The Moluccan or Salmon Crested Cockatoo from the Indonesian Islands of Ceram, Saparau and Haruku is probably one of the most beautiful cockatoos ever with a very docile and affectionate personality. They are extremely noisy and a handreared Moluccan baby that is left alone in the day will use its thunderous voice to call for attention, much to the detriment of the owner and neighbours.

These parrots are today listed as CITES 1 as they have been overtrapped and exploited to endangered status in the wild.

As an avicultural subject they are extremely sort after, enjoying tremendous prices in South Africa.

These parrots have not been exported from Indonesia until being placed on CITES 1 in 1989 in vast numbers to the USA. According to records about 54 500 were exported legally, and nobody knows how many illegal parrots traded hands since then.

They are large imposing parrots varying from white tinged with pink to a light Salmon coloured parrot, with a stunning Salmon umbrella like crest. They are about 50 cm long and can weigh up to 850g. The beak is black, the periorbital skin is white and the legs are grey.
Male and female can be told apart by the eye colour, which is dark brown to black in the male and reddish brown in the female. Immature Moluccans however have black pools for eyes.

Housing in Aviculture

I keep my Moluccans in suspended L-shaped aviaries. A variety of perches are provided all over the aviary, my parrots prefer to scamper along the perches to flying. Moluccans also love to shower in the rain, often hanging upside down with wings spread in the afternoon rain-shower. Moluccans as well as other parrots will always choose the highest perch on which to roost at night, so a perch at the back in front of the nestbox is placed higher than the so that they will roost there at night. I also provide them with old pieces of wood on the floor of the suspended aviary so that they destroy that instead of the perches.

They are as noisy as other cockatoos if not more, they are likely to offend neighbors. My pairs do tend to attack the aviary wire, and any exposed the woodwork, nests, perches etc. So provide sturdy built aviaries with heavy gauge wiring, or you might end up having to chase after free flying parrots all over the neighborhood.

Breeding in Aviculture

Moluccans tend not to be prolific breeders, often only having 1 chick in a nest although there are exceptions to the rule, I have seen pairs producing 5-8 chicks a season We take their babies away at 15 days old if it is the first clutch of the season and all other clutches are left with the parents for 6 weeks before being taken for handrearing.

I provide a horizontal steel nest box (50 cm x 50cm x 90 cm long), lined with wood. They are provided with a food dish at perch height and two water dishes at floor level, my pairs refuse to go down to the floor to eat so I had to move their food dishes up Nestboxes for all cockatoos should be made of thick wooden planks or nesting logs which will also be destroyed in time. They also need sturdy perches for successful mating, no wonky ones as this can result in unfertilized eggs and a waste of a breeding season.

I supply my Moluccans fresh eucalyptus ,willow and peach leaves and branches before and during the breeding season.

Moluccans usually only become sexually mature at around 3 years old. The younger they are the more the chances of problems occurring are, as they are inexperienced, so you could end up with, infertile or broken eggs, or they may not incubate or feed properly.


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