Cactua sanguinea Click to enlarge image
A Little Corella is sitting on the outside of a tree hollow on a large tree trunk. The Corella is almost all-white, except for a noticeable light brown colouring around its face, giving it a blushed appearance. Its small black eye is surrounded by a blue ring. Image: Michael Seyfort
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    sanguinea
    Genus
    Cacatua
    Family
    Cacatuidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    35 cm to 42 cm

The scientific name for Little Corella, Cacatua sanguinea, means 'Blood-stained Cockatoo' and refers to the dark pink markings between the eye and the bill.

Identification

Little Corellas are mostly white, with a fleshy blue eye-ring and a pale rose-pink patch between the eye and bill. In flight, a bright sulphur-yellow wash can be seen on the underwing and under tail. The sexes are similar in plumage, and young birds look like the adults, but are slightly smaller.

Habitat

Little Corellas often form large flocks, especially along watercourses and where seeding grasses are found.

Distribution

Little Corellas are widespread throughout Australia, although large gaps separate some populations. The Little Corella is the most widely distributed of the three corella species found in Australia. The Western Corella is confined the extreme south-west of Western Australia, and the Long-billed Corella is found in the south-east.



Feeding and diet

Little Corellas feed in large noisy flocks. The birds feed mainly on the ground, and have to drink on a daily basis. The most common foods are grains and grass seeds. Some bulbs and fruits may also be eaten.

Breeding behaviours

Little Corellas are thought to pair for life and will start breeding at the start of a long period of rain. The nest site is a suitable tree hollow, lined with shavings of wood. This is normally used for several years in row. Both sexes incubate the eggs and both care for the young chicks. The chicks hatch naked and totally dependent on their parents.

Breeding pairs nest in large colonies, and several nests may be found in the same tree. Where their ranges overlap, different corella species may nest together, but they are not thought to breed with each other.

  • Breeding Season: Any time of the year when conditions are suitable
  • Clutch size: 2 to 4
  • Incubation: 25 days

Economic impacts

The Little Corella's range is expanding with land clearing and increased sources of water. The increase in agricultural crops has so increased the birds' numbers in some areas they may become pests. Escaped or deliberately released cage birds have also helped numbers in the east of Australia.

References

  • Crome, F. and Shields, J. 1992. Parrots and Pigeons of Australia. Angus and Robertson/National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.
  • Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
  • Schodde, R. and Tideman, S.C. (eds) 1990. Reader's Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds (2nd Edition). Reader's Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Sydney