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Fascinating Behaviors of the Blue-eyed Cockatoo: From Foraging to Breeding and Demography

Blue-eyed Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua ophthalmica, is an exotic bird species classified under the family of cockatoos. It is a beautiful bird with a distinct appearance and behavior.

With its sleek feather, unique facial expressions, and strong beak, this bird makes an excellent addition to any bird lover’s collection. In this article, we’ll explore the different aspects of this bird from identification to plumage and molts.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo can be easily identified by its physical characteristics. It has a sleek white plumage with a salmon-colored crest and a bright blue eye ring.

The blue exposed skin around its eyes is where this bird gets its name. They have an average length of 35-40cm and a wingspan of about 30-32 cm.

In terms of their behavior, they are highly inquisitive and curious birds. They are also known to be more energetic and can be seen hopping around their environments.

Their strong and sharp beaks are specially adapted for cracking open nuts and seeds. Field


To spot the Blue-eyed Cockatoo in the field, bird watchers need to look out for their physical features like their blue eye ring, white plumage, and salmon-colored crest.

These birds are generally found in woodland and forested areas, wherever they have access to food.

Similar Species

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo species are often mistaken for the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, which also has an exposed yellow skin around their eyes. Other cockatoo species like the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo are also similar species often confused with the Blue-eyed Cockatoo.


Like other birds, Blue-eyed Cockatoos have different plumage or feather colors depending on their age and gender. Juveniles have a pale yellow shade on their heads and underparts, while the matured ones have salmon-colored crests on their head.

These birds can also have a pre-breeding molt where they change their feathers for the breeding season.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo molts his feathers every year, and this process is important for the health and well-being of the bird. During the molt, they lose their old feathers and grow new ones to keep them warm and help them glide through the air.

This molting process can take up to six months to complete, and the birds become vulnerable to predators during this time.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is a fascinating bird species with a striking appearance and unique behavior. It provides birdwatchers with an excellent opportunity to view them in their natural habitat.

With its inquisitive nature, beautiful plumage, and strong beak, it is hardly surprising that this species has become popular with bird lovers. Understanding their identification, plumages, and molts can help birdwatchers to identify and appreciate this bird further.

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua ophthalmica, is a fascinating bird species with a rich history of systematics and distribution. In this article, we’ll delve into the history and evolution of this species, its geographic variations, subspecies, related species, and the changes it has undergone in distribution over time.

Systematics History

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo belongs to the family of Cacatuidae, which also includes several other species of cockatoos. In the past, this species has been considered a subspecies of the Yellow-crested Cockatoo.

However, recent studies have shown that it is, in fact, a distinct species.

Geographic Variation

Blue-eyed Cockatoos have a widespread distribution across the Pacific Ocean, from the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia, to parts of Papua New Guinea and the Moluccas islands of Indonesia. There are also isolated populations on some of the smaller islands of Indonesia, such as the Kai Islands and Aru Islands.


There are two recognized subspecies of Blue-eyed Cockatoo:

– Cacatua ophthalmica ophthalmica: This subspecies is found in Papua New Guinea and the Aru Islands of Indonesia. It has a darker crest and more extensive blue eye rings compared to the other subspecies.

– Cacatua ophthalmica aruensis: This subspecies is found on the Kai Islands and the Moluccas islands of Indonesia. It has a lighter crest, and the eye rings are less extensive than the other subspecies.

Related Species

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is part of a larger group of cockatoos known as the white cockatoo subfamily (Cacatuinae). This group is characterized by their white, fluffy plumage and distinctive crests.

Some of the species in this subfamily include the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo has experienced significant changes in its distribution over time. The historical range of this species is thought to have been much more extensive than its current range.

Early records indicate that Blue-eyed Cockatoos were once widespread across many of the smaller islands of Indonesia. However, due to habitat loss and fragmentation, the populations in these regions have dwindled significantly.

In the early days of European expansion in the Pacific, these birds were hunted extensively for their feathers, which were used in the fashion industry for ornamental purposes. These feather hunting activities, combined with habitat loss and fragmentation, led to a significant decline in the Blue-eyed Cockatoo’s population.

Currently, the Blue-eyed Cockatoo is listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), and conservation efforts are underway to help protect and conserve this species.

Habitat protection and restoration, as well as programs to help combat illegal trade in these birds, are essential for the survival of this species.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is a stunning bird species with a rich history of systematics and evolutionary diversification. As with many bird species, the history of this bird is intertwined with habitat loss, hunting pressures, and fragmentation.

