Moluccan Cockatoo

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Moluccan Cockatoo

Cacatua moluccensis

Native: Seram island, Eastern Indonesia.

Habitat: Tropical lowland forest.


Captivity: Uncommon.

Wild: Endangered.

Diet: Seeds, Nuts, Fruit, Coconut and the occasional insect.

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Interesting Facts

Also called the Salmon-Crested Cockatoo, the species is endemic to the south Moluccas in Indonesia. It is the largest white variant of cockatoo, outsized only by the majestic and reclusive black Palm cockatoo. The Moluccan’s eye-catching appearance can be credited to the peachy glow of its feathers and large crest with bright red-orange plumes. It has become a popular pet bird and as such, illegal trapping of these Cockatoo’s in the wild has become a major problem. The largest volume of these birds was exported during the 80’s, with more than 74,000 of them taken from their habitat during that decade. As such, a lot of older Moluccan Cockatoo’s in captivity are only one or two generations down from the wild. Pet Moluccan’s can be loud, demanding and have an unpredictable temperament and are therefore not recommended for beginners. A sudden wrong move that makes the bird over-excited could land you a night in A&E, and attacks can appear sudden and unexpected if one does not learn to correctly read their body language.


Our Zoe: Despite his name, Zoe is actually a Male Cockatoo. His history at the bird garden is as chequered as it is rich. After we discovered his unpredictable nature meant he did not get on well with other birds, Zoe initially had a home in a tree behind the Kookaburra aviary. However, his incessant need to chew something began damaging the tree, so he was moved to a new tree on the parrot path, where it suffered the same problem. A second chance in an aviary close to the entrance yielded no better results in his intra-bird relations, but it was during a temporary stay in our courtyard that Zoe made a lifelong friend. Eddie the Mealy Amazon had always had a fascination with anything white, and his persistence to leave the parrot path in order to find Zoe eventually paid off. There was at last a bird that Zoe would tolerate. Today, Zoe and Eddie can be found perched high on the parrot path, and while Zoe is kept at height to keep him safe from other birds, he occasionally comes down for a cuddle with a gentle mannered visitor, and has built up a firm fan base after delighting guests with his now famous “Hello” dance.

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