Bird world’s noisy clowns

The Little Corella, Cacatua sanguinea, is a small white cockatoo that can grow to a length of about 40 centimetres. They prefer arid deserts and open coastal plains to thick bushland but are common in urban and rural areas and can reach problematic numbers in many places around Australia.

Little Corellas usually mate for life, nesting in tree hollows, or tunnels in termite mounds lined with wood shavings.

Egg incubation lasts around 24 days and chicks take a month-and-a-half to reach fledgling stage. During the breeding season birds disperse into smaller breeding flocks. As the young fledge these flocks amalgamate and can grow enormously in size. The youngsters in the photo were able to fly quite well but their parents were keeping close as educating the young birds to be self-sufficient generally takes a few months. 

Large numbers of birds may gather in areas with enough food. Birds flying over an area will change course to join other birds on the ground in a process known as local enhancement. Little Corellas can see the white feathers of their friends a kilometre away and use this as a signal that there is food available.

Little Corellas are chatty sociable birds and talk to each other a lot, and quite loudly and numbers have been increasing in and around town recently.  Perhaps in response to the seeding of native grasses.

If a flock is settling in at your place, and if the ‘tweeting’ of a thousand little birds isn’t the sort of thing that you want to wake up to in the morning there are a couple of things you can try that might move them on.

Large trees provide roosting space to large numbers of Little Corellas. If this has been a problem in the past now is a great time to call in the tree loppers before a flock moves into your yard.

Little Corellas can be scared off with loud noises, particularly if you get in before the flock has grown to a record size. Be wary of using the same noises all the time as birds can quickly become accustomed to the disturbance while your neighbours never will. Flashing lights and moving objects may also frighten them away.

Little Corellas are beautiful, intelligent, noisy clowns that can be troublesome at times. They are also a protected wildlife species and must not be harmed. 

Little Corellas are chatty sociable birds and talk to each other a lot.

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