. Major Mitchell's cockatoo
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- An Australian Parrot
(Click on photo to enlarge)
- Scientific Name: Cacatua
leadbeateri (nominate C. l. leadbeateri. Other
subspecies C. l. mollis )
- Common Name/s:
MAJOR MITCHELL'S COCKATOO, PINK COCKATOO, LEADBEATER'S COCKATOO.
- Sub Species:
.... C. l. leadbeateri, C. l. mollis
- Origin / Distribution: Inland
Found in all states of Australia except Tasmania.
- Habitat In Wild: Arid and
semi-arid interior of Australia. Lives in lightly timbered
grasslands and scrublands.
- Status In Wild: Probably
declining due to habitat loss and loss of suitable nesting trees.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Secure. Not bred in captivity very often. Many young are
legally harvested from the wild.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: About
3 to 4 years.
- Adult plumage: attained at about
- Best breeding years (estimate):
5th or 6th year onwards.
- Lifespan (estimate): approx. 20
- Sexing: Monomorphic
/ Dimorphic Differences are slight.
- Colour mutations: None
- Availability: Bird dealers
and specialist breeders.
- Temperament: One pair per aviary.
Does not make a good pet. Can be noisy. For a pair to be
successful breeders it is preferable for the pair to develop a
strong pair bond prior to reaching sexual maturity.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $500
- Description Of Adults:
- Length: Approx. 360 - 400 mm (or approx. 14 -
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
(Click on photo to enlarge).
- Weight: Approx 300 - 400 gms (or approx 12.5 ozs)
Level Of Knowledge Required:
Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced /
Government Regulations & By-Laws:
Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
Housing Requirements: Refer to "
Housing Birds " web page for general
details on the housing of Cockatoos or read on for specific details for
An aviary of 4 to 5 metres long will allow
these birds to be able to get adequate exercise. The aviary should
be about 1.5 to 1.8 metres wide and about 2.4 metres high. Some
breeders use 1.2 metre wide cages with a height of 2.1 metres. Heavy
gauge wire is necessary, preferably galvanized weldmesh.
Suitable non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up.
This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds
some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These
natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced
Diet / Feeding: Refer to "
Feeding Birds " web page for general
details on the feeding of Cockatoos or read on for specific details for
Native foods include seeds of the
Acacia, Eucalypt and the introduced Pine species along with the seeds of
grasses and other plants. Branches, seeds
and cones of these trees and other suitable native plants should be
offered to the birds along with branches and fruiting bodies of the
cotoneaster and hawthorn bushes. This will provide them with hours
of physical activity and mental stimulation as well as a varied diet.
Aviary diet should restrict the amount
of Sunflower and safflower seed. Other seeds include canary, corn,
hulled oats, millet, milo, and wheat.
Other foods can include apple, almonds, peanuts, vegetables such as
broccoli, corn, peas and silverbeet. Plain Madeira
cake, and seeding grasses. Many will eat insects such as grubs and
mealworms. Dry dog food can be offered.
Nesting: A basic overview only. Dimensions
are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's
preferences and the birds preferences. Parent bird's preferences can
also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the
bird was hatched and reared. If space allows, offering a choice of
sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations
within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.
Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in
it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Try and keep that one
for their exclusive use. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box,
the other ones can generally be removed. If the "spare" boxes are to be
removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is
cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites,
parasites and pathogens.
A solid log is the preferred nest for
Many pairs are intolerant of nest
inspections especially for the first two weeks after the young have
hatched. Nest inspections should be kept to an absolute minimum.
- Nesting months: May to
- Log / Nest-box:
/ depth 1000 - 1200 mm (or approx. 40 - 48 inches)
- Log internal
diameter approx. 300 mm. (or approx. 12
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 300
mm square (or approx. 12 inches square)
- Diameter of
hole approx. ? mm (or approx. ? inches)
- Inspection hole (square or round)
(or approx 4 inches)
- A removable top / lid can be a
useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
- Location and height
of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not
too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the
- Angle of log or nest box = Log can be hung vertically or
at an angle of up to 45 degrees. Success has been achieved with logs
without a lid; the birds using the open top end as the nest
- Nesting log / nest-box material:
Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable
- Who incubates the egg/s:
/ cock / both share.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a
climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both
logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole
to be just big enough to squeeze through.
More details on
parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of
parrot nestbox/log photos
can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos"
web pages. Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos" in
the navigation bars.
Breeding: Egg Colour
White. Clutch/s per year 1. Eggs per
nest 2 - 4. Incubation
approx 24 - 25 days. Fledge approx. 7 - 8
Independent approx. another 4 months.
For a pair to be successful breeders it is preferable for the pair to
develop a strong pair bond prior to reaching sexual maturity. It
takes about 4 years for the birds to be mature enough to commence
breeding. Cock birds can be very aggressive.
Artificial incubation and hand
rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is
too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.
Health Issues: Refer to "Avian
Health Issues" web page for information and references.
- Worming and parasite control
and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are
considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on
this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- Avian medicine is advancing
at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.
References: Refer to references listed on "Book References"
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 60 No 3 Mar 2006 Page 66.
- A/A Vol 55 No. 9 Sept 2001 Page 201-204 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 54 No. 4 Apr 2000 Page 74-77 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 46 No. 3 Mar 1992 Page 60-64 (Canary Islands) (Inc
- A/A Vol 46 No. 1 Jan 1992 Page 7-15
- A/A Vol 30 No. 3 Mar 1976 Page
38-46 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 25 No. 2 Feb 1971 Page 27-28.
- A/A Vol 8 No 8 Aug 1954 Page 90.
- A/A Vol 8 No 6 Jun 1954 Page 71.
- A/A Vol 8 No 5 May 1954 Page 56-57.
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2005 Page 669-673 (Corellas &
Cockatoos of inland Australia)
- ABK Vol 18 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2005 Page 618-619.
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2001 Page 566-569.
- ABK Vol 10 Issue 8. Apr-May 1997 Page 390-395
- ABK Vol 9 Issue 2. Apr-May 1996 Page 58
- ABK Vol 8 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1995 Page 538-540
- ABK Vol 8 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1995 Page 475-478
- ABK Vol 5 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1992 Page 176-179
- ABK Vol 5 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1992 Page 35-39
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