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Moluccan Colony Notes

We have over 70 Moluccans in our Sanctuary.

The Moluccan Colony is the most loving, they are an extremely close group. New birds male or female, are welcomed into the existing flock immediately.



 They snuggle together so tightly, that it is hard to tell where one starts and the other one ends. Just a big pile of pink feathers.  In other photos of the Cockatoo Colonies, you will see the other species maintain a personal space between each other during the day. A radius of between 1 to 2’.  Humans do the same thing. The space we keep between each other while waiting in a grocery line.  It is fascinating that the Moluccans do not  need  the  personal space, the other Cockatoos do.



The picture on the right, is a common sight. The top perch is the sleeping perch. They have a flock rule that there is no playing on the sleeping perch! Those who ignore this “rule” are promptly scolded by the group.















Overall Mood: The Moluccan Colony is very active. The birds enjoy walking around on the ground, foraging and climbing up and over logs. They hang upside down, play, dance and scream until naptime. Everyone quiets down for the 11 to noon nap and again at 2 till 3 PM. When the nap is over, playtime begins again.


This colony was completed July 2000, and we left an open flight path. We assumed, the birds would enjoy the opportunity to fly laps.  They did not fly as expected. Instead, they would rather, walk and climb thru the maze of branches. The other colonies do the same thing. They do not fly laps for exercise. Eventually, we filled in the open flight paths, with more branches.


It is interesting to note, our Cockatoos communicate their needs and wants in the same way, birds do in a pet home. It is  a much larger scale! Each colony has different preferences on how they want things arranged. If the perches are arranged the wrong way, or something is out of line,…...we hear about it! 


Wild Caught Ratio: Wild Caught 50% Domestic 50%

Elbow Room: The Moluccans cluster together most of the day. We rarely see a bird sitting alone. If so, it is not for long.

This spring 2007, we plan to build an addition to the Moluccan Colony that, will double their  space. 





Right and Below: Summer sprinkler showers. They will also, on occasion, take surprise midnight rain baths…..year round!

The Sulphur-crested in the colony is a hybrid of  Triton and Moluccan.




Noise Level: The wild caught birds vocalize less often then the domestics. Since the Cockatoos have constant companionship, the birds are not as interested or demanding of human attention and scream less. They do not lose their “tameness” but they lose their desperation.



The Moluccans are slow to wake in the morning. They start vocalizing about 8:30 am and it does not last very long. The birds that have the most stamina are the Umbrellas! They definitely hold the record here! The Moluccans have the volume but, not the stamina of the Umbrellas.



Aggression Issues: Breeding facilities often experience aggression problems with their Moluccan pairs. The incidents of aggression at the Cockatoo Rescue and Sanctuary are so minor, that we hesitate to mention them. The number 1 reason for aggression at this facility is too few perches in the colony. If we are behind on replacing chewed perches, the birds start getting cranky with each other.  Something so simple yet, we see this pattern in all of our colonies.  It may look as though there are plenty of branches but, the birds like the flights full! They also use the vertical logs for climbing.  The photo shown above, is a good example of a fully stocked flight. It will last a couple of months. We have an area on the property where we grow and  harvest, sapling alder tree’s for perches.








Below: We are often asked if it is possible to tell the birds apart. As you can see in the photos below, the eye ring shape and color varies. As does, feather color and thickness.


Moluccans are one of the few Cockatoos where sex cannot be differentiated, in mature birds, by eye color. But, did you know that you can tell males from females by the beak size? The males are pictured below left, girls on the right.  We do not run sexing tests on Sanctuary residents,  many of them were tested by their previous owners.


Several years ago, we divided the Moluccan flock into two groups. We felt that the population had grown to a point where, they would be happier with the change. Newer arrivals were pulled out and relocated to an adjacent colony.


It lasted only a couple of weeks. Both colonies clung to the wire, staring at the other. At first, we thought they were just resistant to change.  They clung on the wire, staring at each other, for days! It was pathetic!! We felt so bad!  We moved them back into the same flight, and every one was happy and continent again.


We have learned so much, from observing the Moluccan colony. They know what they want, it is our job to pay attention and let them train us. Cockatoos sure know how to get their point across.



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