Deciding to bring a bird into your home might be life-changing but it isn't the biggest decision you'll make. The more complex issue is what type of parrot you should adopt. With about 360 different species of parrots, it will be tough narrowing it down to just one. A popular choice is the bare-eyed cockatoo. Although the blue rings around their eyes might be unattractive to some, these mid-sized parrots make delightful companions.
These cockatoos are called "bare-eyed" because of the blue, puffy rings of skin around their eyes. With no feathers in that area, the bare skin makes them look like they've missed a few hours' sleep, but it's a natural feature. With white feathers and a cockatoo's signature crest -- although it's much smaller than other cockatoo species' -- some sport a light brown color underneath the feathers on their wings and tails and others may have pink markings on their faces and yellowish "smudges" under their ears. Not small, bare-eyed cockatoos aren't large, either, growing to be between 14 and 16 inches and tipping the scales at around 20 ounces.
Bare-eyed cockatoos are quite intelligent and enjoy figuring things out. They can turn almost anything into a game, including the latches on their cage doors. In 2011's "Birds for Dummies," Gina Spadafori and Brian L. Speer write that bare-eyed cockatoos never met a toy or a cage door they couldn't figure out or take apart. That feature of their personalities necessitates padlocks on the cage door. It's the intelligence trait, however, that makes bare-eyed cockatoos skillful in quickly learning tricks, and it's the clownish showman in them that inspires these birds to eagerly perform the behaviors you teach them -- and maybe even some you didn't.
Bare-eyed cockatoos are true 'toos when it comes to their inclination to want to monopolize your time. It's necessary to spend quality time interacting with your bare-eyed baby, but you should also encourage him to be independent and keep himself occupied. About an hour of interactive play time with you and two or three hours -- or more, if possible -- outside his cage should keep your bare-eyed cockatoo happy. Supply him with plenty of toys and bird-safe gadgets to encourage him to play nice on his own so that he doesn't become a screamer or a one-bird demolition machine in an attempt to acquire the attention he thinks he deserves.
In the cockatoo family, the best talkers are the bare-eyed 'toos. They're exceptional at imitating humans, too. Don't be surprised if your feathered friend masters words you didn't even know he heard and perfectly mimics your or another family member's voice.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.