Triton Cockatoo Profile

TRITON COCKATOO 
Cacatua galerita triton 

» Sub-species of Cacatua galerita
» At 18" their size is between the Eleonor and the Greater Sulfur-crest
» Range is western Papuan Islands, Indonesia and New Guinea


I personally think that Triton Cockatoos are the smartest birds I have ever worked with ... perhaps even smarter than many of the people that they live with! They certainly can manipulate people into doing their bidding. Tritons are the real tricksters of the cockatoo world. Many bird show trainers find Tritons to be one of the best show birds. These intelligent birds need a caregiver who will set rules and provide guidance. When worked with to teach them to talk, Tritons can be one of the best talking parrots often with appropriate conversation for the situation and clear enunciation. They need constant stimulation of their curiosity and intelligence but not constant attention or a lot of cuddling. It is essential to provide them with a lot of instructional interaction. The more tricks they learn and can perform for their caregivers or visitors, the happier and better behaved they are. Positive trained behaviors and/or tricks can be used to "change the channel" and distract negative behaviors. 

Tritons will make up games for you with their rules if you don’t make the rules first! I have met several Tritons who love to play what I call "dance when I say dance." This involves the cockatoo getting down on the floor and chasing a person around the room. While this game is usually initiation of play in the beginning, it is interpreted as aggression and the person usually dances around and jumps up and down to avoid the cockatoo and the bird sets the rule for the game. It becomes a really fun game for the "drama" loving cockatoo. Other cockatoos play this game but it seems to me that the Triton is the one who loves it the most.


It is important to socialize for independence by teaching them to entertain themselves at a young age. Well-socialized Tritons can be extraordinarily affectionate and loving if consistently nurtured as they mature. They are often dominant and strong-willed ... especially the males. The trade-off for talking can be a high noise potential with a shrill voice so it is best to read up on the prevention of excessive screaming before the problem is created. Most of all teaching them positive behaviors that can be cued as a substitute for screaming is the best way to change the negative behavior. Tritons are one of the few cockatoos who are easy to manipulate with food but it is unacceptable to use deprivation to get them to do tricks.


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