How to Tell the Age of a Cockatoo

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Cockatoos are beautifully plumed, intelligent relatives of parrots. There are 18 species of cockatoo, several of which are commonly kept as pets. Cockatoos can live to be more than 60 years old, and possibly much older. However, it's difficult to tell the age of a cockatoo.

Though there are some differences between young cockatoos and older ones, it is nearly impossible to tell the exact age of a cockatoo unless you know someone who had it as a baby.

Look at the cockatoo's beak. Younger birds have pale, smooth beaks, while older ones have darker beaks with rougher surfaces.

Examine the bird's plumage. Older cockatoos have fuller, more colourful plumage than younger ones of the same species. However, many cockatoos are solid white or black.

Ask the person or pet store owner you purchased the cockatoo from how long he had it. The previous owner might know something about the cockatoo's history, even if he didn't have it as a baby.

Look for eggs in the winter and spring if your cockatoo is female. Female cockatoos begin laying eggs at three to eight years old; if your cockatoo lays eggs, you can guess that she is at least three.