Hello Captain!

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are known for their inquisitive nature and loud calls.

Our resident sulphur-crested cockatoo, Captain, is particularly talkative! Make sure you stop and say 'hello' next time you're in the Australia Bush Track.

As part of the parrot family, sulphur crested cockatoos have the same defining features – a long curved beak, strong legs and zygodactyl feet, which means they have two toes facing forwards and two facing backwards. This allows them to climb exceptionally well or grasp objects with one foot while standing on the other – pretty handy when you have no hands! 

The "sulphur" in their name refers to the bright yellow plumage on their crest and feathers - it's a very similar colour to the yellow colouring of crystallised sulphur.

At the Zoo

Captain is the resident sulphur-crested cockatoo at Auckland Zoo. He was donated in 1990, and although he likes to talk and mimic keeper voices, he has never told us how old he is... but he could be anywhere between 30 and 80 years old! Some sulphur crested cockatoos can even live to be 100 years old. 

During the day, you will spot Captain hanging out in his large tree stump outside the Australia aviaries. But don’t be surprised if you only catch a glimpse of his white and yellow feathers on the top of his head. Like the ultimate DIYer, Captain spends a lot of his time making modifications to his home with his strong beak. This is very important as cockatoos’ beaks never stop growing! This constant activity helps to keep his beak, and tree stump, in great condition.  

Don't play with your food!

Captain has a varied diet of seeds, fruits and berries, nuts, flowers, leaf buds, roots and insects. Keepers will often hide his food inside pinecones or cabbage leaf parcels. This encourages Captain to manipulate objects with his beak and feet to extract food – just like he would in the wild! 

Crossfit - cockatoo style

Like something you may see at your local Crossfit gym, our keepers use a large rope to help Captain train. The keepers encourage him to climb, hang or roll over the rope as this builds strength in his legs and increases his agility. Like any great gym session, Captain is rewarded with his favourite treats, such as walnuts, brazil nuts or sunflower seeds. 


Hello Captain!

Captain is an absolute star and a firm favourite at the Zoo. Be sure to say hello to Captain in his new home in Strangely Beautiful Australia.


Captain takes a tour of Auckland Zoo!

Check out Captain taking a tour of Auckland Zoo under lockdown.

Other Australia Bush Track Species