Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
|Major Mitchell's Cockatoo|
Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri) is a medium-sized cockatoo restricted to arid and semi-arid inland areas of Australia. With its soft-textured white and salmon-pink plumage and large, bright red and yellow crest, it is generally recongised as the most beautiful of all cockatoos. It is named in honour of Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, who 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".
Unlike the Galah, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo has declined rather than increased as a resut of man-made changes to the arid interior of Australia. Where Galahs readily occupy cleared and part-cleared land, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo requires extensive woodlands, particularly favouring Callitris, Allocasuarina and Eucalyptus. In contrast to other cockatoos, Major Mitchell pairs will not nest close to one another; in consequence, they cannot tolerate fragmented, partly-cleared habitats, and their range is contracting.
Major Mitchell's Cockatoo feeding at dawn in the Victorian Mallee.