Definition of cockatoo in US English:



  • A parrot with an erectile crest, found in Australia, eastern Indonesia, and neighboring islands.

    Family Cacatuidae (or Psittacidae): several genera and numerous species, including the sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)

    • ‘Surprisingly, parrots and cockatoos can get jealous of other pets, so if there's a new animal in the house be patient whilst your bird gets used to the newcomer.’
    • ‘Like other cockatoos, the cockatiel has a retractable crest which it raises up and down in response to alarm, excitement and other emotions.’
    • ‘When living at the hotel on Thursday Island in 1891 he installed a cage of parrots and cockatoos on the verandah.’
    • ‘Many parrots, macaws and cockatoos are also being driven close to extinction by international trade.’
    • ‘The foreign birds, most of these parrots and cockatoos, unfortunately need to be kept in cages.’


Mid 17th century: from Dutch kaketoe, from Malay kakatua, the spelling influenced by cock. cockatoo (sense 2 of the noun, date from the 19th century.