Cacatua moluccensis - Salmon-crested Cockatoo

Salmon-crested Cockatoo – Cacatua moluccensis (Gmelin, JF, 1788) – is a large white cockatoo.  It is similar in size and colors to the White Cockatoo but the plumage has a salmon tint and the crest is not pure white but has also red or salmon feathers.

Like most cockatoos they can be very noisy so I do not recommend it as pet if you live in an apartment.

They are very social and intelligent birds. As pets they bond closely with the owner and require a lot of attention and affection – if they get bored, they will scream VERY LOUD to attract your attention. And as soon as they learn that loud noise = attention, they will use this trick often! They should have at least 3-4 hours out of the cage each day to maintain a good physical – and mental! – condition.

Also provide lots of bird safe branches or chew toys as they love to chew on stuff. If they are not getting enough attention they can develop mental issues and e.g. start picking their feathers or screaming constantly. Make sure to use a strong cage or aviary as their strong bill can be very destructive!

As a pet the lifespan is up to 70 years with proper diet and care.

According to the IUCN Red List they are Vulnerable because of trapping combined with deforestation of their natural habitat.

Notice: Salmon-crested Cockatoo is listed on CITES Appendix I and EU Annex A!


Large white cockatoo with a salmon-pink tinge. The crest displays a orange-pink color when raised but is more or less covered with white feathers when lying down . The underside of wings and tail are yellow-orange. The bill is grey-black. The eye-ring is bluish-white. Legs are grey.

The male and female have similar colors.

Length: ca. 46-54 cm.
Weight: up to about 850 gram. The female is usually larger than the male.

For the untrained eye it is easy to confuse with the White Cockatoo (Cacatua alba), but this species has a white crest and white feathers without the salmon/pink wash.



  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Cacatua


  • Danish: Molukkakadu
  • English: Salmon-crested Cockatoo, Moluccan Cockatoo
  • French: Cacatoès à huppe rouge, Cacatoès des Moluques
  • German: Molukkenkakadu
  • Portuguese: Cacatua-das-molucas
  • Spanish: Cacatúa Copete Encarnado, Cacatúa Moluqueña
  • Scientific: Cacatua moluccensis

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2016. Cacatua moluccensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22684784A93046425.
Downloaded on 9 July 2021





Native in southern Moluccas in the eastern Indonesia: Seram, Ambon, Saparua and Haruku Islands.

Prefers lowland forests.


Wild birds feed on various seeds, nuts, fruit and insects.

I recommend using high-quality pellets e.g. ZuPreem as the main part of the diet and also various bird safe fruit, vegetables and nuts. Add a small amount of a high quality seed mix; remember seeds are like junk food and Cockatoos should not get too much fat in their diet!


Like most cockatoos the Salmon-crested Cockatoo forms a life long bond to its mate.

Breeding season is December to March with one clutch per season.

Photo: Copyright © by Izabella Bodin