from time to time with their antics.

      Liked by 1 person

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