Any of 21 species of crested parrots (family Cacatuidae), found in Australia and from New Guinea to the Solomon Islands. Most species are white with touches of red or yellow; some are black. All have a massive beak used to crack nuts, dig up roots, or pry grubs from wood; feeding is aided by a wormlike tongue. Treetop, hole-nesting birds, cockatoos at times form large, noisy flocks that damage crops. The largest cockatoo (the palm, or great black, cockatoo) is about 25–30 in. (65–75 cm) long. Some cockatoos live more than 50 years.
Sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita).—Warren Garst/Tom Stack & Associates
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