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Lophochroa leadbeateri

Lophochroa leadbeateri (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Psittaciformes

Familia: Cacatuidae
Subfamilia: Cacatuinae
Genus: Lophochroa
Species Lophochroa leadbeateri
Subspecies: L. l. leadbeateri - L. l. mollis

Lophocroa leadbeateri (Vigors, 1831)

Cacatua leadbeateri

Vernacular names
беларуская (тарашкевіца): Какаду-інка
беларуская: Какаду-інка
brezhoneg: Kaketou roz
čeština: Kakadu inka
Deutsch: Inka-Kakadu
English: Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
español: Cacatúa inca
suomi: Arokakadu
français: Cacatoès de Leadbeater
magyar: Inkakakadu
日本語: クルマサカオウム
lietuvių: Inka
Nederlands: Inka-kaketoe
português: Cacatua-rosa
русский: Какаду-инка
svenska: Skär kakadua
Türkçe: Pembe kakadu
中文: 米切氏凤头鹦鹉

Major Mitchell's cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri), also known as Leadbeater's cockatoo or the pink cockatoo, is a medium-sized cockatoo that inhabits arid and semi-arid inland areas of Australia, though it is seen regularly in other climates, for example, South-East Queensland's subtropical region.

Taxonomy and naming

Irish naturalist Nicholas Aylward Vigors described the species in 1831 as Plyctolophus leadbeateri.[3] The scientific name commemorates the London naturalist and taxidermist Benjamin Leadbeater, who had given Vigors what would become the type specimen.[4] Edward Lear painted it in his 1832 work Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots.[5] Citing Lear, William Swainson gave it the name Plyctolophus erythropterus.[6]

Major Mitchell's cockatoo may be more closely related to Cacatua than is the galah, and that its lineage diverged around the time of or shortly after the acquisition of the long crest; probably the former as this crest type is not found in all Cacatua cockatoos, so must have been present in an early or incipient stage at the time of the divergence of the pink cockatoo's ancestors. Like the galah, this species has not lost the ability to deposit diluted pigment dyes in its body plumage, although it does not produce melanin coloration anymore, resulting in a lighter bird overall compared to the galah. Indeed, disregarding the crest, Major Mitchell's cockatoo looks almost like a near-leucistic version of that species. Another indication of the early divergence of this species from the "white" cockatoo lineage is the presence of features found otherwise only in corellas, such as its plaintive yodeling cry, as well as others which are unique to pink and the true white cockatoos, for example the large crest and rounded wing shape.[7]

It is here placed in its own monotypic genus Lophochroa, though to include it in Cacatua as others do is not wrong as long as the corellas are also included there.[7][8]

"Major Mitchell's cockatoo" has been designated the official name by the International Ornithologists' Union (IOC).[9] "Pink cockatoo" was its official name (with Major Mitchell as an alternative) in the 1926 official RAOU checklist.[10] The bird became linked to Major Thomas Mitchell after he described the species in glowing terms in his books on his expeditions, calling it the "cockatoo of the interior". Mitchell himself called it the red-top cockatoo. Before this John Gould had called it Leadbeater's cockatoo (derived from the species name) in 1848,[4] as had Lear in 1832.[5] Gould added that people of the Swan River Colony called it pink cockatoo, and recorded an indigenous name Jak-kul-yak-kul[11] Other names include desert cockatoo, and chockalott, chock-a-lock, joggle-joggle, and wee juggler, the last anglicised from the Wiradjuri wijugla.[4] In Central Australia south of Alice Springs, the Pitjantjatjara term is kakalyalya.[12] Names recorded from South Australia include kukkalulla (Kokatha dialect of Western Desert language), nkuna and ungkuna (Arrernte), yangkunnu (Barngarla), and yangwina (Wirangu),[13] and yel-le-lek (from the Wimmera), and cal-drin-ga (from the lower Murray).[14]
Adult perched on a tree in Melbourne Zoo

With its soft-textured white and salmon-pink plumage and large, bright red and yellow crest, it is often described 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."[15] Major Mitchell's cockatoo females and males are almost identical. The males are usually bigger. The female has a broader yellow stripe on the crest and develop a red eye when mature.[16]
Reproduction and lifespan

