Citron Cockatoo


The Citron Cockatoo, cacatua siilphurea citrinocristala. is about 32cm (13 inches) when adult size. Their weight is between 250 and 350 grams. The most impressive feature of this species is the bright. golden feathers of the crest. When alarmed, the Citron will react by quickly rising and lowering the crest (sometimes hissing at the same time). Its plumage appears mostly white except that it will have the orange crest and also the ear coverts are yellow. The under sides of the flight and tail feathers are fussed with golden-yellow. Their eyes are deep black as a baby, but after the female turns a year old, her eyes will slowly turn a reddish color.  The males eye color will remain black. The bill is black and the legs gray. Males will typically have a more massive beak and frequently a more richly colored crest.

Immature birds will look the same as an adult, except babies will always have jet black eyes.


The Citron is from the land of Sumba, Indonesia.


The little citrons will be a much quieter bird then any of the other cockatoo species. They can be taught to be quite loud if they think they can get all your attention - by being vocal. As far as their talking ability, they frequently will not even attempt to talk (remember that is partially because they are such a quiet Cockatoo)  There have been a few Citrons though that have been known to be O.K. talkers.


The citron makes an outstanding pet and is very intelligent and attentive to its owner. Their happiest moments are those spent in the arms of their "people". They are extremely, intelligent and so much so, they quickly can learn how to escape from their cage. They are not as good with children as Umbrellas or Moluccan Cockatoos, but their quite and gentle nature is very pleasing. As with most Cockatoos, if they are spoiled, they will crave constant attention and can become over demanding. Citrons can be destructive with wood items about the home, so be sure to provide them with lots to chew on in their cage. Whether you have a male or a female you will still have a very sweet loving bird.


Citrons need a cage approximately 24" x 24". But larger would be even better, a 36" x 24" would be nice if you have the space. That way you have lots of room to hang all those toys and plenty of wood things to chew on. They might chew a lot on a cage, but a good quality power-coated cage (not just any brand) would be excellent and out last a spray painted cage. Suitable bar spacing would be 5/8" or 3/4".


The best diet for any Parrot, including the Citron, is pellets and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are many products on the bird-market that can take the place of fresh fruits and veggies, that might make supplying these important things, easier to accomplish. Cockatoo's can be fussy eaters but are fond of corn on the cob, apples. Pasta and beans. Sometimes they will be shy of new foods, but always be persistent - it will probably pay off and teach him to eat a good varied diet. With a good pellet diet, additional vitamins are not necessary except maybe spirulina. Spirulina will enhance the color and the feathering on your Cockatoo, plus it is very healthy.  Take advantage of some of the bird packaged mixes on the market today, which will broadened a good vegetable and fruit diet. Seed should be fed only in small portions by hand. Maybe when doing trick training or "good-bird" offerings. A must with any parrot is a water bottle system (for sanitary reasons). This will provide fresh, clean water to your bird at all times, even when you aren't home for a couple of days.


They will usually reach maturity between 2 and 4 years of age.


Be sure that you have unrelated birds if you decide to breed, They can only be sexed either by, stood DNA sexing or surgically by a qualified vet and also when mature by the color of their eyes, A large nest box is needed and they do love to chew wood so a ABS plastic nest box should be considered.  A T-box would be a high recommendation, so that if the male becomes aggressive he can't trap the female in the box. Male Citrons can be extremely aggressive and have been frequently known to kill their female mates. Even after being with each other for many, many, years. Many, many breeders will make sure that males wings are clipped and the female is flighted when breeding season nears.  Always watch the male, that he doesn't begin to show aggressive towards his female, although he can become aggressive all of a sudden as well.  A female will lay 2 eggs, although will usually raise only I baby and quite commonly will not raise her own offspring at all. But if they do successfully raise their baby or babies, the babies are vulnerable to attacks from a parent. This is usually, the male -who will attack.  But most likely it is a better idea to incubate and raise day one babies (and this means feeding around the clock for the first 2 weeks).  Raising a day one baby is not something that an unexperienced person would want to attempt.  Eggs are usually incubated for 28 days.

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