Do Cockatoos Change Color? Facts You Should Know

Sukanya Chakraborty

Do Cockatoos Change Color? Facts You Should Know

The family of birds “Cacatuidae” includes 21 parrot species; any of them should be called Cockatoo. They can be of various colors. Let us know more about their color change.

Cockatoos do not generally change their color but the color variation can be observed during their age process. Color changes in feathers can be seen due to the below listed reasons:

  • Losing Feather
  • Nutritional Deficiency
  • Feather Plucking

1. Losing Feather

Cockatoos change their color after losing their down feathers after their infant stages of the life cycle.
The down feathers are dull in nature and have a white and grey mix in color. The mature feathers are strong, fluffy, and shiny in nature.

2. Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional deficiency, stress, and other health-related issues can cause the color change of the feathers of cockatoos. Nutritional deficiency can affect the body to produce the pigments which are responsible for the coloration of feathers.

3. Feather Plucking

Feather plucking may cause the damage to feather follicles in the case of cockatoo. This damage can hamper the capability to reflect the sunlight and cause discoloration.
The color of the blue feathers of a cockatoo can be deformed by the nanostructure deformation of the feather follicle.

4. Molting

Color change in a cockatoo can be seen in the time of their molting process. During this time they lose their old, ruptured and dull colored feather.
The new evolving feathers are more fluffy and vivid in color.
The feather of a cockatoo includes the pigments like Melanin, Carotenoids, and Porphyrins. The presence of these pigments can also cause different colorations in the case of a cockatoo.

Image Credit: Umbrella cockatoo chicks by
licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Why do Cockatoo feathers go brown

There are different reasons for the change in color of the cockatoo’s feather. Now let us know why their feather turns brown.

See also  Cockatoos and Cats: Can They Get Along?

The feathers of a Cockatoo turn brown due to the presence of a greater amount of Melanin pigment. Cockatoos like to live in the wood hole, hence their feather turns brown due to the presence of wood debris in their feathers.

Why do Cockatoo feathers go black

The color of the cockatoo’s feather also can be turned black. Let us know the facts behind it.

The color of a cockatoo’s feather goes black due to the presence of fat and proteins in the cockatoo’s body. Vitamin A deficiency also can turn the tip and edge of the feathers into black.


The key take outs of this article are cockatoos do not generally change their color. They change the color of the feathers only due to some forced activity, like feather plucking.

Leave a Comment