There are four recognised subspecies;
- Tritons Cockatoo, C. g. triton (Temminck, 1849) is found in New Guinea and the surrounding islands,
- Eleonora Cockatoo, C. g. elenora (Finsch, 1867) is restricted to the Aru Islands between Australia and New Guinea,
- Mathews Cockatoo, C. g. fitzroyi (Mathews, 1912) in northern Australia from West Australia to the Gulf of Carpentaria
- and the nominate subspecies, the Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, C. g. galerita which is found from Cape York to Tasmania
The cockatoos found the Macadamia Nut tree and came in a horde to eat the nuts which they crack with their beaks while holding them in their claws using them like hands.
It has a total length of 44–55 cm (17–22 in), with the Australian subspecies larger than subspecies from New Guinea and nearby islands. The plumage is overall white, while the underwing and -tail are tinged yellow. The expressive crest is yellow. The bill is black, the legs are grey, and the eye-ring is whitish. Males typically have almost black eyes, whereas the females have a more red or brown eye, but this require optimum viewing conditions to be seen.
The watcher Bird sat on the electric wire and kept guard. Species that feed on the ground are very vulnerable to predator attack. The Cockatoo has evolved a behavioral adaptation to protect against this: whenever there is a flock on the ground, there is at least one high up in a tree (usually a dead tree), keeping guard. This is so well known that it has even entered Australian slang: a person keeping guard for sudden police raids on illegal gambling gatherings is referred to as a cockatoo or cocky for short.
Their distinctive raucous call can be very loud; it is adapted to travel through the forest environments in which they live, including tropical and subtropical rainforests. These birds are naturally curious, as well as very intelligent. They have adapted very well to European settlement in Australia and live in many urban areas.
These birds are very long-lived, and can live upwards of 70 years in captivity, although they only live to about 20–40 years in the wild. They have been known to engage in geophagy, the process of eating clay to detoxify their food. These birds produce a very fine powder to waterproof themselves instead of oil as many other creatures do.
In some parts of Australia, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo can be very numerous, and may cause damage to cereal and fruit crops, newly planted tree seedling, and soft timber on houses and outdoor furniture. Consequently, they are sometimes shot or poisoned as pests. Government permit is required, as they are a protected species under the Australian Commonwealth Law.
I love feeding birds..and set up a bird table when I arrived here, but the hordes of cockatoos came and sat on the car and started chewing the rubber as well as making a mess in the newly seeded garden,. so my bird table was discarded. They are such strong birds and can be quite destructive. Maybe I will set up a table again in the back garden some day…