Species profile

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Range and abundance

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo occurs in inland arid and semi-arid regions within all States except Tasmania. This species is declining in abundance and distribution and is uncommon within its range.

Description

An adult bird is 35 - 40 cm in length. They are white with pink tinting on the breast, neck and face. Their crest is prominently marked with red and yellow. Males have brown eyes and females have red eyes.

Ecology

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo favours woodlands of Callitris, Allocasuarina, Mulga and Eucalyptus, and associated grasslands within the arid interior. It is usually seen in pairs or small family parties, or occasionally in large flocks, sometimes mixing with Galahs and Little Corellas. It feeds mostly on the ground, on seeds of native and exotic melons, saltbush, wattles and cypress pine. It requires ready access to water. The nest is in a large, near-vertical hollow of a major tree-limb, usually in a live eucalypt tree or dead Callitris. They have 1-3 eggs, and the young fledge at 7 - 8 weeks.

Threats

Widespread clearing of their woodland habitat and over-grazing of feeding areas result in the removal of seeding grasses, herbs and shrubs, and prevent regeneration of food plants. Clearing of trees results in the loss of hollow-bearing trees which are vital for nesting. Illegal nest robbing and trapping is also a threat. 

What is AWC doing?

AWC protects the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo by protecting their habitat from clearing, and removing feral herbivores to decrease grazing impacts on their food plants.

Did you know:

The nests of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo are usually at least 1 km apart, with no more than one pair every 30 square kilometres.