White Cockatoos are kept as pets because they can be very affectionate, bond closely with people and are valued for their beauty. They are often called "velcro birds" because they like to cuddle with people, especially their owners, or primary care-taker. Anyone not used to cockatoo behavior may find this cuddling behavior odd, as most parrots do not cuddle like the Umbrella cockatoo. Although capable of imitating basic human speech, they are not considered the most able speakers among parrots. They are often used in live animal acts in zoos and amusement parks because they are naturally acrobatic and easily trained, because of their highly social nature and high level of intelligence.
Cockatoos are also noisier than many parrots. They can become very bonded (or dependent) on human companion and this combined with their long life and often misunderstood behaviors can lead to behavior issues.. They have very strong beaks, and umbrellas are capable of breaking walnuts and fingers if very scared. They have a "fight or flight" flock mentality, and general prefer to fly away from danger. In a cage, with no escape path, they can be subjected to stress which often leads to feather picking (as with many pet birds).
Pet White Cockatoos may raise their crests upon training, or when something catches their interest such as a new toy or person.
Health issues with captive birds are common since many people do not provide a proper diet for cockatoos. Seeds provide little nutrition (they are mostly fat) and is considered similar to a person living on junk food. Assorted fresh fruits and veggies and properly created pellets available at many good pet stores is more appropriate. A sick bird naturally will try to hide its health issues. Generally it is considered that in the wild a flock will kick an unhealthy bird out of the flock for fear of attracting predators. An often cited rule of thumb among avian enthusiasts is "if the bird looks sick, it's very very sick, possibly near death". As such qualified avian vet care is required.
Signs of a sick bird can be (but not limited to) runny eyes, sluggish behavior, unusually colored droppings (esp indicating blood in the digestive tract), sleeping more than normal, droopy wings, tail bobbing when sleeping (indicating difficulty in breathing), sleeping on the bottom of the cage (birds naturally want to be high on a perch), unusual behavior, feather plucking, biting themselves, and a drop in appetite are a few symptoms of illness.
Read more about this topic: White Cockatoo
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