Cockatoo, a name given to the parrots of the subfamily cacatuince, family psittacidce, from their peculiar call note or cry. The cockatoos have the bill large, of various lengths, broad at the base, with the culmen usually much arched to the tip, which is very acute; the wings generally rather long and pointed, the tail broad and mostly even, the tarsi short and robust and covered with small scales, and the toes unequal. They may be readily distinguished from the other parrots by their light color, and their graduated crest and even tail; some of the genera, however, have sombre colors, but none the gorgeous hues of the lories, macaws, and parrakeets. Their robust legs and strong claws indicate the rasorial or scratching propensities of the group; and their powerful bills are able to break the stones of the hardest fruits. They are rather wild, and possess but little imitative power, seldom articulating anything more than "cockatoo." - The genus cacatua (Briss.), from which the subfamily is named, has the bill short and strong, hooked and acute; the wings long, and the tail short and even.
About a dozen species are found in the forests of the Moluccas and Australia, some preferring high trees near rivers and swamps, others the open plains; they are shy and hard to approach, though their presence is easily known from a distance by the loud screams from their vast flocks; they feed on vegetable substances, seeds, nuts, tubers, and bulbous roots, which they dig up with their strong claws; they do much injury to trees by stripping off the bark of the smaller branches, cutting it into small pieces, but not using it for food; the eggs, usually two in number, are laid in the rotten portions of holes in trees, or in fissures of the rocks. This genus embraces some of the most beautiful species, of large size, of a white plumage tinged with rose color or sulphur yellow, and with large crests. Among the finest is the tricolor-crested cockatoo (C. Leadbeateri, Vigors), with a crest of scarlet, yellow, and white, of long acuminate feathers, with the tips directed forward, which the bird can open and shut like a fan; it is a native of Australia; the whole of the body is white, tinged with crimson on the neck, breast, sides, and under the tail and wings.
The sulphur-crested cockatoo (G. sulphurea, Gmel.) resembles the last named, except that pale sulphur yellow takes the place of the reddish tints; it is a native of the Moluccas and other Indian islands; from its beauty, docility, and amusing habits, it is a favorite with bird fanciers. Other species living in the Moluccas are the G. rosei-capilla (Vieill.), G. Moluccen-sis (Gmel.), and G. cristata (Linn.); the red-crested cockatoo, G. Pliilippinarum (Gmel.), a native of the Philippine islands, is also a handsome species. - The genus licmetis (Wag-ler) differs from cacatua in having a bill much longer; it is peculiar to Australia, living in flocks on trees in the neighborhood of water; the food consists of bulbous roots, which they dig up from considerable depths in the earth; the notes are rather plaintive. Another genus peculiar to Australia is calyptorliynchus (Vig. and Horsf.), characterized by a very large and strong bill, broad at the base, and much higher than long; the lower mandible small, dilated, and strongly emarginated at the tip; the wings moderate, and the tail lengthened and rounded.
They live in small flocks in woods near rivers, feeding on the fruit and bark of the eucalyptus, destroying more than they eat by cutting off the smaller branches and unripe fruit; their flight is heavy and noisy; they are very shy, and more fierce and wild than other parrots; the eggs, two or three in number, are laid in the hollows of decayed trees. There are about a dozen species, of large size, and of dark colors. One of the finest species is the Banksian cockatoo (C. stellata, Wagler), called by the natives geringore; the plumage is generally greenish black, with a purple tinge on the back and wings; the bill is grayish white, the cheeks yellow, and the lateral feathers of the black tail vermilion in their central portion with narrow bars of black. A larger species is Solander's cockatoo (C. Temminckii, Kuhl). - One of the largest of the parrot family is the Goliath, or great black cockatoo, belonging to the genus microglossum of Geoffroy, which is characterized by a very large bill, much curved to the long and acute tip, the lateral margins of the upper mandible bidentated, the lower mandible smaller, broad, and much emargi-nated on each side; the cheeks and front of the throat denuded of feathers; they live in the forests of Papua, Ceram, and other eastern islands.
This species (M. aterrimum, Gmel.) is of dark color, with a crest of grayish, long narrow feathers, which can be erected at will. The genus nestor of Wagler has the bill much lengthened, the wings long and pointed, and the tail moderate and even, with the shafts of the firm broad feathers prolonged beyond the webs. There are two species, living in New Zealand and Australia; they eat nuts, berries, and bulbous roots; in the morning and evening they are very noisy. The southern brown cockatoo (N. australis, Shaw) has the forehead and crown grayish white, slightly tinged with green; the ear coverts yellowish; the sides of the neck, breast, and abdomen dull red, the feathers margined with green; the back and wings brownish oil-green; the rump and vent deep red; the tail brownish green.
Tricolor-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua Leadbeatcri).
Banksian Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus stellata).
Goliath or Great Black Cockatoo (Microglossum aterrimum).
Long-billed Cockatoo (Nestor produetus).