Bare-Eyed Cockatoos


The bare-eyed cockatoo is a slightly smaller member of the cockatoo family of parrots, and it is one that is somewhat easier to keep as a pet than its larger cousins. The ring of blue around the eyes gives these birds a slightly sleepy look, but these birds are actually quite social and active, much preferring to be out of the cage and interacting with their owners.

The bare-eyed cockatoo may not be the most colorful parrot in the world, but it more than makes up for it in personality. Sweet, playful, and intelligent, bare-eyed cockatoos are becoming more and more popular as pets. While cockatoos, in general, are among the more difficult birds to keep, due to a reputation as a “velcro bird” (sticking to their owners), if you have the time and determination to provide your bird with plenty of attention, you will have a wonderful companion.


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Bare-eyed cockatoos are primarily white with touches of salmon-pink on their faces. They have horn-colored beaks and bare, gray-blue patches around their eyes. Males and females are identical, though males are slightly larger in stature and also have slightly larger eye patches.

All cockatoos require regular bathing to keep their skin healthy and their plumage shiny. Carefully dry the birds in a warm room after bathing them. If you clip the wings, do so only on the primary feathers so they can easily fly and glide around the house. These birds will prefer to be out and about rather than remaining confined in their cage.

Cockatoos are prone to weight gain, so they should be fed a diet low in fat—fatty-liver disease can result, otherwise. Offer your bare-eyed cockatoo a fresh vegetable mix that includes leafy green produce, as well as root vegetables. Fresh fruit is a welcome and healthy addition to their diet, as are nuts such as almonds and walnuts. A formulated pelleted diet should also be on hand and available to your cockatoo. Of course, fresh drinking water should be available at all times as well.

Bare-eyed cockatoos, like all cockatoos, need plenty of exercises. If you want to keep this bird, make sure that you’re able to give it a minimum of 3 to 4 hours of supervised playtime outside of the cage each day. On top of needing a chance to exercise and stretch its wings, your bare-eyed cockatoo is a very social bird that needs daily time with its owners in order to thrive and remain happy.

Providing toys to these birds is very important, and teaching them that toys are a fun part of their lives will make a huge difference for both your bird and for you. A cockatoo needs to learn to play independently, and toys and activities that it can manage on its own will reinforce your bird’s independence, as well as giving you some much needed time off. Wooden toys, as well as toys made of leather and sturdy hemp twine or plastic rope, will give the bird an outlet for using its substantial reserves of energy. Ladders and swings will also help to mentally engage your cockatoo and provide it with needed exercise.

Cockatoos are highly susceptible to psittacosis, a disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia psittacine. Symptoms include lethargy, discharge from the eyes, and respiratory problems. Your bird will require antibiotics if it contracts psittacosis.

Nutritional deficiencies are also common with cockatoos and can be prevented with vitamin supplements.

The most common problems with cockatoos, however, are general malaise and behavior problems that occur when birds don’t receive enough attention and interaction with owners. Destructive behaviors and feather pulling are clear signs your bird needs more attention.