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12

Little Corella

(Cacatua sanguinea)
Alternate name(s): "Bare-eyed Cockatoo", "Blood-stained Cockatoo", "Short-billed Corella"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "gymnopsis": "djayarra", "bidira" (WA); "ngarritj"

Size: 36-39 cm
Weight: 370-630 g (525 g average)

Similar
species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Little Corella at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "sanguinea"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Little Corella feeding on the ground (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Monger, Perth, WA, August 2022]

Little Corellas sitting in a tree; one can see that there is hardly any pink between eye and bill (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2013]

Flock of Little Corellas sitting in a tree (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2013]

(Near-)lateral view of Little Corellas (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Dianella, Perth, WA, December 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a Little Corella feeding on the ground (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Monger, Perth, WA, August 2022]

Near-dorsal view of a Little Corella spreading its wings (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Claremont, Perth, WA, August 2022]

Lateral/near-dorsal comparison between a Little Corella, left, and a Western Corella (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Lake Monger, Perth, WA, August 2022]

Latral viw of a Little Corella taking off from the ground (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Boolardy Station, Murchison, WA, August 2016]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a Little Corella in flight
[Fogg Dam NR, NT, August 2014]

Lateral/ventral view of 3 Little Corellas in flight
[Fogg Dam NR, NT, August 2014]

Race "gymnopsis"

ADULT

PAIR

Lateral view of a pair of Little Corellas (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Cooroy, QLD, December 2017]

Pair of Little Corellas in a huff about the presence of the photographer
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a pair of Little Corellas in flight; even when flying in a flock, one can often see individual pairs staying close together
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2011]

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Little Corella spreading its wings, exposing the prominent yellow tint of its underwings
[Gorokan, NSW, June 2011]

Frontal view of a Little Corella (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra, NSW, April 2015]

Frontal/ventral view of a Little Corella looking sideways
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Near-frontal portrait of a Little Corella (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Gold Coast, QLD, May 2017]

Near-lateral view of a Little Corella
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Lateral view of a Little Corella looking towards the observer (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Stanthorpe, QLD, February 2021]

Lateral view of a Little Corella (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Lateral view of a Little Corella; note how, while at rest, the edge of the lower mandible fits into a groove in the upper one
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Lateral view of a Little Corella (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Gatton, QLD, December 2017]

Dorsal view of a Little Corella; the point of the upper mandible is pushed into the cavity of the lower one
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Little Corella reaching for a seed pod
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Dorsal view of a Little Corella looking sideway - note the unusual pinkish-brown tint (its mate had the same colours); we do not know whether this is due to old or dirty plumage or e.g. due to hybridization
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Lateral view of a small flock of Little Corellas in flight
[Goran Lake, near Gunnedah, NSW, December 2023]

Ventral view in mellow light of a Little Corella in flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

PBFD - psittacine beak and feather disease

Near-frontal view of two Little Corellas - the one on the left looks dirty and sick, probably affected by PBFD
(photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Near Longreach, QLD, May 2023]

Near-frontal view of a dirty Little Corella; although found in a recently burnt area, it is probably also affected by PBFD
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kakadu NP, NT, June 2023]

Near-dorsal view of a dirty Little Corella; although found in a recently burnt area, it is probably also affected by PBFD
(photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Kakadu NP, NT, June 2023]

Hybridisation

Little Corellas can hybridise with both Galahs and Major Mitchell's Cockatoos.

Little Corella x Major Mitchell's Cockatoo hybrids

Frontal view of a Little Corella x Major Mitchell's Cockatoo hybrid in captivity (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)

Lateral view of a Little Corella x Major Mitchell's Cockatoo hybrid in captivity (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)

Breeding information

Breeding season: May - Oct Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: 24 days Fledging age: 42 - 56 days

The breeding season depends significantly on geographical latitude. Cockatoos are sociable creatures which often nest in loose colonies, also in conjunction with other species.

