Skip to Content

21 Extraordinary Free Vintage Cockatoo Paintings & Prints To Download

Discover the timeless allure of our collection of free vintage cockatoo prints. Immerse yourself in ornithological elegance with antique illustrations that capture the majestic beauty of cockatoos. Perfect for art enthusiasts and interior décor.

Cockatoos are my favourite birds.  The yellow-crested cockatoo (the lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo) is more precise.   

As a child in Hong Kong, I spotted cockatoos in the garden.  I would hear the boisterous birds before seeing them.  They seemed exotic birds fighting on the bird table with the blue-tailed magpies for the nuts and seeds.

The Cockatoos of Hong Kong

The densely populated city of Hong Kong seems a bit odd as a habitat for such an exotic bird.  However, a significant proportion (10%) of the last remaining population of 2000 Yellow Crested cockatoos thrive in this metropolis.

It is believed that this population of cockatoos all developed from escaped caged birds. 

Legend has it that during the second world war, the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, released the Government House’s entire bird collection, including many yellow-crested cockatoos.

He did this just hours before surrendering Hong Kong to Japanese troops on Christmas Day 1941.

19 vintage cockatoo prints and illustrations pin

Fun Facts about Cockatoos

  • Cockatoos are a type of parrot belonging to the family Cacatuidae
  • There are 21 species of cockatoos, mainly distributed around Australasia, with some in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. (Also, don’t forget the tiny population in Hong Kong)
  • Cockatoos are very social birds and often form strong bonds with their owners. They are known to be very affectionate and enjoy being petted and cuddled.
  • Cockatoos are very intelligent and have been known to learn how to use tools in order to obtain food. They are also capable of solving complex problems and puzzles.
  • Cockatoos are noisy birds known for their loud squawking and screeching calls. They use these calls to communicate with each other and to warn of potential predators. Their calls can be heard up to 5 miles away.
  • The birds have a unique way of drinking water. They scoop the water up in their beaks and then tilt their heads back to let it run down their throats.
  • Their main body feathers tend to be white grey or black, but their features, such as crests and tails, are often coloured.

The Vintage Cockatoo Prints 1-6

To download the cockatoo prints, click on the image title you want. A higher-resolution cockatoo illustration will open up in a new tab in your browser.

Click on the image to save it to your device or print it.

1.Tricolor Crested Cockatoo

Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is one of the prettiest cockatoos, with its white and salmon-pink plumage and large, bright red and yellow crest.

It is named in honour of Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, who wrote, “Few birds more enliven the monotonous hues of the Australian forest than this beautiful species whose pink-colored wings and flowing crest might have embellished the air of a more voluptuous region.

This vintage cockatoo print is from the book “The Natural History of Parrots” (1836) by Prideaux J. Selby.

Tricolor crested cockatoo

2. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Another vintage cockatoo print from the book “The Natural History of Parrots” (1836) by Prideaux J. Selby.

The Sulphur-crested cockatoo has adapted well to urban life. They live in large numbers in certain parts of Australia and are considered a pest due to their damage to crops, tree seedlings, soft timber on houses and even outdoor furniture.

Sulphur crested cockatoo

3. Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

This beautiful cockatoo painting is from the wonderful parrot paintings of Edward Lear. From his 1832 book “Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots”.

This magnificent bird is a sub-species of the Sulphur-crested cockatoo and one of the largest cockatoo species. Captain cook captured one of these birds on his 1770 voyage to Australia.

4. Leadbetters Cockatoo

 A painting of a Cockatoo, also known as Leadbeater’s Cockatoo. This is the same cockatoo, also known as Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo.

Perhaps because it is such a beautiful and striking bird, everyone wanted the bird to be named after them!

Another one of Edward Lear’s beautiful cockatoo illustrations.

5. Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Print

My favorite bird, the very noisy cockatoos that I mentioned in the introduction that colonized Hong Kong.

Another wonderful Edward Lear painting.

Sulpher crested cockatoo

6. Red Tailed Black Cockatoo Illustration

The red-tailed black cockatoo is also known as the Banksian cockatoo. This large bird is native to Australia. Adult males have a characteristic pair of bright red panels on the tail that gives the species its name.

This beautiful cockatoo print is by Elizabeth Gould and from the book “The Birds of Australia” by John Gould.

vintage bird cockatoo print of a red tailed black cockatoo

Cockatoo Prints 7-14

7. Rose-breasted Cockatoos

Another one of Elizabeth Gould’s paintings this of a pair of Rose-breasted cockatoos. Also known as “Galahs”, and are one of Australia’s most widespread cockatoos.

“Galah” is also derogatory Australian slang, synonymous with ” fool, ” ” clown, ” or ‘idiot’. Because of the bird’s distinctive bright pink, it is also used for gaudy dress.

Free prints of Galah's

8. Funeral Cockatoo

Or yellow-tailed black cockatoo. The cockatoo print is again by Elizabeth Gould.

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo was first identified by the English naturalist George Shaw and given the name Psittacus funereus. The name funereus relates to its dark and sombre plumage, as if the cockatoo was dressed for a funeral.

Yellow Tailed black cockatoo print

9. Gang-gang Cockatoo

The gang-gang cockatoo is a grey bird with a wispy crest. The head and crest are bright red in males but dark grey in females.

