Family Cockatoos (Cacatuidae)

Least Concern

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri)


French: Cacatoès de Leadbeater German: Inkakakadu Spanish: Cacatúa abanderada
Other common names: Pink Cockatoo

Plyctolophus Leadbeateri


, 1831,

New South Wales, Australia


Sometimes placed in genus Lophochroa; recent molecular study indicates that present species is sister to the other members of Cacatua and may, therefore, merit generic separation#R. Has hybridized in the wild with Eolophus roseicapilla#R. Formerly subdivided into three subspecies on basis of size and of the quantity and colouring of crest feathers, but study of 22 wild-caught pairs and examination of museum skins showed that criteria for subspeciation could hardly be upheld; form mollis (C Western Australia to Northern Territory and W South Australia), with little or no yellow in crest, is sometimes retained, but very poorly differentiated and not recognized here. Treated as monotypic.


Throughout much of inland Australia, from S Kimberley region (Western Australia) and EC Northern Territory S to CW coast near Geraldton and S coast at Eyre, then through inland South Australia (mainly in SC areas), NW Victoria and New South Wales to S Queensland.

Introduced around Sydney and, unsuccessfully, in Fiji.

Descriptive notes

33–40 cm; 360–480 g; female slightly smaller. Unmistakable within Australian range. White, with pink sides of head, neck and underbody, and narrow pink-red band... read more


Principal vocalization recalls that of C. sanguinea, but is a less raucous quavering... read more


Semi-arid to arid shrubland (mulga and mallee), with (especially Eucalyptus) tree-lined... read more

Food and feeding

Like several other species of cockatoo, thrives on grain spilt during harvest and left lying on the stubble throughout winter, but present... read more


In early Aug, pairs return to their traditional nest-hollows; laying Aug–Oct, but nesting sometimes commences in May in N Australia.... read more


Families join a local nomadic flock during summer and spend autumn and winter wandering over 300 km... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Previously considered Near Threatened and was even speculated to be possibly meritorious of categorization as Vulnerable, but... read more

Recommended citation

Rowley, I. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 June 2019).