Moluccan Cockatoo Vs Umbrella Cockatoo

If you’re trying to choose a cockatoo species to add to your family, you may end up stuck between the Moluccan or Umbrella species. It’s understandable given that they’re both popular birds that can make wonderful pets.

If you’re not sure which to go for, keep reading! We’ll discuss the Moluccan cockatoo vs Umbrella cockatoo differences, their similarities and which species are better.

Moluccan vs Umbrella: Differences

Both birds are both very popular, they’re quite similar when it comes to appearance.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the Moluccan and Umbrella cockatoo.

Moluccan cockatoo

Feathers (Plumage)

Years of evolution and different habitats have given these birds some minor color feather color differences.

Moluccan cockatoo: Besides the pop of color on their heads, the Moluccan cockatoo is primarily white, along with salmon-colored feathers on their wings and chest. They also have a unique pale yellow to peach color underneath their wings.

Umbrella cockatoo: can be distinguished from other cockatoos by its popular white crest that raises like an Umbrella when the bird is either excited, agitated, or ready to play.

Beak (Bill)

Cockatoos are known for having a very strong beak (Bill), and can often have different colors. Their beaks need to be strong enough in order to crack and crush the nuts they like.

Moluccan cockatoo: their beaks and feet are generally black, although they often appear grey when the bird sheds.

Umbrella cockatoo: like Moluccan cockatoos, their beaks and feet are also black, often appearing grey when the bird sheds.

Size (Length And Width)

Both the Moluccan and Umbrella cockatoo are different in size, with the Moluccan cockatoo being the largest white cockatoo, averaging around 20 inches in length while weighing around 850 grams.

The Umbrella cockatoo is a little smaller, weighing around 565 grams on average and an average of 18 inches in length.

Umbrella cockatoo

Differences In Habitat And Population

Generally, Moluccan cockatoos belong to South Moluccas in eastern Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Umbrella cockatoo can be found around the islands of Central and Northern Moluccas, in Indonesia.

Moluccan Cockatoo: In the wild, this bird inhabits lowland forests, where they can be seen foraging on seeds, nuts, fruit and coconuts.
The Moluccan cockatoo’s beak is known for its ability to exert 500 pounds of pressure, allowing it to crack even the hardest nuts.

Umbrella Cockatoo: can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests and open woodland, mangroves, swamps and agricultural areas, on islands around Indonesia

Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Moluccan Cockatoo is a bit longer than that of the Umbrella cockatoo, with the Moluccan species living up to 70 years in captivity, while the Umbrella species can live up to the age of 60.


Moluccan Cockatoo
This bird is very intelligent and complex and is emotionally very needy, not a bird for the fainthearted. They will form a close bond with one person and can attack others in the household if they’re not properly trained. The Moluccan can develop severe emotional problems when separated from their owner.

With that being said, the Moluccan is an absolutely wonderful pet for the right person who enjoys spending a lot of time with their bird and is willing to provide the necessary training with the love and attention it deserves.

A Moluccan that’s well-adjusted and trained is cuddly and sweet and totally devoted to their owner. If their demanding needs are not met, they may scream constantly. The males are known for developing aggressive tendencies as they get older. This needs to be curtailed through continuous training.

It goes without saying that the Moluccan Cockatoo is not a good choice for an inexperienced parrot owner. The perfect Moluccan owner needs to be gentle, yet disciplined and also appreciates these special parrots for the special beings they are.

Umbrella Cockatoo
Umbrellas are very social birds that need a lot of interaction. These birds can be very loud and their calls (very loud screeching noise) can even be heard up to three miles away.

If the noise and attention levels aren’t too concerning to you, then hand-reared Umbrella cockatoos can make good pets, as they’re sociable, intelligent and they can learn tricks and be trained.

Although they can imitate human speech, they’re not good talkers.

It’s important to note that the Umbrella cockatoo can destroy furniture with their powerful beaks. They can make a lot of loud noise and they’re known for demanding a lot of care and attention.

Are Cockatoos Right For You?

Cockatoos aren’t good pet birds to have for beginners. These birds are extremely moody and emotional. It’s the main reason why they are one of the most abandoned parrots out there.

  1. Not only does it take a lot of time to handle and manage a cockatoo, but they can also bite even though they’ve known you for years.
  2. Cockatoos can’t be left alone for long periods of time. It’s common to see those loving cockatoos in those Instagram posts, but in reality, it’s different. Those people need to spend lots of time with their birds.
  3. While there’re different types of cockatoos like the two mentioned above, all of them have unique personalities, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get an angel regardless of the species.
  4. Cockatoos in general live for a long time – it’s not uncommon for them to live over 55 years, but some cockatoos have been known to live for over 100 years.
  5. Although cockatoos enjoy watching movies, and using block toys (joining things together), they’ll quickly have anxiety issues once you’ve left their eyesight. They can even pluck their own feathers in a panic if they don’t see you.
  6. While cockatoos work well on a routine, they’re like a toddler. You’ll need to adjust your routine according to their demands and still be prepared to get those annoying screams often.
  7. Unlike other birds, cockatoos work well only when they are the center of attention. Cockatoos see themselves at the top of the pecking order. Although, if you really want a cockatoo, then the Umbrella may be the better option, given that they’re generally much calmer than other cockatoo species.


Even if this article has given you an idea as to which cockatoo may better suit you, it’s still a good idea to research more before making a final decision. After all, getting a cockatoo is a commitment for decades to come!

If you know of a family or friend that has a cockatoo, try asking if you can come and visit to get to know their bird. You can also try local pet shops or a local bird rescue center to get to know these birds better.