Sulphur crested cockatoos dig metre long den at Muirfield Golf Course in North Rocks
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 13:50
City Parrots in Cacatua galerita - Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Oddities

The cockatoos create a cosy den for themselvesA PAIR of sulphur crested cockatoos has been hard at work at Muirfield Golf Course.

The cockatoos continue their work. The burrowing birds caught the attention of Castle Hill’s John Hill who emailed the Hills Shire Times after he came across their strange 1m tunnel.

“Initially they were digging around the base of trees but then they became more ambitious and today have created a small underground den nearly 1m long and with a large earth mound outside from their excavation,” he said.

“Occasionally you can see both birds huddled together at the extremity of their burrow.”

In order to get to the bottom of this curious cockie behaviour, the paper contacted Hills bird expert John Grima from Kellyville Pets.

He said the cockatoos were most likely escaped pets digging the holes for “entertainment”.

“I’ve had a sulphur crested cockatoo called George for 30 years and that’s one thing he loves do, to get into the ground and dig, but it would be abnormal to see a wild bird do that,” he said.

“It wouldn’t be a wild behaviour because it exposes them to predators. It might be an instinctive nesting behaviour, but not in that location.”

A sulphur crested cockatoo digging out a nest in a tree in Castle Hill. Mr Grima said wild cockatoos tended to dig out nests in tree hollows where they could keep an eye out for predators.

Putting a box of shavings or bark in the cage for a pet cockatoo to dig was a good remedy to prevent boredom, he said.

Article originally appeared on (
See website for complete article licensing information.