Family Cockatoos (Cacatuidae)

Least Concern

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)


French: Cacatoès à huppe jaune German: Gelbhaubenkakadu Spanish: Cacatúa galerita

Psittacus galeritus


, 1790,

New South Wales, Australia


Closely related to C. ophthalmica and C. sulphurea. Additional described races include macrolophus (from W Papuan Is), kwalamkwalam (Huon Peninsula, in NE New Guinea) and trobriandi (islands off SE New Guinea), all now included within triton; aruensis is a junior synonym of eleonora; queenslandica (from NE Queensland) and rosinae (from Kangaroo I, South Australia) are considered inseparable from nominate. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. g. triton Temminck, 1849 – W Papuan Is, New Guinea and surrounding islands.
  • C. g. eleonora Finsch, 1863 – Aru Is.
  • C. g. fitzroyi (Mathews, 1912) – N Australia from Fitzroy R (N Western Australia) E to Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • C. g. galerita (Latham, 1790) – E & SE Australia from Cape York S in coastal and subcoastal regions to SE South Australia (including Kangaroo I) and Tasmania.
  • Introduced (triton) to E Moluccas (Seram Laut), Palau Is (CW Pacific) and (possibly this subspecies) Taiwan; also (eleonora) to Kai Is and (nominate race) to SW Australia and New Zealand.

    Descriptive notes

    45–55 cm; 815–975 g. White cockatoo with yellow ear-coverts and 14 cm long, erectile bright yellow crest; underside of wings and tail washed yellow; bill black;... read more


    Commonest call, both in flight and when perched, is a very harsh grating note with a slightly... read more


    In New Guinea, occurs in lowland forest, up to 1400 m. In Australia, inhabits forest, woodland and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide range of seeds, fruits and buds gathered from the ground and in trees. Species considered a pest of cultivated crops, digging up... read more


    Season Aug–Jan in S Australia, May–Sept in N Australia; few records from New Guinea. Nest is bed of woodchips in a tree-hollow... read more


    Strong flier, often foraging several kilometres from traditional roost or nest.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Status stable in Australia and unlikely to change, so long as overseas trade in native birds is proscribed; populations in and around New... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 21 April 2019).