Difference Between Cockatoo and Parrot

Cockatoo vs Parrot

Although cockatoos are a kind of parrot, it is not difficult to distinguish a cockatoo from a group of other parrots. However, it is best if the characteristics of parrots in general and cockatoos in particular are known, because the actual meaning of the distinctions between these birds would make anyone more confident about it than just delivering the facts without background knowledge. Therefore, it would be advantageous to go through the presented information in this article about both characteristics of the birds and the comparison between the two types. 


Cockatoos are a type of parrots belonging in the Family: Cacatuidae of the Order: Pstittaciformes. There are 21 distinct species under seven genera including the type genus, Cacatua. Cockatoos are native birds of Australia and the surrounding islands including Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and others. Their distinctive chest and the colourful and curved beak are standout features. They are comparatively larger than the parrots. In addition, the plumage is more colourful in comparison to the other members of the Order: Psittaciformes. However, white or grey with black often appear with other colours in various places of their body. The presence of an extremely attractive crest is one of the prominent features of cockatoos. Additionally, their crest is moveable and hard, it is often a great tool to attract the sexual partners. Their legs are short with strong claws, and the gait is waddling. They have a wide wingspan and can flap those rapidly during flight. These beautiful creatures have streamlined but stocky bodies, which are medium to large with varying body weights from 300 to 1200 grams. In addition, their body lengths vary accordingly from 30 to 60 centimetres. Cockatoos prefer fruits and vegetables as their main food and mainly active during daytime. The males whistle and females screech. Despite their harsh vocalizations, sometimes they can talk or imitate human vocals, especially when they are in captivity. These beautiful and attractive creatures are more often kept in captivity than not and there is a high market value for them.


Parrots include many types of birds of the Order: Psittaciformesviz. Parakeets, Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Lorries, Macaws, Amazons, and Cockatoos. There are more than 370 species of parrots described under 86 genera. Tropical and subtropical regions of the world have been their preferred climates inmost cases, while some species inhabit the temperate regions, as well. Parrots are a highly diversified group of birds, and diversity is highest in South America and next in Australasia. Their strong, curved bill with slightly leaning upright posture makes parrots unique. Parrots have zygodactyle feet, or in other words, their feet have two digits directed forward and the other two towards back. This configuration of digits on their feet enables them to grasp the branches of the trees well. They are famed of their contrasting and attractive colours along with the lovable talkativeness. There is very low or no sexual dimorphism in parrots, a slight exception to the other avifauna. The body sizes and weights vary within a wide range. The smallest member of the group (buff-faced pygmy parrot) weighs only one gram and 8 centimetres long, whereas a kakapo weighs about 4 kilograms, and a Hyacinth macaw is more than one metre long. Parrots have been associating with man for a very long time. According to depictions of Buddhist folklore and ancient Persian writings, parrots have been gaining attraction and interest among people.


What is the difference between Cockatoos and Parrots?

• Parrots are found in the tropics and subtropics of the world across many continents excluding Antarctica, while cockatoos are naturally found in Australia and surrounding islands only.

• Cockatoos are always larger than other parrot types, but there are some very large parrot types such as Hyacinth macaw.

• There are only 17 species of cockatoos while parrots include more than 370 species collectively.

• Parrots are a taxonomical order while cockatoos can be classified to family level.

• The presence of crest in cockatoos is unique among other parrots.