Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa Leadbeateri)

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Major Mitchell’s cockatoos are beautiful salmon-pink, medium-sized cockatoos that are smart and social. These birds bond strongly with their keepers and have a reputation for being one-person birds. Because they require so much attention, experienced bird owners who are familiar with keeping large parrots are a better match for these birds.

Species Overview

  • COMMON NAMES: Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, Leadbeater’s cockatoo, pink cockatoo, desert cockatoo, wee juggler, cocklerina, chockalott
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cavatua Lophocroa leadbeateri
  • ADULT SIZE: 13 to 15 inches in length
  • LIFE EXPECTANCY: 40 to 60 years in the wild; up to 80 years in captivity
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A high-maintenance species, this bird requires daily socialization and interaction with its owner to maintain good emotional health. This species has a natural tendency to form a tightly-knit bond for life. As its keeper, you will become its bonded mate. This bird is funny and energetic, as well as cuddly and affectionate.

Major Mitchell’s can be temperamental. This bird is sensitive to the absence of its bonded human. Your bird might even shun you after taking a short vacation. It can take some time to earn back the bird’s trust. Neglected cockatoos may resort to destructive behaviors, such as self-mutilation, chewing on wires, and destroying furniture.

Since they tend to bond with one person, Major Mitchell’s cockatoos can show signs of jealousy when their owners interact with other people. They may try to nip or bite the other people to show their irritation. This is a significant reason why this bird is not a good pet for families with small children.

These birds are brilliant and can be taught tricks like dancing or playing hide and seek. Some learn to speak, or can at least whistle to get their owner’s attention. They can hit some pretty high notes and have a natural alarm call designed to be heard for miles in the wild.

Speech and Vocalizations

In general, cockatoos can be loud and incessant talkers. The Major Mitchell’s species is noticeably quieter and more prone to natural calls. They can be taught to say a few basic words and can mimic whistles or alarms. Their natural calls are not too loud; they make exotic chirps and high pitched alarm calls. Thus, they probably aren’t suited to live in apartments or other close quarters with nearby neighbors.

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo Colors and Markings

The Major Mitchell’s species is the only cockatoo to have a multi-colored crest. When extended, you’ll see bright pink and yellow-orange feathers with white at the tips.

The colorful Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is primarily pinkish-white and very easy to recognize. These flashy birds have broad pink patches around the neck and on the underbelly. They often have bold pink under their white-tipped wings.

The males tend to be brighter than the females, though the females have more orange in their crest. While males have brown eyes, females usually have reddish-pink eyes. Both sexes have gray feet and horn-colored beaks.

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Caring for Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

While it can be tempting to rush out and buy one of these beautiful birds, Major Mitchell’s cockatoos need specialized care and environments that not all bird owners can accommodate. It is best if they live in a walk-in cage (5-feet high) that is at least 4-feet in long. This allows the large bird plenty of room to move.

These birds are moderately strong chewers and can break welds on poorly constructed cages. Many can open cage latches, so locks or escape-proof latches may be necessary.

Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry in a warm room or in the sun. Do not clip the wing feathers excessively. Clip only the primary flight feathers and only enough so the bird will glide to the floor.