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Cacatua leadbeateri
Also called: Leadbeaters Cockatoo, Desert Cockatoo, Wee Juggler, Cocklerina, and Chockalott

The Major Mitchell is widely considered the most attractive of the Australian parrots. It has a light pink body and face, with white wings and a striking band of bright pink and yellow on its crest. It is a medium-sized cockatoo, about 35 cm (14"). The female is often slightly larger than the male and has reddish-brown eyes, whilst the eyes of the male are black to brown. These differences are not manifested until the birds are about nine months old.

The Major Mitchell was named after the explorer, Major Thomas Mitchell. In 1836 he surveyed the Murray-Darling river system. After his travels he raved about these birds and their beauty.

Its natural habitat is the not-so-arid inland areas of Australia. This translates into small pockets across the vast desert in the centre of Australia. There are plenty of birds in these spots, however there habitat is being encroached by human settlement and poachers threaten the species in the wild.

Like other cockatoos, Major Mitchells are loud. They pair for life. They can be kept as pets, but as they get older they tend to become aggressive or stroppy. They are relatively expensive to buy in Australia (about A$700-1000 per breeding pair), but their black market price in other parts of the world is astronomical. Especially for a breeding pair.

A breeding pair requires a territory of about 2 km (1.25 mile) radius. The dominant pair will prevent other birds from breeding in their area. This makes it difficult to build up their numbers in the wild. It also makes it difficult for any bird breeder to have more than one breeding pair.

They usually lay two eggs. Both partners are responsible for nest-building, incubation and care of the young.


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