Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Did you know?

The species name,  leadbeateri, of the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo commemorates Benjamin Leadbeater (1760 – 1837), a London natural history merchant who supplied specimens to the British Museum.

Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Average size: 
Average weight: 
Breeding season: 
August -November
Clutch Size: 
26 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The Major Mitchell's Cockato is a small, largely white cockatoo with pink on the sides of its head, around its neck, on its underbody and under its wings. The crest appears white when folded but when raised and spread it has a broad red band with a yellow stripe through the middle. This cockatoo is also known as Leadbeater's, Desert, Major Mitchell or Pink Cockatoo; Cocklerina, Chockalott or Wee Juggler.

Similar species: 

The stunning light pink colour makes this cockatoo unmistakeable.  It is much paler than the Galah. 

Where does it live?

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo is mainly found in inland arid areas, but sometimes strays well outside its normal range. In Queensland it is generally found south of 25*S in central, southern Queensland. In New south Wales it is widespread west of 147*E, but is found further east. In Victoria it is mostly restricted to the northwest of the state. It is found in a range of arid inland areas in South and Western Australia and in the Northern Territory,south of 17*S. (Birds seen near Brisbane, Sydney or Canberra are probably escapees from aviaries).


Major Mitchell's Cockatoos live mostly in semi-arid and arid areas, in dry woodlands, particuarly mallee. They are also found in stands of River Red Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, or Black Box, E. largiflorens, and on sand plains and dunes. Sometimes they are found in other areas such as Acacia shrubland with a spinifex (Trioda) ground cover, or Banksia heathlands.

Seasonal movements: 

Major Mitchell's Cockatoos may live in much the same area all year round if there is sufficient water. They can be partly nomadic in arid areas, moving in response to the availability of food and water.  

What does it do?

Major Mitchell's Cockatoos lives on a range of foods - seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants, fruit, roots, bulbs and insect larvae.


Major Mitchell's Cockatoos nest in large hollows in trees such as River Red Gum, E.  camaldulensis, Black Box, E. largiflorens, Coolibah, E. microtheca, or Callitris. The eggs are laid on a bed of decayed wood, woodchips and bark. Male and female will chew at a tree-hollow to enlarge it, and both will sit on the eggs while incubating them. Both male and female feed and preen the chicks.

Living with us

Populations of Major Mitchell's Cockatoos have declined and their ranges been reduced by: land clearing, which has decreased the availability of nesting hollows; trapping and nest-robbing for the captive bird trade; replacement of suitable habitats with cereal crops, which reduces food variety.

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