Parrots | Sulphur-crested Cockatoo > crests for show | left-handed and foraging |

Did you know that the iconic Australian Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is “left-handed”, or should we say “left-footed”. This can often be observed when they are foraging for food such as fruit and nuts, that they grasp with the left claw.

In juveniles that have just fledged, they are seen experimenting with both hands.

The diet of the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo’s consists of seeds, nuts, berries and roots. They have also been observed eating bindi-eyes from lawns (before the weed turns prickly). Another behaviour that have been observed in the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos in urban areas, is lifting the lids of bins to forage.

Under normal conditions they forage in small to large groups, with some members of the group perched nearby, watching for danger.

When not feeding, birds will bite off smaller branches and leaves from trees. These items are not eaten, however. The activity may help to keep the bill trimmed and from growing too large.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Cacatua
  • Subgenus: Cacatua
  • Species: C. galerita
  • Binomial name: Cacatua galerita

Footnote & References

  1. Parrots tend to be ‘left-handed, 7 February 2011, ABC Science,
  2. Cockatoos in Sydney learning from each other to bin-dive for food, study finds, by Donna Lu, 23 July 2021, The Guardian,