If you’re thinking about bringing a bird into your house, look no further than a cockatoo! These birds are extremely loving, social, loyal, hilarious, and shockingly smart. If cared for properly, cockatoos generally have no problem living between 50 and 80 years! Potential cockatoo owners naturally have a lot of questions before investing in this life-long companion. Of those questions, one of the most prominent questions is: How much does a cockatoo cost?
We’ve calculated that the initial cost of cockatoo ownership is between $1110 and $3275, while each additional year of ownership is between $405 and $780. These numbers are just estimates, though, so you may end up paying more or less for your cockatoo depending on several factors.
Table of Contents
Cockatoo Cost Breakdown
When calculating the total cost of a cockatoo, you need to take many different things into account. Beyond the initial purchase of the cockatoo itself (which is quite expensive), there are many other supplies that you’ll need to pay for including housing, accessories, and food. In the table below, we’ve broken down both the cost of cockatoo ownership in great detail.
The column that’s labeled “Initial Cost” adds up the cost of the cockatoo supplies during the first year of ownership, including the purchasing of initial necessary supplies. “Yearly Cost” shows what products need to be purchased yearly and how much you can expect to spend for them. If you’d like a detailed description of each section, you can either click on the name of the product / service or simply scroll past the table.
Product / Service
|Purchase Price||$500 – $2000|
|Cage||$100 – $300|
|Cage Cover||$20 – $30|
|Perches||$40 – $60|
|Food & Water Dishes||$15 – $25|
|Play Stand||$30 – $80|
|Toys||$40 – $60||$40 – $60|
|Food||$300 – $400||$300 – $400|
|Treats & Supplements||$50 – $100||$50 – $100|
|Grooming Supplies||$15 – $20||$15 – $20|
|Regular Vet Visits||$0 – $100||$0 – $100|
|Random Medical Needs||$0 – $100||$0 – $100|
|Total||$1110 – $3275||$405 – $780|
Purchasing The Cockatoo Itself
The cost of the cockatoo itself is a substantial percentage of the total cost of ownership during the first year. There isn’t a specific guideline for pricing that’s followed by stores and breeders, but you can see consistent pricing trends between the different species of cockatoo. Common cockatoos will generally be cheaper than rarer cockatoos, and younger cockatoos tend to cost more than older ones.
The biggest contributing factor to your cockatoo’s price is the species. Below we’ve listed out some of the most commonly sought-after species of cockatoos and their price range.
- Umbrella Cockatoos – This is one of the most popular species of cockatoo. These birds are very easy to breed, and they generally have a temperament that people love. You can generally find these cockatoos for sale between $1000 and $3000.
- Ducorps Corella Cockatoos – A smaller species of cockatoo that loves being in a comfortable house and bonding with their owner. They have a quiet demeanor most of the time, but can occasionally be noisy. These cost right around $1500.
- Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos – A more demanding bird, this cockatoo is large, white, and makes for an excellent companion if you can dedicate enough time to them. With enough training and care, these birds make for a great pet while only costing between $500 and $2000.
- Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos – These are also known as pink cockatoos or Leadbeater’s cockatoos. They’re a medium-sized bird with an unmistakable yellow and red band in their crest. These cockatoos may be unattainable for some, as they require a good amount of training and cost between $3500 and $5000.
- Moluccan Cockatoos – Also known as salmon-crested cockatoos, these are some of the largest white cockatoos available. They’re extremely intelligent and form a very close bond with their owner. These are generally available for between $600 and $3000.
- Goffin’s Cockatoos – One of the smallest white cockatoos, these make for an excellent pet. Not only do they have a fun personality, but they’re also generally less demanding than most other breeds of cockatoos. A healthy specimen generally costs between $700 and $3000.
Factors That Affect A Cockatoo’s Cost
- Species – Seeing as there are 21 different species of cockatoo, there’s quite a diverse array of birds under the “cockatoo” umbrella. While some species are fairly common and easy to come by, quite a few are very rare and even listed as endangered. Therefore, more common cockatoos generally sell for less than a rare species.
- Age – Age is quite a large factor in the cost of a cockatoo. Baby cockatoos are generally the cheapest as babies require large amounts of attention and care. They then get expensive at a couple years old, and gradually get cheaper as they age. Due to the fact that many species of cockatoo can live 70+ years, buying a 20 year old bird is a great way to save money and still have a life-long companion.
- Health & Behavior – Cockatoos that are healthy and well-behaved are definitely going to cost more than a sick or misbehaving bird. If you find a bird that’s being sold for cheaper than you think it should be, there may be existing medical or behavioral problems.