It is easily identified by its distinctive call, which resembles a creaky gate or the sound of a cork being pulled from a wine bottle.

Another one of Elizabeth Gould’s wonderful cockatoo prints.

gang-gang cockatoo prints

10. Grey Palm Cockatoo

This cockatoo is also known as the Goliath cockatoo or great black cockatoo.

It is a large smoky-grey or black cockatoo native to New Guinea, Aru Islands, and the Cape York Peninsula. The bird is distinguished by its large black beak and prominent red cheek patches.

This cockatoo illustration is from “The Birds of Australia” (1890) by Broinowski.

Grey Palm Cockatoo

11. Bloodstained Cockatoo Print

This cockatoo is more commonly known as the little corella or little cockatoo and is a white cockatoo native to Australia and southern New Guinea.

This cockatoo illustration is from “The Birds of Australia” (1890) by Broinowski.

Bloodstained Cockatoo  or Little  corella

12. Long Billed Cockatoo

Also more commonly known as the long-billed corella. The cockatoo is similar in appearance to the little corella and sulphur-crested cockatoo.  

This species is primarily white, with a reddish-pink face and forehead, and has a long, pale beak used to dig for roots and seeds. The bird also has reddish-pink feathers on the breast and belly.

This cockatoo illustration is from “The Birds of Australia” (1890) by Broinowski.

13. White -tailed Black Cockatoo

This cockatoo is also known as Baudin’s cockatoo. The bird has a short crest on its head, and the plumage is primarily greyish-black. It has prominent white cheek patches and a white tail band. The body feathers are edged with white, giving a scalloped appearance.

This cockatoo print is from Mathews, Gregory M. “The birds of Australia” (1916).

Cockatoo Prints

14. Salmon Crested Cockatoo

This is the largest of the white cockatoos. The bird has a distinctive sizeable retractable crest which it raises when threatened. When open, the crest reveals bright red-orange plumes to frighten potential attackers.

The crest can also be opened in excitement or other ’emotional’ displays. Some describe the crest as “flamingo-coloured.”

It also has one of the louder calls in the parrot world and in captivity is a very good mimic.

This cockatoo illustration is by George Edwards and is from the collection held at the University of Amsterdam.

You will find a George Edwards owl drawing in this collection here.

Salmon crested cockatoo

Cockatoo Prints 15-21

15. Salmon Crested Cockatoo – Edward Lear

Another beautiful cockatoo print of a Salmon Crested Cockatoo. This one was painted by Edward Lear.

16. Lemon Lesser Cockatoo

Now more commonly known as the citron lesser cockatoo. This is the smallest of the yellow-crested cockatoos and is native to Indonesia.

This cockatoo print is from the book “Parrots in Captivity” (1884) by Dutton, Frederick George; Greene, William Thomas.

lesser lemon crested cockatoo

17. Goffins Cockatoo Print

Another excellent illustration from the book “Parrots in Captivity” (1884) by Dutton, Frederick George; Greene, William Thomas.

Goffin’s cockatoo is commonly known as the Tanimbar corella or the blushing cockatoo. This is the smallest white cockatoo and is endemic to the Tanimbar islands of Indonesia.

Goffins Cockatoo

18. Lesser Lemon Crested Cockatoo

The lesser lemon-crested cockatoo is perched on the left. I included this print of parrots and cockatoos as I thought it was a beautiful painting.

The print is from the 1905 “The New International Encyclopedia“.

Free print of cockatoos and parrots

19. Salmon-Crested Cockatoo Sketches

These sketches of salmon crested cockatoos is from the vintage nature illustrations of Jan Brandes.

Salmon Crested cockatoo sketches

Print 20: Ohara Koson Pair of Cockatoos

A fantastic Japanese woodblock print of a pair of perched cockatoos by the Japanese artist Ohara Koson.

two cockatoo's on plum blossom Ohara Koson

Print 21: Cockatoo and Pomegranate

Another one of Ohara Koson’s bird paintings of a cockatoo.

Ohara Koson Bird painting cockatoo and pomegranate

Print 22: Cockatoo on Swing

From Kono Bairei’s Japanese paintings of birds and flowers.

Kono Bairei Cockatoo on Perch

Other Vintage Bird Illustrations

I hope you enjoyed this wonderful collection of vintage cockatoo prints. Vintage paintings of tropical birds can make a great addition to home decor. You’ll find more exotic bird art here, with LeVaillants, birds of paradise, rollers and barbets.

Cockatoos are a popular element in Art Nouveau animal designs.

For more colourful birds check out these vintage hummingbird prints.

I have a tutorial on creating a great gallery wall from old picture frames using vintage bird prints. I’ve also used these cockatoo images to make some cool jar lid Christmas ornaments for the tree.

If you want more tropical bird prints, check out this collection of toucan paintings, flamingo art pints, and Beautiful images of American songbirds.

I even have a collection of vintage dodo drawings and a pictural alphabet of birds.

Rebecca Payne

Friday 7th of February 2020

I love all of the vintage photo's you post.


Friday 7th of February 2020

Thank you 😊 I love finding them.