When surprised, it extends a large and striking crest, which has a semi-circular shape (similar to an umbrella, hence the alternative name). The undersides of the wings and tail have a pale yellow or lemon colour which flashes when they fly.
Like all cockatoos, the White Cockatoo nests in hollows of large trees. Its eggs are white and there are usually two in a clutch. During the incubation period - about 28 days –- both the female and male incubate the eggs. The larger chick becomes dominant over the smaller chick and takes more of the food. The chicks leave the nest about 84 days after hatching.
The White Cockatoo is considered vulnerable by the IUCN. Its numbers in the wild have declined owing to capture for the cage bird trade and habitat loss. It is listed in appendix II of the CITES list which gives it protection by restricting export and import of wild-caught birds. BirdLife International indicates that catch quotas issued by the Indonesian government were 'exceeded by up to 18 times in some localities' in 1991, with at least 6,600 Umbrella Cockatoos being taken from the wild by trappers - although fewer birds have been taken from the wild in recent years, both in numerical terms and when taken as a proportion of the entire population.