July 8, 2018 PetGuide
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Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

  • Size: 14 inches
  • Lifespan: up to 80 years
  • Bird Species: Cockatoo
  • Colors: Pink & white
  • Sounds: Vocal, Mimics, Natural calls
  • Interaction: Social, Affectionate, Fun, Energetic
  • Comparable Breeds: Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Moluccan Cockatoo

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There is no parrot that is as iconic as the beautiful, fun and loved Major Mitchell’s cockatoo. It is a unique bird with a lovely temperament and some of the most beautiful coloration in the parrot world. It’s also a unique cockatoo, with a great balance of traits and an acceptable level of noise, which isn’t always a common thing in their family. Let’s introduce these widespread pet parrots and figure out just what makes them such a popular and loved pet.

It’s hard not to fall in love when first seeing and meeting the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo. These are beautiful birds.

Australia is home to the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo. More precisely, they are found in two large areas – one in the west of Australia, covering almost the entire half of the continent, and the other, smaller region in the eastern part. They prefer dry inland areas with some tree growth. They are most often seen close to extensive woodlands of acacia, sheoaks, cypress pine and eucalyptus. It’s no surprise to see them close to galahs, and corellas. There is some threat of population decline, mostly due to loss of habitat.

This is a medium-sized cockatoo, and although generally similar to its close cousins, the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo has a few distinct and unique details. The adults reach an average length of 14 inches (35 centimeters) and can weigh up to 15 ounces (430 grams). They have a distinct head shape and a stubby beak partially hidden by a tuft of feathers resembling a beard. Like all the other cockatoos, they too retain a crest, but in their case, it is visibly larger and much more magnificent when displayed. The males are slightly larger, but in general identical to the females.

Cockatoos can be loud and incessant talkers. Luckily, these birds are noticeably quieter and more prone to natural calls. When they talk, they do basic words and mimics such as whistles or alarms. Their natural calls are not too loud and are made of exotic chirps and high pitched alarm calls. Like the Galahs, they have a greater tendency to play and be quiet, unlike the Moluccan cockatoo, for example, which can be a loud talker without a break.

If you thought you have seen pretty, then think again.  The graceful, vibrant and above all beautiful looks of Major Mitchell’s cockatoo are definitely an inspiration. They are mostly white and with a soft texture of the feathers, they seem soft and puffy. The face, chest and the belly are colored in a gentle, bright pink. Now, their most striking detail is hidden in the crest. When fully displayed, it shows a beautiful and striking combination of red and yellow colored feathers. The underside of the wings is also pink, a detail best seen when these birds are flying. Without a doubt, the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is a real show-stopper!

Often called the most beautiful of all cockatoos, these stunning birds will leave you speechless.

A commercial cockatoo seed or pellet based mix is a good recommendation for a beginner diet base. You should add a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables like oranges, apples, bananas, cabbage, kale, and carrots. This will be a vitamin supplement. Occasional cooked rice, corn or chicken is also a good addition. Large parrots should be offered regular baths or showers in the sink or bathroom. They love to refresh and it also serves as a prevention of feather loss and skin diseases.

As is common for a parrot of this size, they are hardy, strong and healthy. With enough attention, care and social interaction, you will be in control of things without much difficulty. One of the oldest parrots was actually Cookie, a Major Mitchell’s cockatoo that lived happily for amazing 83 years in Brookfield Zoo, U.S.A.

Strong, healthy and long-lived – the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is a hardy companion.

Adorable looks and adorable personality – these cockatoos are the whole package. They have a good balance between personality traits, being both funny and energetic while keeping a cuddly and affectionate side as well. It’s no surprise that a strong bond forms between an owner and his pet as time goes on and you get to know their traits in detail. But there’s no doubt – whether it’s hide & seek, dancing to music or simply cuddling in the mornings, the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo will find a big spot in your heart and home.

Photo credit: Tanya Puntti/Shutterstock; DETAILS/Shutterstock; Wang LiQiang/Shuttertock

Comparable Breeds

Go to Moluccan Cockatoo

Moluccan Cockatoo

  • Size: 21 inches
  • Lifespan: 70 years
  • Bird Species: Cockatoo
  • Colors: White, salmon pink
  • Sounds: Vocal, mimicking, talkative
  • Interaction: Highly Social, Playful, Intelligent, Curious, Affectionate
  • Comparable Breeds: African Grey Parrot, Goffin's Cockatoo