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Where do Cockatoos Live

Cockatoos are a family of birds that are also related to parrots. They are best known for their impressive crests and curved beaks, which are used for eating seeds, fruit, flowers and insects. Some species have some coloration, but in general they are less colorful than other parrots. Many species are popular as pets, but the illegal trade in cockatoos has led to a number of species being listed as endangered. In total there are 21 species of cockatoos and they are all found in a relatively small area of the world. Let’s find out where cockatoos live.

Where do cockatoos live?
Cockatoos are only found in Australasia (a term generally relating to the continent of Australia along with Melanesia, islands found to the north and northeast of Australia). 11 of the 21 species of cockatoos can only be found living wild in Australia. The distribution of each species within the country varies considerably. For example, the galah and the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo are found throughout most of the country, but the Gang-gang Cockatoo and Short-billed Black Cockatoo are restricted to small portions of the country.

Seven of the 21 species are found on the islands of Melanesia including; Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Philippines and Indonesia. The remaining species can be found both on the mainland of Australia and to the islands of the north.

The following is a map showing the range of cockatoos:
A map showing the distribution of all 21 species of cockatoo.

Did you know?
Due to their popularity as pets, many species of cockatoos are illegally captured and smuggled out of their native country. The smugglers sedate the birds and wrap them in nylon stockings. They are then stuffed into PVC piping and hidden within other items and placed on an international flight. Only 70% of birds smuggled this way survive the trip!

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