There are 21 different species of cockatoos, but the types most commonly kept as pets include the bare-eyed, black palm, citron, Goffin's, Moluccan, rose-breasted, slender-billed, sulphur-crested and umbrella cockatoos. The smallest and easiest to care for species of cockatoo is the cockatiel.
Cockatoos are part of the order of parrots. They usually have curved bills and flamboyant crests. Plumage varies from species to species, but it is generally less colorful than that of other parrots. Apart from the cockatiel, they are large, heavy and squat with short legs and strong claws. Their powerful bills are complemented by muscular tongues with which they can manipulate seeds inside their mouths.
Though cockatoos are prized as pets, in some places they are also considered menaces to agriculture. They damage commercial crops, vineyards and orchards as well as chew communications wiring and fittings on houses. Due to habitat loss and poaching for the wildlife trade, several species are considered vulnerable or critically endangered, including the yellow-crested cockatoo and the red-vented cockatoo. Most species of cockatoo are not able to mimic human speech as well as other parrots can. They are social birds and don't thrive if caged alone. Cockatoos are easily bored and require a significant amount of attention. If well treated, they can live long lives of 20 to 80 years, depending on the species.