Palm Cockatoo

Probosciger aterrimus

At the Zoo

The Palm Cockatoos can be found in an aviary across from chimpanzees.

Fascinating Facts

Physical Characteristics

Palm cockatoos are one of the loudest parrot species. They are also the largest, at 1.5 feet to over 2 feet in height and weighing between 1 and 2 pounds. Males are larger and heavier than females. They are almost entirely black, with a large feather crest and a very large beak. They have bright red cheek patches, which change color depending on health, stress level and mood. Their lifespan, based on other cockatoo species, is estimated to be between 40 – 60 years.


They are found in northern Queensland, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesian New Guinea and on several surrounding islands. Palm cockatoos are found in tropical rainforest and moist savanna woodlands up to 4,000 feet.

They feed on seeds, nuts, buds, berries, fruits and insects. They can crack nuts and hard seeds with their powerful beaks.

Social Behavior

Palm cockatoos are monogamous and will mate for life. Before breeding, they will exchange a series of whistling vocalizations and bowing displays and the cheek patches will turn bright red. They will nest in a hollow tree cavity and one egg is laid per clutch. They will sometimes “drum” on a hollow log with a stick to proclaim their territory. The egg is incubated for approximately 30 days and it is 100 -110 days before the juvenile fledges, which is the longest fledging period of any parrot species. The chick is still dependent on the parents for a further six weeks after fledging. During this time, the female is the primary caregiver at the nesting site and the male is the main forager and food provider. Palm cockatoos reach sexual maturity between 7 – 8 years.

Status In The Wild

IUCN - Least Concern. They are threatened by habitat destruction and the pet trade.

Animals & Exhibits