Enjoy a Bold Backyard Beauty with the Pink Cockatoo
If you stumble across an exotic looking pink cockatoo who seems to be wearing a red and white headdress, you are witnessing the bold beauty of the Pink Cockatoo.
The Pink Cockatoo is admired far and wide in Australia for its unique beauty. The gentle splashes of pastel pink across the front of its body set it apart from its Sulphur Crested Cockatoo brothers and sisters. It's pale pink colour, and red, yellow and white crest, also help you tell it apart from the Galah.
The Pink Cockatoo is known lovingly by a variety of names, most commonly as Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, as well as Leadbeater’s Cockatoo, Desert Cockatoo, Cocklerina, Chockalott and Wee Juggler.
The Pink Cockatoo has been admired since 1836, when the English explorer and surveyor Major Mitchell wrote in his journal: “Few birds more enliven the monotonous hues of the Australian forest than this beautiful species.”
You can help look after Pink Cockatoos in your Backyard
The Pink Cockatoo spends most of her day searching for all kinds of different tasty morsels.
They enjoy eating seeds, especially from trees such as Wattle (acacia family) and Cyprus (callitris family), as well as fruits, roots, nuts, tubers, and insect larvae.
Pink Cockatoos are quite adaptable in their diet. They will look for food on tree branches as well as on the ground. However, they are vulnerable to cat attacks while feeding down low on the ground and in shrubs and bushes - so they need your help.
Be a Backyard Buddy
Keep your dog or cat indoors, so that Pink Cockatoos can enjoy their meal outside safely.
Pink Cockatoos are also always on the lookout for a nearby source of fresh water to drink from
in the evening, so include a bird bath or container of clean water in your garden for them to use.
Pink Cockatoos love:
- Pieces of decayed wood, woodchips and bark, which they use to build their nests.
- Galahs and Little Corellas, who they sometimes join flocks with and fly together with.
- Their space. Pink Cockatoo pairs keep a distance of at least one kilometre from each other’s nests. This way there is plenty of food around for each family.
But they don't like:
- Cats who try to attack them.
- Their nest trees being cut down, especially Cyprus (callitris family) and Gum (eucalyptus family) trees. These are their favourite trees to build a home in.
- Humans who trap them or take babies or eggs from their nest to sell as pets. All Australian native animals are protected by law, so this is illegal.
Be a Buddy to Pink Cockatoos
- Remove any invasive weeds. These can threaten the growth of trees that provide food and shelter to Pink Cockatoos.
- Keep your cat or dog indoors if you have seen any birds about. Or consider installing a cat run so your cat can go outside without hurting any backyard buddies. Cats are natural hunters and will attempt to catch and kill many animals, and can do so even if they have a bell on their collar.
- Place some clean, fresh water in your garden in a bird bath or shallow dish for the Pink Cockatoo to sip on after a parching day of munching.
- Disposing of any decaying wood, pieces of bark or any spare woodchips you have in the garden. The Pink Cockatoo uses these natural bricks to build their nest.
- Cutting down Cyprus or Gum trees, even if they are old or dead. These are the Pink Cockatoo's favourite trees to nest in and feed from. Many animals can also nest in the hollows of these trees, which take up to 100 years or more to form.
Don't be surprised if Pink Cockatoos:
- Look like they’re dancing on treetops. Pink Cockatoos bob their red-crested heads up and down while strutting around to attract a mate.
- Fly very low to the ground. Pink Cockatoos prefer to travel short distances, and often rest in low hanging branches to break up the journey.
- Look like Galahs from a distance. The pink colour and mohawk crest of both birds may be confusing, especially since they enjoy flying together.
A few more Pink Cockatoo facts
Pink Cockatoo profile:
- Pink Cockatoos are usually about 35-40 cm long, which is fairly small for a cockatoo. Their pink patches are found on their face and neck, breast and under their wings. This magnificent colour is displayed most clearly when Pink Cockatoos are flying or landing, when their wings are fully spread out.
- Pink Cockatoos don’t usually stick to one area. They more around to wherever there is abundant food and water. You’ll see them living in inland arid or semi-arid areas, such as open woodland, timbered grasslands, as well as mulga, mallee, callitris and casuarina country.
- There are Pink Cockatoos living in south west Queensland, central NSW, and southern and northern inland Western Australia.
- Pink Cockatoos mate for life. Every mating season, from July to January, they raise 2-3 babies together. Mum and Dad Pink Cockatoos equally share the parenting duties. They both sit on the eggs to warm them. They also take turns preening and feeding their new baby. Pink Cockatoos usually return to them same nesting area every year to start their family again.