Archive for March, 2009

Cockatoo Books

March 30, 2009 1 comment

Cockatoo Books

Finding good information on cockatoos can be a bit of a challenge. Most book stores won’t have books specifically on cockatoos and pet stores tend to have more general parrot books. So, I’ve compiled a list of books about cockatoos and have noted where they can be ordered from.

Disclaimer: Please note that I don’t make any money from this site! When I list stuff like this, it’s just to help people find useful parrot resources.


1) Cockatoos: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual, by Werner Lantermann.  Published by Barron’s Educational Series, 2000. 64 pages. Available from or Avian Publications.

This is a short book with black and white drawings and colour photographs. It gives a good introduction to keeping cockatoos and has basic information on most aspects of their care.


2) The Essential Cockatoo, by Laurie Baker and Stuart Borden. Published by Avian Publications, 2008. 124 pages. Available from Avian Publications.

This book has plenty of very nice colour photographs, including ones of very rare Blue-eyed Cockatoos.  It has information on most aspects of cockatoo care, including feeding, caging, health care and so on.  It would be a good book to pick up before one gets a cockatoo as it does describe how demanding they can be.

wildcockatoos13) Cockatoos (Australian Natural History), by Matt Cameron. Published by CSIRO Publishing, 2008. 230 pages. Available from

This book is not about keeping cockatoos in captivity but is about their lives in the wild. It’s a very useful and interesting resource for the serious cockatoo fancier who is interested in how cockatoos behave in the wild. Has both black and white and colour photographs. Has some information on all species of cockatoos, but does have a large focus on the Australian cockatoo species.

toosinaviculture14) Cockatoos in Aviculture by Rosemary Low. Published by Hampshire Breeders and Books, Hampshire England. 2003, 270 pages.

My favourite book about keeping cockatoos, as this is probably the most comprehensive and detailed of them all. It covers all species of cockatoos and has information on wild cockatoos, breeding, health care, behaviour, and feeding.  The author worked for many years at Loro Parque on the Canary Islands and is very experienced with raising parrots. This book is geared to the serious cockatoo fancier and not necessarily those wishing to hand rear human-imprinted parrots for the pet trade, a practice the author does not agree with (and I certainly see why).

The edition of this book I have is a soft cover and has lots of black and white photographs and some colour ones. There is an older version with a harder cover that has all color photos. This book may be a challenge to find, but should be well worth it for the serious cockatoo fancier. I got mine from the Gabriel Foundation’s “Bird Brain” store, but I think they sold out. Often there are used copies available from

aguidetoaustwhitecockatoos15) A Guide to Australian White Cockatoos: Their Management, Care & Breeding, by Chris Hunt. Published by ABK (Australian Bird Keeper) publications, 1999. 112 pages.

This book covers the keeping and breeding of Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Eastern & Western Long-billed Corellas (Slender-billed Cockatoos), Short-billed Corellas (Bare-eyed Cockatoos), Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos, and Galahs (Rose-breasted Cockatoos).  It was written and published in Australia, where these six species are quite common in aviculture. These six are quite scarce in North America, since Australia hasn’t exported its native wildlife in decades.  Most Bare-eyed Cockatoos in North America are actually the descendents of birds from New Guinea, as there is a small population of them in the south. I found it interesting to read about these species which I have little experience with.

This book contains colour photographs and is soft covered. It has a lot of information on building outdoor aviaries and breeding cockatoos. It is available from Avian Publications, or the Australian Bird Keeper website. Note that there are more books and videos about cockatoos from the ABK site.

Not Specifically About Cockatoos, but very useful for Cockatoo Owners!

clicker1) Getting started: Clicker Training for Birds by Melinda Johnson. Published by Sunshine Books, Inc., 2003. 160 pages.

Cockatoos can be a big challenge to keep as pets and owners must be willing to spend a lot of time interacting with their parrots.  Cockatoos seem to enjoy learning new things, so I often recommend people do some training with their pet cockatoos. The methods in the above book work well and are very humane. I highly recommend it for people interested in training their birds.

On a personal note, I had to foster a very aggressive Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Fergus) last year, and using the advice in this book helped me transform Fergus from a parrot that chased and attacked me to one that enjoyed training sessions and wouldn’t bite me anymore.

There’s also a more detailed review of this book over at The Best in Flock blog. It’s available from, or the Clicker Training Website.


Zoo Chimp Planned Stone Attacks

March 10, 2009 1 comment

Sign I saw at the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sign I saw at the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. The gorillas were probably tired of having idiots hoot at them.

The chimp is the below story is awesome.  I’ve seen zoo animals throw stuff at people but this guy seems particularly devoted to that activity.  Maybe he got sick and tired of people calling him a “monkey.”  Chimpanzees (along with siamangs, gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans) are apes, not monkeys!

(Sorry, that’s a peeve of mine).

Zoo chimp ‘planned’ stone attacks

Santino (PA)

Chimpanzees have long been suspected of planning ahead

A male chimpanzee in a Swedish zoo planned hundreds of stone-throwing attacks on zoo visitors, according to researchers.

Keepers at Furuvik Zoo found that the chimp collected and stored stones that he would later use as missiles.

Further, the chimp learned to recognise how and when parts of his concrete enclosure could be pulled apart to fashion further projectiles.

The findings are reported in the journal Current Biology.

There has been scant evidence in previous research that animals can plan for future events.

Crucial to the current study is the fact that Santino, a chimpanzee at the zoo in the city north of Stockholm, collected the stones in a calm state, prior to the zoo opening in the morning.

The launching of the stones occurred hours later – during dominance displays to zoo visitors – with Santino in an “agitated” state.

This suggests that Santino was anticipating a future mental state – an ability that has been difficult to definitively prove in animals, according to Mathias Osvath, a cognitive scientist from Lund University in Sweden and author of the new research.

“We’ve done experimental studies, and the chimps in my mind show very clearly that they do plan for future needs, but it has been argued that perhaps this was an experimental artefact,” Dr Osvath told BBC News.

“Now we have this spontaneous behaviour, which is always in some sense better evidence.”

Cracking show

Dr Osvath embarked on the study after zoo staff discovered caches of stones in the section of the enclosure facing the public viewing area.

Since the initial discovery in 1997, hundreds of the caches have been removed to protect visitors, to whom the caching and the aggressive displays seem strictly related; in the off season, Santino neither hoards the projectiles nor hurls them.

Ammunition pile (M Osvath)

The chimp stashed hundreds of stones in anticipation of throwing them

Most interestingly, Santino seems to have learned how to spot weak parts of the concrete “boulders” in the centre of the enclosure.

When water seeps into cracks in the concrete and freezes, portions become detached that make a hollow sound when tapped.

Santino was observed gently knocking on the “boulders”, hitting harder to detach bits that were loosened and adding those to his stashes of ammunition.

There are a number of examples of complex behaviour in apes that suggest forms of consciousness.

Planning behaviour like that of the current work is connected to so-called autonoetic consciousness, where information due to memory can be distinguished from that from the senses.

“I’m personally convinced that at least chimps do plan for future needs, that they do have this autonoetic consciousness,” Dr Osvath said.

“I hope that other zoos or those in the wild will look more closely at what is happening,” he added.

“I bet there must be a lot of these kinds of behaviours out there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we find them in dolphins or other species.”


Categories: Miscellaneous Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: