Cockatoo and parrot

There are a wide range of cockatoo, parrot and lorikeet species found across the Northern Territory (NT). 

All native species of cockatoo, parrot and lorikeet are protected in the NT. 

You should not interfere with these birds without a permit. Read about wildlife permits.

Cockatoos and parrots usually nest in tree hollows, with breeding activity dependent on seasonal weather and food availability. Some parrots play a role in pollination of a range of native plants.  

Parrots are one of the most colourful and familiar type of birds. Some species are popular as aviary birds and are bred in captivity to be pets.


Cockatoos and parrots eat a range of foods, including seeds, flowers, fruits and grasses. 

Lorikeets are specialised feeders and, like honeyeaters, use their long tongue to feed on flower nectar. 

Cockatoos and parrots travel long distances to find seasonal food and water, often in huge flocks.


Habitat loss is a major threat to cockatoos and parrots as they need hollows in large trees for breeding. Land clearing native woodlands and removal of large hollow bearing trees affects these birds. 

Illegal smuggling of cockatoos and parrots for the pet trade threatens the survival of many Australian species. Read how to report a wildlife crime.

Most parrots and cockatoos in urban environments, such as budgerigars and corellas, are very common and found throughout most of the NT. 

These urban parrots and cockatoos often fall victim to cat and dog attacks, car accidents and window strikes.

Interactions with people

Cockatoos and parrots take advantage of reliable food supplies and well irrigated habitats. 

In agricultural areas, birds can form large flocks that can damage fruit and grain crops. 

During nesting, cockatoos can also damage mature trees and occasionally damage wooden structures, such as building frames and fences. 

In some situations large flocks of roosting birds in urban and suburban areas may be considered a nuisance.

Cockatoos and parrots near your home

If you find cockatoos or parrots a nuisance in your yard or property you can try any of the following: 

  • prune trees and shrubs and remove excessive fruit that may attract birds
  • hang strips of aluminium foil/aluminium pie dishes/blank CDs in trees to deter birds
  • move or cover vehicles or any equipment or furniture below roosting sites
  • tie bags around developing fruit on trees and remove excess fruit.

If you own a cat, keep them inside or only let them out during the day with bells on their collar. Where possible, keep cats away from birds to avoid attacks.

Last updated: 01 September 2015

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