For some owners, having a loud bird can be the difference between sharing an affectionate relationship with their pet and having a strained, frustrating experience trying to control their bird. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you choose to adopt.
That brings us to our question: are cockatoos loud birds?
Cockatoos are loud birds. In fact, the Moluccan cockatoo is the loudest bird on Earth by volume. Cockatoos make regular calls in the morning and at night and vocalize even more when they’re bored or stressed. Some cockatoos can even reach 135 decibels, audible up to five miles away.
Cockatoos Are the Loudest Family of Parrots
Parrots are a vocal group of birds, on the whole, growing more vocal from infancy to adulthood. The most vocal of all are adult cockatoos, who can make contact calls at ear-splitting frequencies.
The loudest cockatoo — the Moluccan cockatoo — is the loudest bird on Earth, with a call that reaches 135 decibels of noise that you can hear up to five miles away.
For reference, a jumbo jet produces about 140 decibels of noise, and 105 decibels is loud enough to damage the human ear. In other words, at close range, some cockatoos’ calls can actually damage human ears.
Other cockatoos — like citron-crested cockatoos — are loud relative to other birds but quiet compared to the Moluccan cockatoo.
All cockatoos need to call loudly enough to be heard across dense patches of the jungle in their native environments.
Why the Cockatoo Is So Loud & Vocal
Early in life, baby cockatoos vocalize as a way of asking for food. These sounds are quieter and less frequent than what you may hear later from an adult cockatoo.
As an adult, a cockatoo will make loud vocalizations in the morning and at night, calling to its flock. These sessions will typically last about 20 to 25 minutes.
The morning vocalizations of a cockatoo have a few different meanings in the wild. One is a celebration of having made it through another night.
Another is announcing territory, and the third is a call to gather together for food and socialization.
The nighttime vocalizations of a cockatoo call for the flock members to gather, a sign to the others that it’s time to roost.
It’s a way for them to keep track of each other and know that they’re all roosting near each other.
Cockatoos & Unusual Vocalizations
If your cockatoo suddenly becomes more vocal outside its regular pattern of noises, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Cockatoos will use their voices to warn the others in the flock that something isn’t quite right.
This could be a sign that your cockatoo is distressed or has an illness and could be a good reason to visit a trusted avian veterinarian.
However, new or different vocalizations can also be a benign response to a louder environment.
A cockatoo will typically try to outdo whatever loud noises are around it, whether it be a television or a screaming child. While this can be frustrating, it isn’t concerning.
Which Birds Are the Loudest?
Moluccan cockatoos are the loudest birds on Earth in terms of their maximum volume.
Large parrots like cockatoos, macaws, and African Greys are the loudest birds in general, although other birds vocalize more frequently, like cockatiels, budgies, lovebirds, and parrotlets.
Conures are both loud and frequent in their vocalizations.
Which Birds Are the Quietest?
Among the quietest birds you can keep as pets are cockatiels, parakeets, canaries, Senegal parrots, and Pacific parrotlets.
Female cockatiels are especially quiet and yet can still learn to repeat human words. Parakeets can also learn human words and be trained to use them.
Canaries have cheerful songs, but the volume is much lower than that of a parrot.
How To Live With a Loud Parrot Like a Cockatoo
You can do several things to make living with your cockatoo or another loud parrot more peaceful, from training to environmental changes.
The most important thing is that you listen to your parrot, reward positive behaviors, ignore negative ones, and respond to any alarm.
Parrots will sometimes make noise because they want attention, but this is a learned behavior that can be unlearned through positive reinforcement.
You can teach your parrot to use a softer sound to get your attention instead, simply by only responding when you hear the kind of noise you want to hear regularly.
You can also try talking to your parrot in a calm voice or whispering as a way of lowering its energy level and decreasing the volume of its vocalizations.
This will work if your parrot is screaming out of excitement, but not necessarily if the parrot is vocalizing for other reasons.
Additionally, providing your cockatoo or other loud parrots with enough stimulation is key to preventing excessive vocalization.
This could be through out-of-cage time or via mental stimulation with toys, like the MewToGo Bird Block Toy with Bells.
What To Consider Before Getting a Cockatoo
Cockatoos are one of the most common choices for pet birds and are very social. In the wild, they’ll form flocks of over 100 birds, and in domesticity, they’re very affectionate towards their owners.
Because cockatoos bond so strongly with their humans, however, they can have severe separation anxiety when you’re away.
This can lead to excessive vocalization, self-mutilation, and other signs of restlessness.
Cockatoos also need a considerable amount of time outside the cage; too much time in the cage can also lead to behavioral issues like excessive screaming and restlessness.
If you decide to adopt a cockatoo, know that you’re signing up for a bird that needs a lot of time and attention, often more than an average owner can give.
These birds are often re-homed because the owner couldn’t handle the bird’s needs or underestimated the noise it would make, which can be very jarring for the bird.
You’ll also want to make sure that your living space is appropriate for such a loud bird.
Even if you can tolerate frequent vocalization, your neighbors might take issue with the sound and consider your bird a disturbance.
Out of caution and consideration, consider whether your living space is an appropriate place for one of these birds.
If You Decide Against Adopting a Cockatoo
If you ultimately decide that you can’t bring a cockatoo into your living space, know that you still have many options for getting to know and appreciate these creatures.
You can visit a bird rescue or sanctuary, where cockatoos and other birds can vocalize freely without worry that they’ll disturb others.
Cockatoos are impressive birds and deserve to be appreciated. You just need to make sure that your lifestyle can accommodate such a pet before bringing one into your home.
Cockatoos are very loud birds; in fact, the Moluccan cockatoo is the loudest bird globally, producing about as much noise as a jumbo jet in volume.
Living with such a loud bird can be very difficult, and it’s essential to consider this before you adopt. Although you can encourage quieter behavior, there is no way to change the vocal nature of these birds completely.