However, conservation efforts show promise in ensuring that this magnificent species continues to thrive in the wild. By understanding the various aspects of its systematics, geographic variation, subspecies, related species, and changes in distribution over time, we can better appreciate and protect this remarkable bird species.

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua ophthalmica, is a stunning bird species that inhabits a range of different habitats. In this article, we’ll delve into the various kinds of habitats that this species typically frequents, its movements, and whether or not it migrates.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo species is known to inhabit a range of different kinds of habitats, typically within tropical and subtropical regions. Their preferred habitats vary from lowland rainforests to wooded savannas and grasslands.

They rely on forested habitats for food and nest sites, making the conservation of these habitats essential to their survival. This species also found in agricultural lands and human settlements, including plantations and urban environments, due to their ability to adapt to new environments.

However, such habitats are not considered optimal for their survival, and the long-term impacts of inhabiting those areas on the species is not yet entirely understood.

Movements and Migration

Blue-eyed Cockatoos are generally sedentary birds, meaning they do not undertake large seasonal movements or migrations. However, local movements have been observed during certain times of the year, such as during the breeding season, when they may move short distances in search of food or suitable nesting sites.

Blue-eyed Cockatoos use their powerful beaks to crack open tough nuts and seeds. During lean times, when food sources are scarce in their current location, they may move to other areas in search of food, which is essential for their survival.

Blue-eyed Cockatoos also show signs of nomadism, a pattern of movement in which an animal does not have a defined home range and instead travels widely and unpredictably. This movement behavior is observed primarily in juveniles as they attempt to locate suitable breeding territories or when dispersing in search of mates.

In some instances, particularly in captive breeding populations, Blue-eyed Cockatoos have also been observed exhibiting exploratory behavior, in which they attempt to expand the territories they inhabit.

Conservation Concerns

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is increasingly at risk due to the ongoing destruction of their natural habitats as a result of logging and the expansion of agriculture. Fragmentation of their habitat due to human activity also increases the risk of other threats, such as poaching, competition for resources, and the spread of diseases.

Furthermore, the trade in wild-caught birds for the pet trade and other purposes is a significant contributor to the decline of this species in the wild. The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, and concerted efforts are necessary to conserve and protect the species from further decline.

Various conservation strategies have been proposed to mitigate the decline of the Blue-eyed Cockatoo, including habitat preservation and restoration, the regulation of trade, and captive breeding programs. These programs have been crucial in helping to preserve the genetic diversity of the species and facilitate reintroduction programs aimed at repopulating areas that have experienced significant declines.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is a striking bird species that inhabits a range of different habitats, from lowland rainforests to grasslands, and has unique behavioral patterns that reflect both their adaptability and vulnerability. Their movements are primarily local, and they do not undergo extensive seasonal migrations.

Understanding the conservation concerns that threaten the survival of this species, including habitat loss, trade, and competition, is crucial in developing and implementing strategies to protect this species and ensure its continued survival in the wild. The Blue-eyed Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua ophthalmica, is an intelligent and unique bird species with fascinating feeding and vocal behaviors.

In this article, we will delve into their foraging behaviors, diet, metabolism, and temperature regulation, as well as their vocalizations and sonic communication.

Diet and Foraging

Feeding behaviors and foraging patterns play an important role in the lives of Blue-eyed Cockatoos. These birds primarily feed on nuts, seeds, and fruits provided by a variety of woodland trees, including the Australian native casuarina and eucalyptus.

Their strong bills, adapted for cracking open hard casing, are vital to the consumption of such foods. In addition to their preference of food choices, Blue-eyed Cockatoos have been observed to exhibit different feeding behaviors in response to food availability.

For instance, during lean times, individuals may switch to another preferred food source to supplement the deficient feed, or even eat less due to environmental factors such as drought or storms. This species tends to feed in flocks, particularly in areas of high food availability, and can be highly mobile during these feeding forays.

They also appear to select different types of food sources based on various factors such as texture, fat, protein, and overall nutritional value.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Blue-eyed Cockatoos’ energy expenditure, metabolism, and temperature regulation, inversely affect their feeding behaviors and foraging patterns. Due to the nature of their diet, which is high in fat content, this species relies on complex metabolic processes to meet their energy requirements.

During feeding and digestive activities, Blue-eyed Cockatoos tend to increase their metabolic rate to regulate their internal body heat, especially in colder climates. The species has been observed selecting food sources corresponding to their climate to minimize energy expenditure.

