Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

(Cacatua leadbeateri)


Major Mitchell's Cockatoo IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Major Mitchell's is one of the smaller cockatoo species, reaching a total length of 35 cm. It is the only cockatoo with a multi-coloured crest.


The plumage of crown, upperparts and tail is white. The narrow and forward curving crest is scarlet with a central band of yellow and tipped with white. Face and underparts are salmon-pink, and underwing and underside of tail deep salmon-pink.

The rather small bill is white, the legs grey, and the iris dark brown in males, pale reddish in females, and lighter brown in immatures .

Major Mitchell's cockatoos travel usually in pairs or small parties, often together with galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) or little corellas (Cacatua sanguinea). Most of the day is spent foraging on the ground or in trees.


Breeding season is from August to December. The birds nest in tree holes, which they line with decayed tree dust and bark strips. The clutch usually consists of 2 to 4 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about 30 days. The chicks fledge after 6 to 8 weeks but will stay with their parnets as a family group.

Major Mitchell's cockatoos feed on seeds, nuts, fruit, berries, and roots. They drink erly in the morning and in the evening.

Did you know?
that when brooding, the male Major Mitchell's cockatoo usually sits during the day and the female at night?


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Cacatua leadbeateri
Name (English) Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Name (French) Cacatoès de Leadbeater
Name (German) Inkakakadu
Name (Spanish) Cacatúa inca
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Australia
Habitat Semi-arid and ari woodland.
Wild population Cacatua l. leadbeateri: approximately 50'000 birds. Cacatua l. mollis: Population large but no figures available.
Zoo population 161 reported to ISIS (2008), of which 3 mollis, the others either nominate form or subspecies unknown.

In the Zoo

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 11D of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Blue Gum Pictures

Why do zoos keep this animal

Major Mitchell's cockatoos are conspicuous and attractive birds, which are a good ambassador species for the conservation of Australian fauna and flora. They have an interesting anatomy and behaviour, and are thus also of educational interest. Zoos may keep cockatoos also for animal welfare reasons as they may have to take care of confiscated birds, or former pet birds.