Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #63 - Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Chris Watson

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo Lophocroa leadbeateri

Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, an explorer of the 1830s and 1840s, once wrote of the cockatoos that are named for him; “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”.  While I might disagree with his aspersions of “monotonous hues” in the Australian bush, and have no idea what a “more voluptuous region” might mean, I otherwise agree with his sentiments. The Pink Cockatoo is certainly one of the more exciting and eye-catching birds that we’re lucky enough to find locally.

There has been a small breeding population of this species in the area around Honeymoon Gap and Roe Creek for many years and they can still often be found on an afternoon drive down Bullen Road. You might also find them near Red Gum lined river beds where they tend to nest, and anywhere there might be Callitris pines or Desert Oaks for them to feed off. The pair in the picture this week, were spotted tending a nest hollow in the Hugh River.

This week an Australian Pratincole was sighted out at AZRI. This is not a particularly uncommon species but we haven’t seen many this year, so perhaps there are more on the way. Land for Wildlife uber bird-spotter Uwe Path, is hosting a covey of Brown Quail in his yard after his herculean assault on the buffel grass infestation on his property.

It’s almost time to start farewelling migrant birds which will be heading back north of the equator in March/April. Keep your eyes peeled for these species as they depart from down south and pass through our neck of the woods on their way home.

Happy Birding!