- Seller – Generally you’ll find bird owners and enthusiast selling birds for cheaper as they care more about the birds than the profits. Pet stores or dedicated breeders tend to sell their birds for money money, as they’re focused on making a profit for their business.
Cockatoo Cage & Accessories
It’s very important that you craft your cockatoo’s cage to be safe yet interesting and interactive. Because cockatoos are such smart animals, they need an environment that stimulates them and gives them enough diversity to keep their brains active. Therefore, a simple cage with a perch and food dish simply won’t cut it. Fortunately, the cage and most of its accessories only need to be purchased once or twice during a cockatoo’s lifetime.
When purchasing a cage for your cockatoo, it’s a good idea to purchase the best cage that you can afford. Generally, pricier cages are higher quality, meaning that they’re safer for your bird to live in and last much longer. It may be tempting to get a flight cage that’s meant for smaller birds, but those must be avoided. Cockatoos are much stronger than smaller species of birds, meaning that they need stronger cages.
When looking for a cage for your cockatoo, large species such as an Umbrella cockatoo require a cage that measures around 35 x 28 x 45 inches. Smaller species, like a Little Corella, require only around 28 x 24 x 40 inches. You can opt for a cage that’s slightly smaller than these measurements if you allow your cockatoo out of their cage frequently.
You can find a plethora of appropriate cockatoo cages for around $150, with bigger cages costing upwards of $300. Aviaries, on the other hand, generally cost between $300 and $500. Purchasing one of these cages second-hand is a great way to save a lot of money if you can manage to find a quality one for sale.
A bird cage cover is a simple cover that’s used to provide your bird with adequate darkness in order to sleep. Cockatoos need around 12 hours of sleep per day in order to remain healthy and happy, so it’s important that they get that sleep. A quality cage cover will work to enhance the quality of your cockatoo’s sleep, and it also allows you as an owner to craft your cockatoo’s sleep schedule.
Cage covers are commonly sold for between $20 and $30. While it may be tempting to use a sheet as a cover, many sheets don’t block enough light to be effective. When it comes to the quality of your cockatoo’s sleep, you don’t want to cheap out.
Perches are places within a cockatoo’s cage that they stand on! Unlike small animals that only roam throughout the bottom of their cage, birds are able to use 100% of the space inside a cage! Perches allow them to access all corners of their environment and enjoy the many toys and amenities that you’d provided for them.
There are quite a few different kinds of perches that you can get your bird. The two most common perches are wood perches and rope perches. A healthy mixture of these two kinds of perches in your cockatoo’s cage will keep things fun, interesting, and safe for them. You should be able to create enough perches within your cockatoo’s cage for around $50.
Another type of perch that you should invest in is a shower perch. Cockatoos do need to be bathed occasionally, so a shower perch is a great way to have them comfortably stand under the water and bathe themselves. Shower perches are also quite cheap, running only around $10 to $15.
Food & Water Dishes
Cockatoos eat and drink from bowls, so durable bowls are a necessity for any cockatoo cage! Fortunately, they’re quite cheap, and you’re able to get a set of two for around $20 to $25. It’s recommended that you get metal bowls, as they can’t easily be chewed and will end up lasting much longer than plastic bowls. It also helps to get bowls that are decently-sized so that you don’t have to frequently worry about their food and water running out.
It may take a couple weeks or a couple months, but your cockatoo will eventually bond with you. Because they’re such interactive animals with their owners, cockatoos should have a play stand that they can perch on when you’re in the room with them. Optimally, your cockatoo won’t have to spend too much time in their cage, so this play stand will be where they spend a good majority of their time.
You can find a smaller play stand that fits perfectly on top of a cage for around $30 to $50, while stand-alone play stands can cost around $80 to $120. The more expensive play stands generally have more amenities such as a seed-catcher tray, multiple perches, and places for food and water bowls.
Cockatoos are ridiculously smart birds, so captive cockatoos require a lot of stimulation to remain happy and healthy. Under-stimulated and bored birds can develop quite a few bad habits like feather plucking. One of the best ways to keep your cockatoo stimulated is providing them with a wide assortment of different toys!
There are so many different toys that you can give your cockatoo. The most popular kind of toy among cockatoo owners are toys that contain a mixture of wood and rope. Toys like these are quite durable and are excellent for a bird both mentally and physically. Each giant toy typically costs between $15 and $30 and lasts for quite a while.
