Major Mitchell's Cockatoo Cacatua leadbeateri


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as common in at least parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997). The nominate subspecies is thought to number c.50,000 individuals, whilst the subspecies mollis has a large and stable population.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to Australia. The nominate subspecies is very widespread across semi-arid woodland in eastern Australia. It disappeared from the Adelaide and Mt Mary plains by the 1950s, and density has been greatly reduced in north-west Victoria and western New South Wales. Subspecies mollis is found in the central and western arid zone and Nullabor, west of the Eyre basin and Port Augusta.


Clearance of feeding and breeding habitat has substantially reduced the population of leadbeateri in the southern and eastern parts of its range, and is continuing. Grazing and weed invasion are also impeding recruitment of trees that could be used for breeding in the future. Nest robbing and trapping for aviculture are thought to have been a major cause of decline in South Australia and may be a significant threat elsewhere in the range. Subspecies mollis is probably largely unaffected by these threats (Garnett and Crowley 2000).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Cacatua leadbeateri. Downloaded from on 25/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/09/2020.