Major Mitchell cockatoos are found across inland Australia, in a wide variety of arid and semi-arid environments from forest to mallee scrub. Their main requirements are fresh surface water and trees that have large hollows for nesting.
During the day, the cockatoos are found on the ground and in the trees eating seeds – particularly acacia seeds, fruit, nuts and tubers. At dawn and dusk they gather at waterholes to drink.
3-4 eggs are laid in the hollows of eucalyptus or Callitris trees. The hollows are lined with bark that the birds strip from the trees using their beaks. Both parents incubate the eggs for a month and take turns feeding the young, who leave the nest at 6-8 weeks. Breeding pairs need a large feeding area, so nests are well spaced. Loss of habitat is particularly affecting nest sites, so in some states the bird is listed as vulnerable.