Blue-eyed cockatoo

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Blue-eyed cockatoo
Cacatua ophthalmica -Vogelpark Walsrode-6b-3c.jpg
At Walsrode Bird Park, Germany
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Cacatuidae
Genus: Cacatua
Subgenus: Cacatua
C. ophthalmica
Binomial name
Cacatua ophthalmica
Sclater, 1864
Blue-eyed Cockatoo Distribution.jpg
The Distribution of the blue-eyed cockatoo

The blue-eyed cockatoo (Cacatua ophthalmica) is a large, mainly white cockatoo approximately 50 centimetres (20 in) long with a mobile crest, a black beak, and a light blue rim of featherless skin around each eye that gives this species its name.

Like all cockatoos and many parrots, the blue-eyed cockatoo can use one of its zygodactyl feet to hold objects and to bring food to its beak whilst standing on the other foot; nevertheless, amongst bird species as a whole this is relatively unusual.


At Walsrode Bird Park

The blue-eyed cockatoo is a large, approximately 50 centimetres (20 in) long, mainly white cockatoo with an erectile yellow and white crest, a black beak, dark grey legs, and a light blue rim of featherless skin around each eye, that gives this species its name. The sexes are very similar in appearance. Some males have a dark brown iris and some females have a reddish-brown iris, but this small difference is not always reliable as a gender indicator. The blue-eyed cockatoo is easily mistaken for the yellow-crested and sulphur-crested cockatoos, but has a more rounded crest with more white to the frontal part, and a brighter blue eye-ring. The Blue-eyed cockatoo reaches full maturity after 4 years and lives an average of 50 years.

Blue-eyed cockatoo has been known to make demanding, but great house pets.This beautiful bird has been called by some as the friendliest and most loving of all the cockatoo species. Household skills include, but are not limited to, mimicking owners, laying on the back of loved ones, and of course their love to play. Due to their interaction ability, this pet requires quite a bit of attention. A lack of interaction could result in self-mutilation from the bird, that includes feather plucking. [2]


The blue eyed cockatoo's diet mainly consists of various seeds and nuts, as well as berries and fruits. They are also known to feed on insects and their larvae. They also have the same diet that an extra large parrot would have. Grains make up 50% of a blue eyed cockatoo's diet. Vegetables and fruits make up 45% of the diet and seeds and nuts make up about 5% of their diet. Grains that qualify as acceptable to give to the blue-eyed cockatoo include dry biscuits (crackers), rice, noodles, breakfast cereal such as chex and cheerios and pretzels.[3][4]

Habitat and status[edit]

The blue-eyed cockatoo is endemic to the lowland forests of New Britain in Papua New Guinea, and it is the only cockatoo in the Bismarck Archipelago. These low-land forests consist of primary (untouched) forests, selectively logged forests and gardened forests, or ones tended by indigenous people.In the 1960s researchers found it difficult to find the majestic bird due to their flight routes they took in these gardened forests. Packs of the bird would fly 3,280 feet in the air, resulting in a researching having a difficult time catching a sighting of them. They are not very particular of the types of trees they choose to nest, but are found more abundantly and actively in primary forests verse gardened forests. The nests are usually located in very large trees, at an average height of 41 metres (135 ft). Psittacine habits also suggest that blue-eyed cockatoos may make altitude and seasonal migratory movements throughout the year.[5] As of 2012 the blue-eyed cockatoo's population ranges from 10,000 mature individuals to 15,000 individuals in general. This population however is declining.[6]

Initially classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN in 2004, it is suspected to have become much rarer in recent times than was assumed previously. Consequently, it was uplisted to Vulnerable in 2008.[1]

The threat of this species is most likely due to the rapid clearing of lowland forest into oil plantations, in which the Blue-eyed cockatoo make their nesting sites. This rapid clearing is to be thought to have an effect in the cockatoo's breeding, which would cause a decline in the population.[7][8] Illegal trade has also caused a market for this species adding pressure to their decline. The traps used often prove to be damaging to the bird, some even consisting of branches covered in glue to capture them.[9] Unlike other bird species endemic to these forests, who may have been able to fare well in less densely forested areas such as "forest gardens", it appears that the Blue-eyed Cockatoo relies on primary forested areas.[10] Observations have been made of the blue-eyed cockatoo in other areas of the forest, however the density of these birds seems to be greatest in the primary forest region.[11]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Cacatua ophthalmica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Blue-eyed Cockatoo". BirdLife International. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  3. ^ "Blue-Eyed Cockatoo." Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <>.
  4. ^ "Blue-Eyed Cockatoo." Beauty Of Birds/Avian Web. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <>.
  5. ^ Stuart, J. MARSDEN; John, D. PILGRIM; Wilkinson, ROGER (2001). "Status, abundance and habitat use of Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica on New Britain, Papua New Guinea". Bird Conservation International. 11 (3): 151–160. doi:10.1017/S0959270901000247.
  6. ^ BirdLife International 2012. Cacatua ophthalmica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 23 October 2014
  7. ^ "Blue-eyed Cockatoo." Birdlife International. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <>.
  8. ^ "Blue-eyed Cockatoo." World Parrot Trust. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <>.
  9. ^ Marsden, Stuart; Pilgrim, JD; Wilkinson, R (Sep 2001). "Status, abundance and habitat use of Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica on New Britain, Papua New Guinea". Bird Conservation International. 11 (3): 151–160. doi:10.1017/s0959270901000247. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  10. ^ Marsden, Stuart (Dec 2002). "Factors influencing the abundance of parrots and hornbills in pristine and disturbed forests on New Britain, PNG". International Journal of Avian Science. 145 (1): 43–45. doi:10.1046/j.1474-919X.2003.00107.x.
  11. ^ Cameron, Matt (2007). Cockatoos. Csiro Publishing. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9780643092327. Retrieved October 20, 2014.

External links[edit]