Why are Cockatoos so Destructive

Why Are Cockatoos So Destructive?

Birds make wonderful pets, but there is no denying that they can often be quite destructive.

Birds often have large personalities, and this can lead to violent outbursts, which are normally displayed through the destruction of anything in their cage. Or anything within the immediate vicinity of their cage. And Cockatoos are no different. 

In fact, when it comes to destructive birds, Cockatoos are one of the most naughty. This type of bird has been known to destroy things fairly regularly, being particularly destructive at certain points of the year, and when they aren’t happy about something.

Why are Cockatoos so Destructive

But, generally speaking, Cockatoos are just very chewy birds. So there are lots of reasons why they are so destructive. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at all the different possible reasons cockatoos may be destructive to help you understand why your bird is acting in this way. 

What is a Cockatoo?

Cockatoos are a type of bird that belong to the parrot family, and is a general name given to any of the 21 species of cockatoo that are part of the ‘Cacatuidae’ group. Due to this, there is a lot of variation within the cockatoo species, in terms of size, coloring, lifespan, etc.

But, of the different types of bird that make up the cockatoo family, one is by far the most famous, and that is the White Cockatoo. 

The white cockatoo is famous for its pure white color, majestic feathers, and long yellow feathers on the back of its head. But, you shouldn’t be misled into thinking that white cockatoos are the only type of bird in this category, cockatoos can also be gray, red, black, and pink, or a variety of these coloring patterns.

As they come in so many markings, you might expect this to be the most famous thing about cockatoos. However, it actually isn’t. 

In fact, cockatoos are most well known for their eccentric personalities. These birds are curious and inquisitive, and incredibly smart.

All of these personality traits are partly why cockatoos are so destructive, as they require a lot of mental stimulation to satisfy the curious parts of their personality.

But, this is just one of the reasons that cockatoos can be destructive, so let’s take a look at some more possible reasons for this behavior. 

Why are Cockatoos so Destructive?

The list of reasons why cockatoos are so destructive is seemingly endless. As we have mentioned, the main reason why this type of bird has such an innate desire to destroy things is because of their personality.

Cockatoos have a personality where they require constant mental stimulation, and if they don’t get this, they can begin to destroy things.

Cockatoos are a type of bird that can become bored very easily. It is in a cockatoo’s nature to chew things, and they will begin doing this if they have nothing else to do. This behavior does seem destructive, but in reality, it is just your cockatoo doing something to keep them busy.

They are not being destructive with the intention to ruin anything, instead they are just doing it to have fun. This is why cockatoos can often chew branches, or other things that they aren’t supposed to. 

But, there is still one more reason why cockatoos are so destructive, and we mentioned this one briefly earlier. This reason is the time of year.

At some points during the year, cockatoos are more destructive, in particular during the spring. This is because it is natural for cockatoos to begin building nests during this time of the year.

So, some cockatoos will begin chewing on things during this time of year as they have an innate need to build a nest. 

Why do Cockatoos Chew Off Branches?

We have touched on this briefly, but you might still be slightly confused as to why your cockatoo is so obsessed with chewing on branches.

When you think of birds, the last thing you probably associate with them is chewing, but this is actually something that all birds do a lot. 

As birds have beaks, it can be easy to assume that they don’t have teeth, and so can’t chew. But, cockatoos are perfectly capable of chewing.

Chewing is an essential part of survival for birds in the wild, and just because a bird becomes a house pet, they do not lose this innate behavior. 

There are so many reasons why this innate behavior exists, as we have mentioned, birds will trim branches with their beaks in the lead up to breeding season.

But, they will also chew on branches to ensure that their beaks remain trimmed, and will also complete this behavior on the hunt for insects and bugs within the bark on the branches. So, there are lots of good reasons for this behavior. 

However, in a lot of cases, cockatoos chew on branches just to have something to do. Just like human beings, birds can easily grow bored, and when they have nothing else to do, they chew.

Chewing out of boredom is a behavior normally associated with dogs who are left alone for too long, but this behavior is also exhibited in birds.

So, while there are lots of good reasons why cockatoos might chew off branches, there is a good chance that they are simply doing it out of boredom.

Do Cockatoos Get Angry?

When animals become destructive, it is easy to assume that they are exhibiting this behavior due to anger, or some such emotion. This is mainly because we humans like to project our feelings and behaviors onto animals, so we assume that cockatoos are often destructive because they are angry about something.

But, is this actually a reason why cockatoos become destructive? Let’s take a look. 

No, cockatoos don’t really become angry. They can be aggressive, and this is something that is often confused with anger. But, cockatoos do not feel anger in the same way that humans do.

They can be aggressive, and lash out with bites and lunges, but this aggression is not driven by anger. Instead, it is usually driven by a lot of other emotions, including fear, and stress.

So, instead of assuming that your cockatoo is lashing out because he is being mean or nasty, you should think about the other things that could be causing your bird to behave in this way. 

Why do Cockatoos Scream So Much?

We’ve spoken about cockatoos being destructive in terms of physically destroying things, but these birds also exhibit some other potentially destructive behavior.

In particular, cockatoos can be very loud when they want to, which is often seen as a negative behavior. This loudness is normally shown in something that can only be described as screaming.

So why do cockatoos scream so much?

Cockatoos are naturally a loud type of bird. When you think of birds, you don’t usually associate them with lots of noise. But, cockatoos have been known to scream when they are unhappy about something.

This unhappiness could be driven by frustration about something, or boredom, but either way it is very unpleasant on the ears. So, there is no definitive answer as to why they scream so much, but it mostly commonly occurs when a cockatoo is upset about something. 

It is also worth noting that some owners train their cockatoos to ‘scream’ on command, so this might influence why a cockatoo screams so much. 


In short, cockatoos are often destructive simply because this is in their nature. They are naturally inquisitive birds, and this can lead to them growing bored when they do not get mental stimulation. This boredom then leads to chewing, which in turn leads to the destruction that is often associated with cockatoos.

But, while this is the most common reason why cockatoos are destructive, it isn’t the only reason. These birds are very complex, so there are lots of things that could cause them to become destructive.

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