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Gang Gang Cockatoo

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Is the Gang Gang Cockatoo right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Gang-Gang Cockatoo; Red-crowned Cockatoo; Red-crowned Parrot; Red-headed Cockatoo; Red-headed Parrot; Helmeted Parrot

Scientific name: Callocephalon fimbriatum

The basics:
These small but striking cockatoos are much admired in their Australian homeland, but they are little known in aviculture elsewhere. They are also noteworthy for their rather strange cry, somewhat like the squeaking of a rusty gate.

Warning: Cockatoos are powder down birds, and you should not obtain a Gang Gang Cockatoo if anyone in the home suffers from allergies or asthma.

The Gang Gang Cockatoo is from southeastern Australia and some surrounding islands. They can be found at elevations as high as 2,000 meters, but they will descend into warmer valleys or even suburbs planted with their favorite food trees for the winter. Wild birds are naturally tame where they aren't harassed, sometimes allowing human admirers to approach almost close enough to touch.

Appearance:
Once seen, the Gang Gang Cockatoo cannot be forgotten, thanks to the rakish forward-curling crest. Adult males are particularly spectacular, because their head and crest is a flashy orange-red that contrasts with the gray body.

Weight:
240 - 330 grams (8.5 - 11.6 oz.)

Average size:
33 - 35 centimeters (13 - 13.8 in.)

Lifespan:
60 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Gang Gang Cockatoo is generally regarded as a playful, active species that demands plenty of toys and tree branches or other chewables. Unfortunately, one drawback is that they sometimes become feather pluckers, even with good care. They may also be susceptible to Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, a serious illness. If you see any hint of a problem with your bird's feathers, check with a vet right away to clear up any physical problems. Then follow-up by consulting a good parrot behaviorist for some ideas on how to control the behavior.

Housing:
The Gang Gang Cockatoo may look small, but don't be fooled. They can chew or lock-pick their way out of an ineffective cage in a surprisingly short period of time. Provide a powder-coated metal cage of at least 36” wide by 24” deep by 36” high with no more than 1” bar spacing. Please keep the cage well-supplied with disposable toys that can be chewed to destruction. Have sturdy manzanita perches in areas where you don't want to have to change the perches frequently, but also supply plenty of natural, bird-safe wood perches from unsprayed trees that your pet can chew to its heart's content. You should also have sturdy perches and play areas around the home, so that you can spend plenty of time with your pet.

Diet:
Well-socialized, properly weaned Gang Gang Cockatoos require a varied diet that isn't too high in fat, carbs, or simple sugars. You may offer a small seed mix, but limit access to high fat larger seeds such as sunflower. The core of the diet should be a good cockatoo pellet or a high quality commercial or homemade “soak and cook” mix that contains well-cooked beans, grains, and vegetables, as well as well-sprouted seed. Learn how to make a chopped salad containing lots of vegetables and greens, as well as some fruit. Never feed avocado or chocolate to any cockatoo. These foods are toxic to all parrots.

Written by Elaine Radford