Parrots | Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo > crest | water

One of Australia’s iconic bird species, the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) are identified by its delicate shades of soft pink (sometimes described as salmon-pink) and white plumage, and it’s colourful red, yellow and white crest. The crest appears white when it is flattened, once raised, you will see the bands of red and yellow, with the white tips. Sometimes the yellow in the crest may not be so obvious in some birds. The underwings are orange-pink in colour, with white flight feathers.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri)
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri)

There are two races (subspecies) of Major Mitchells’s Cockatoo, Lophochroa leadbeateri and Lophochroa mollis. The race Lophochroa mollis have very little to no yellow in the crest compared to Lophochroa leadbeateri who have distinct yellow band through the crest.

Found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Australia, it is named after one of Australia’s first explorers of the inland region, Major Sir Thomas Mitchell (1792-1855), who referring to this bird wrote

Few birds more enliven the monotonous hues of the Australian forest than this beautiful species whose pink-coloured wings and flowing crest might have embellished the air of a more voluptuous region.

Major Sir Thomas Mitchell

An attractive cockatoo, it is quieter and slightly smaller then it’s raucous cousin, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. The Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo usually inhabit dry woodlands, especially where there are eucalypts or acacias. They spends much of the day feeding on the ground, in trees and shrubs.

They need old trees that support hollows large enough to be suitable for nesting in. They lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs, with both parents incubating the eggs, caring and feeding the chicks. The juveniles become independent when they are about 4 months old.

Common name
Pink Cockatoo, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Mitchell Cockatoo, Leadbeater’s Cockatoo.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Lophochroa
  • Species: L. leadbeateri
  • Binomial name: Lophochroa leadbeateri
  • Subspecies:
    • L. leadbeateri
    • L. mollis

Footnote & References

  1. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, BirdLife Australia,
  2. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, eBird,
  3. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo – profile, NSW Government, Office of Environment & Heritage,
  4. New insights into the pink cockatoo, an outback Australian icon, Australian Museum,