The bird reaches sexual maturity around 3–4 years old. The oldest recorded Major Mitchell's cockatoo died at 83 years old.[17]
Distribution and habitat

In contrast to those of the galah, populations of Major Mitchell's cockatoos have declined rather than increased as a result of man-made changes to the arid interior of Australia. Where galahs readily occupy cleared and part-cleared land, Major Mitchell's cockatoos require extensive woodlands, particularly favouring conifers (Callitris spp.), sheoak (Allocasuarina spp.) and eucalypts. Unlike other cockatoos, Major Mitchell's pairs will not nest close to one another, so they cannot tolerate fragmented, partly cleared habitats, and their range is contracting.

In the Mallee region of Victoria where the galah and Major Mitchell's cockatoo can be found to be nesting in the same area, the two species have interbred and produced hybridised offspring occasionally.[18]
Conservation status
Cookie, a cockatoo that lived to be 83 years old, housed in the Brookfield Zoo[19]

Major Mitchell's cockatoo is not listed as a threatened species on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Major Mitchell's cockatoo is listed as a threatened species on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988).[20] Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has been prepared.[21]
On the 2013 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, this species is listed as vulnerable.[22]


"Cookie", was a Major Mitchell's cockatoo and was a beloved resident of Illinois' Brookfield Zoo near Chicago from the time the zoo opened in 1934 until his death on 27 August 2016. Cookie was 83 years old and he had been retired from public display since 2009, due to ill health prior to his death.
"Plyctolophus leadbeateri, Leadbeater's Cockatoo" in Lear's influential 1832 monograph.

BirdLife International (2012). "Cacatua leadbeateri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
Australian Biological Resources Study (29 February 2012). "Subspecies Lophochroa leadbeateri leadbeateri (Vigors, 1831)". Australian Faunal Directory. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australian Government. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
Vigors, Nicholas Aylward (1831). "April 26, 1831". Proceedings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London. 1–2: 61.
Gray, Jeannie; Fraser, Ian (2013). Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide. Collingwood, VIC, Australia: CSIRO Publishing. pp. 124, 128–130. ISBN 9780643104709.
Lear, Edward (1832). Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots. London: Self. p. Pl. 5.
Swainson, William John (1837). On the Natural History and Classification of Birds. Vol. 2. London: Longman. p. 302.
Brown, D.M. & Toft, C.A. (1999): Molecular systematics and biogeography of the cockatoos (Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae). Auk 116(1): 141–157.
Les Christidis & Walter E Boles (2008) Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds, CSIRO Publishing
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2021). "Parrots & cockatoos". World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
Checklist Committee, Royal Australasian Ornithologist's Union (1926). Official checklist of the birds of Australia compiled by the Checklist Committee, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union ; with appendix, scientific names--notes and pronunciation. Melbourne: H.J. Green, Govt. Printer. p. 45.
Gould, John (1848). The Birds of Australia. Volume 6. London: Printed by R. and J. E. Taylor; pub. by the author, 1840–1848. pp. Pl. 2, et seq.
Cliff Goddard (1992). Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara To English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Alice Springs, Northern Territory: Institute for Aboriginal Development. p. 26. ISBN 0-949659-64-9.
Condon, H.T. (1955). "Aboriginal bird names – South Australia Part One" (PDF). South Australian Ornithologist. 21 (6–7): 74–88.
Halley, Jacob John (1871). A monograph of the Psittacidae, or parrot family of Australia. Melbourne: Self. p. 7.
John Gould (1865). Handbook to The Birds of Australia, Volume 2.
Major Mitchell's Cockatoo Handbook of the Birds of the World
"Cacatua leadbeateri". The Moirai - Aging Research. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
Hurley. V, The State of Australias Birds 2008, Major mitchell's Cockatoo: changing threats, Birds Australia, p. 8 ISSN 1036-7810
"Cookie Cockatoo "Retires"". Chicago Zoological Society. 9 October 2009. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria
Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria

DELWP (2013), Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 (PDF), Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Further reading (2006): Zazu the Major Mitchells cockatoo. Retrieved 2006-JAN-14.

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