Cacatua leadbeateri

Major Mitchell'scockatoo, orLeadbeater's cockatoo, orPinkcockatoo(Cacatua leadbeateri, orLophocroa leadbeateri, orKakatoe leadbeateri)

Phylum —chordata
Class — aves
Order — psittaciformes
Family — cacatuidae

Genus – cacatua


Major Mitchell's cockatoois a small to medium size bird weighing 300 to 450 grams. They range from 35 to 40 centimeters long with a wing span of roughly 81 centimeters. Pink cockatoois a distinctively colored species, and is often referred to as the "pink cockatoos". These birds have a white back, tail, and wings. Its breast, head, and stomach can vary in color from pale salmon to robust pink. The underside of the wings and base of the tail is similar in color to their breast and stomach, but often richer and deeper in color. Just before the crest is a white patch of plumage with a red frontal band above the bill.

Pink cockatoois most known for its prominent crest. The crest is banded red-yellow-red with white tips. The crest’s bands can help to distinguish the two subspecies. Subspecies C. l. leadbeateri has a more prominent yellow band while subspecies C. l. mollis has little to no yellow in the crest. Their feet are gray.

Leadbeater's cockatoohas a very strong bill which is off-white or pale beige in color and decurved at the very tip. Its eyes range from dark brown in males to a lighter reddish brown in females.

Females are very similar to males in plumage, except that their plumage is duller with a white upper belly. Their crest may have a slightly larger yellow band than males. The females are also slightly smaller.


Major Mitchell's cockatoo is endemic to Australia and inhabits interior central and southwest areas.


Breeding pairs are very territorial, and will not nest closer than 1 km to another nesting pair. During the non-breeding season pairs often interact with many other pairs creating flocks of 10 to 50 birds. They can often be seen with other cockatoo species including Galahs (Cacatua roseicapilla) and Little corellas (Cacatua sanguinea). Pink cockatoois a diurnal species. During the day these birds can be found on the ground or in trees often foraging for seeds. They are weak fliers, and are characterized by slow, labored, low altitude flight. This species will often fly short distances and rest before taking flight again. They are mainly a sedentary species, and will perform local migrations in search of food resources.


Major Mitchell's cockatoofeeds on seeds, nuts, grains, fruits and tubers.


Major Mitchell's cockatoo is a monogamous species and forms life-long pair bonds. Courtship consists of visual displays where the male struts while bobbing his head, swaying, and lifting his wings for the female. The female raises her crest and bows in response, and the two softly chatter to each other. If the female accepts him they proceed to allopreen and occasionally feed each other.

The breeding season for Pink cockatootypically begins in August and lasts through December, but some northern populations can begin breeding as early as May. Pink cockatoois a cavity nesting species, and selects a hollow 3 to 20 m above ground, preferably in a eucalyptus tree near water. This species is unable to excavate new cavities and relies on natural hollows or those constructed by other species. Both male and female construct the nest by gathering bits of wood and pebbles. The same nest is often used year after year. Pairs are very territorial and must nest at least one kilometer from other breeding pairs. Two to five eggs are laid at an interval of one every 2 to 3 days. Incubation lasts 23 to 30 days and the young remain in the nest for six to eight weeks before they fledge. Parents, mostly the male, continue to feed fledgelings for 8 additional weeks. Juveniles join their parents to form small, family groups that remain together for some time after the young reach independence. Juveniles reach sexual maturity at 3 to 4 years of age.

Leadbeater's cockatoo is a long-lived species. They live to be 50 to 60 years old in the wild.

In captivity

While it can be tempting to rush out and buy one of these beautiful birds, Major Mitchell's cockatoos need specialized care and environments that not all bird owners can accommodate. It is best if they live in a walk-in cage (5-feet high) that is at least 4-feet in long. This allows the large bird plenty of room to move. These birds are moderately strong chewers and can break welds on poorly constructed cages. Many can open cage latches, so locks or escape-proof latches may be necessary.

Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry in a warm room or in the sun. Do not clip the wing feathers excessively. Clip only the primary flight feathers and only enough so the bird will glide to the floor.

Just like its fellow members of the parrot family, Major Mitchell's cockatoos are active birds that need plenty of exercise to maintain their physical condition. They need a minimum of three to four hours outside of the cage every day to stretch their wings.

Provide your Major Mitchell's cockatoo with safe chew toys to exercise their beaks. These birds chew wood to make nests in the wild and will display that same behavior in captivity if they get bored or restless.

Regularly give your bird untreated elder, fir, pine, or willow wood pieces or toys. Leather toys and even heat-sterilized pine cones are other good options. Since these cockatoos appreciate water play, a watering bowl or spray-misting will be appreciated by your pet and fulfills some of its activity requirements.

Like all cockatoos, Major Mitchell's are prone to obesity. When young, cockatoos are notoriously picky eaters and don’t seem to need much food to maintain themselves. As they age, however, they tend to put on weight. Monitor its fat intake.

High-quality pellets, a moderate amount of seed mix, and daily helpings of fresh, thoroughly washed bird-safe fruits and vegetables are the ideal diet for these birds. They tend to enjoy green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard as well as carrots, celery, corn, green beans, and zucchini. Many also enjoy nuts, including hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts.

Feed approximately 1/4 cup of formulated diet and 1/4 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. If the bird consumes all of its food, add small amounts as desired. Treats such as seeds, nuts, and table foods may be given in small quantities, especially as rewards for good behavior.


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