Two Little Corellas working on the production of the next generation
[O'Brien's Creek, Narrabri Lake, NSW, August 2011]

Nest

"bungobittah", "lar", "malunna", "jindi" [bundjalung] = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: Woodchips Height above ground: 5 - 25 m

Close-up near-frontal view of a pair of Little Corellas outside their nest hollow
(photo courtesy of J. Boettcher, FNQ Nature Tours)
[Eagleby Wetlands, near Brisbane, QLD, November 2020]

Little Corellas' version of "home, sweet home"... Hollow-nesting species such as cockatoos start selecting their new home early, before the start of the new breeding season (which is usually defined by the winter solstice)
[Near Narrabri, NSW, April 2017]

Two Little Corellas inspecting a nesting hollow (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Gold Coast, QLD, July 2014]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "mirk", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena", "pum-pum" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 35 x 25 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive/sedentary Elementary unit: Flock

Little Corellas are very sociable birds who prefer to live in large numbers.

Small flock of Little Corellas feeding
[Narrabri, NSW, September 2011]

"Little Corella tree" (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Burketown, QLD, September 2019]

There is now a separate page describing a flock of Little Corellas roosting on the ground.

As shown in some of the photos presented on this page, Little Corellas are often seen by us together with Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (while in the past their ranges did not overlap).

An example of peaceful (although not always quiet) co-habitation - a flock of Little Corellas, together with Sulphur-crested Cockatoos
[Near Boggabri, NSW, February 2006]

Little Corellas often display playful behaviour.

Little Corellas playing silly buggers...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2011]

Even when flying in a large flock, Little Corellas visibly form pairs when flying together.

Frontal view of a pair of Little Corellas sharing some "TLC" - such behaviour is part of a bonding ritual(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)

Flock of about 500-700 Little Corellas in flight
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Like basically all cockatoos, Little Corellas are seed-eaters, where seeds include those in cones and nut-like fruit, for example those of Acacia salicina (see below). They also take grass seeds (and commercial crops).

Here one of the food sources of Little Corellas: the fruit of an Acacia salicina tree

Frontal view of a Little Corella feeding in an Acacia salicina; note the use of the upper mandible inside the lower one
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Lateral/ventral view of a Little Corella feasting on the seeds of a lemon-scented gumtree, Eucalyptus citriodora
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2011]

Little Corellas taking unripe seeds of a Grevillea robusta
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2022]

Little Corella taking fruit (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Moggill Regional Park, near Anstead, QLD, April 2017]

Little Corellas feasting on seed cones (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Even when disturbed, these Little Corellas and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos did not let go of their food
(photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Maules Creek, NSW, March 2013]

3 Little Corellas on the edge of a trough drinking on a hot summer's day
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2006]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

ltcorel_20140817.mp3 sanguinea
(Top End, NT)
Contact call © MD
ltcorel_20140817_3.m4a sanguinea
(Top End, NT)
Alarm/annoyed call © MD
ltcorel_pb_20230908.m4a sanguinea
(Top End, NT)
Alarm calls (mob) © PB
ltcorel_pb_20210118.m4a sanguinea
(Top End, NT)
Pair with begging juvenile © PB
ltcorel_20140817_3.m4a sanguinea
(Top End, NT)
? © MD
 
ltcorel_20211207.m4a gymnopsis
(NW NSW)
Contact call (in-flight) © MD
ltcorel_20200715_2.m4a gymnopsis
(NW NSW)
Contact calls, Q&A © MD
ltcorel_20200715_3.m4a gymnopsis
(NSW)
Warning calls(?), Q&A © MD
ltcorel_20140312.m4a gymnopsis
(NW NSW)
Large flock in flight © MD
ltcorel_20200715.m4a gymnopsis
(NSW)
? (in-flight) © MD
ltcorel_art_20131204.m4a gymnopsis
(SE QLD)
? © ART

More Little Corella sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.