Another type of toy that cockatoo owners love are baby toys. Baby toys are made to be safe for babies, meaning that the materials are generally harmless and safe to chew on. This is great news for birds! Cockatoos love to play with plastic baby stacking toys, and these are quite cheap.
The video below goes very in-depth about the many toys that cockatoos love to play with.
The supplies listed above are supplies that will need to be purchased less-frequently, with the exception of toys. They make up the majority of a cockatoo’s initial cost, but cost basically nothing past that point. It’s the cockatoo consumables that make up the bulk of yearly ownership costs. Food and treats are going to constantly be fed to your cockatoo, which can cost a surprising amount yearly.
A healthy cockatoo’s diet is diverse. It’s tempting to only feed your cockatoo seeds or only feed them pellets, but the reality is that that’s not enough for them. A diverse array of food will help keep things interesting for your cockatoo and supply them with a wide selection of different nutrients.
A cockatoo needs a mixture of dry and fresh food, at about a 40-60 ratio, respectively. For fresh food, you can feed your cockatoo a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be purchased from your local supermarket. Fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, oranges, and melon are great, and so are cooked vegetables like broccoli, peas, and carrots. You won’t find yourself spending too much on these fresh foods.
Dry foods can either be made up of a pellet food or a healthy seed mixture (it’s not recommended that you do both as your cockatoo will generally pick one). Whether you go for pellets or seeds, you need to make sure that you’re buying a high-quality product that contains necessary nutrients for your cockatoo.
With how much cockatoos can eat, expect to spend around $300 to $400 a year on food for your cockatoo.
Treats & Supplements
Treats are healthy foods that cockatoos love to eat and may contain some beneficial nutrients. The difference with treats, though, is that they aren’t essential to round out your cockatoo’s diet — they’re more of an additive. As far as natural treats go, conservative amounts of nuts and dried fruits are delicious to cockatoos and keep things very interesting for them.
For store-bought treats, Nutri-Berries are a favorite in many cockatoo households. As these aren’t a dietary staple, you’ll only spend around $50 to $100 a year on treats.
Cockatoo Medical Care
Cockatoos are living creatures, meaning that they may need a variety of different forms of medical care! Even if you take extremely good care of your cockatoo, they may come down with an illness that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. It’s your job as a cockatoo owner to keep a close eye on your cockatoo and make sure that they’re happy and healthy all around.
There are two things that you should do for your cockatoo in terms of grooming. First of all, you need to cut their nails. You can get a pair of pet nail clippers for generally between $5 and $10 that perform excellently and last a lifetime. You’ll also need to shower your cockatoo on occasion, but this doesn’t need any soaps or shampoos. Instead, just invest in a shower perch, indirectly aim the shower stream at the perch, and let your cockatoo bathe itself.
Regular Vet Visits
Although it may seem unnecessary, taking your cockatoo for regular vet visits is anything but unnecessary. A yearly checkup is a great way to make sure that your cockatoo is as happy and healthy as they can possibly be. Vet visits generally only run around $50, but can cost a bit more when medication is needed.
$50 may seem like a lot of money, but it’s actually a very smart investment. Regular vet visits allow you to catch problems before they become serious and potentially costly to deal with. Therefore, these visits can save you money in the long run — not to mention that they ensure your beloved cockatoo’s well-being!
Random Medical Needs
As a living creature, cockatoos can come down with random medical problems, even if you’re the most caring owner possible. Because of this, it’s essential that you learn how to identify health problems so that you can deal with them as soon as possible. Medical problems can range from a common infection to a more serious cancer. While there’s a large difference in the severity of problems that can exist, there’s also a large difference in price.
A healthy cockatoo may rack up no medical bills during its lifetime, but a sick one may end up costing hundreds or even thousands. Chances of a disastrous medical problem arising are decently small, but it’s always better to be financially prepared than having it blindside you.
Are Cockatoos Cheap Pets To Own?
Overall, cockatoos are not the cheapest pets to own. The initial cost of supplies and the cockatoo itself is quite high, and they do end up costing a good amount of money throughout their very long lifetime. While all cockatoos will cost around the same amount of money yearly, a cockatoo with bad health can definitely end up costing a lot more. If your cockatoo is healthy, though, and you’re able to find a good deal on food, then you may be pleasantly surprised with your yearly costs of ownership.
Regardless of their cost, cockatoos are extremely awesome pets that I can’t recommend enough. These birds are so smart, loving, and entertaining to observe day in and day out. Such a huge personality is wrapped into such a small package, making the $1110 – $3275 initial and $405 – $780 yearly costs seem like nothing.