In warmer climates, however, the birds limit their metabolic rate as part of their temperature regulation.

Sounds and Vocal


Communication is essential to any species, and Blue-eyed Cockatoos use a wide range of sounds and calls to communicate. Their vocalizations are highly varied, ranging from high-pitched screeches to low guttural sounds.

Like many other parrot species, Blue-eyed Cockatoos have been known to mimic human speech and sounds. These birds can also vocalize to indicate aggression, fear, and social interactions, including courtship behaviors during which males vocalize to attract a mate.

Vocalizations and audio communication in Blue-eyed Cockatoos are also regulated by the different social, ecological, and environmental contexts. These birds tend to increase their vocalization rate during breeding or feeding, when there may be more competition for resources.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is a magnificent bird species, with unique and fascinating behaviors such as their diet, foraging patterns, metabolism, temperature regulation, and vocalization. Understanding the role these behaviors play in the life of Blue-eyed Cockatoos can help us gain insight into their overall biology.

In the case of the Blue-eyed Cockatoo, populations have been threatened by habitat loss, degradation, and poaching. Therefore, more studies on their dietary and vocal behaviors are essential to developing strategies for the conservation and management of this remarkable species.

The Blue-eyed Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua ophthalmica, is a unique bird species with fascinating behaviors that include locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, sexual behavior, breeding, and demography, among others. In this article, we will delve into these aspects of the bird species, discuss their significance, and explore how they influence the species’ population dynamics.


Locomotion: Blue-eyed Cockatoos move around using their feet, and they are well adapted to a perching lifestyle. They can move in all directions and can climb up and down vertical surfaces with ease.

Their wings are not designed for long-distance flight, but they can fly relatively short distances. Self-Maintenance: Blue-eyed Cockatoos spend a significant amount of time preening and grooming their feathers.

This behavior is essential for maintaining the cleanliness, health, and insulating properties of their plumage. They also use their bills to remove dirt and debris from their feathers.


Behavior: Blue-eyed Cockatoos exhibit various types of agonistic behavior, including aggression towards perceived threats or challenges to their territory. During these confrontations, the birds may engage in vocalizations, posturing, and physical contests that can sometimes lead to injuries.


Behavior: During the breeding season, Blue-eyed Cockatoos become highly territorial and may display visual and vocal sexual behavior to attract mates.


Blue-eyed Cockatoos reach sexual maturity when they are about three to four years old.

Breeding typically occurs between August and December.

During the breeding season, males display sexual behavior to attract females, including courtship displays and vocalizations. Nesting occurs in tree hollows and is usually undertaken by females.

The eggs are incubated for about 28 days, and after hatching, the chicks remain in the nest for approximately 12 to 14 weeks before fledging.

Demography and Populations

The demographic structure of Blue-eyed Cockatoos is complex, with a wide range of life-history strategies, including variations in lifespan and reproductive rates. The species has a relatively low reproductive rate, with females typically laying only one or two eggs per breeding season.

Blue-eyed Cockatoo populations are at risk due to habitat destruction, poaching, and the pet trade, leading to population declines in some areas. The global population is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Conservation efforts that aim to mitigate these threats and safeguard the species’ survival are essential. These efforts include habitat conservation and restoration, monitoring and management of wild populations, and safeguarding captive populations through breeding and reintroduction programs.


The Blue-eyed Cockatoo is an incredibly complex species, with unique and fascinating behaviors that enable it to adapt and grow. The various aspects of behavior, breeding, demography, and populations highlight the importance of biodiversity and conservation efforts to safeguard the future of this remarkable species.

By understanding these behaviors and their significance, we can work towards protecting and conserving Blue-eyed Cockatoos, ensuring that they thrive and continue to enhance our world’s ecological systems for generations to come. The Blue-eyed Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua ophthalmica, is a stunning bird species with an incredible diversity of behaviors, characteristics, and adaptations that reflect their unique lifestyles and ecological needs.

From their foraging patterns to their vocalizations, sexual and agonistic behaviors, breeding, demography, and populations, Blue-eyed Cockatoos continue to fascinate and intrigue scientists and bird enthusiasts alike. The importance of preserving this species cannot be overstated, and concerted conservation efforts must be made to protect these birds from the multiple threats they face.

By working together, we can help to safeguard this species and preserve their genetic heritage for generations to come, ensuring that they continue to play a vital role in sustaining the ecological balance of the world.

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