Australian Bush Birds
Long-billed Corella  -  Cacatua tenuirostris
Long-billed Corella
Long-billed Corella at Port Fairy, Vic., with red splashes on face and breast, grey skin around eye, and long upper bill.
map map The Long-billed Corella - Cacatua tenuirostris - is a white cockatoo with crimson or salmon-pink splashes between bill and eye and on the breast. Large blue-grey skin patch around the eye. Underwing and undertail are yellow. Crest often folded and not noticeable. Male and female similar, 38 to 41 centimetres long. Long upper bill used to dig up roots, bulbs and corms. The white plumage is often stained with dust after this digging. Juveniles are similar to adults but with shorter upper bills.

Usually lives in pairs or in small flocks.

Lives in open woodland, open forest, grassland with scattered or watercourse trees; close to water. Likes to drink first thing in the morning then forage in the cool morning; roosts in the middle of the day then forages again late in the afternoon. Prefers River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) to roost in at night and for midday resting but digs most food from adjacent grassland and farmland. Long-billed corellas had a wider range before European settlement but that was reduced after grazing reduced food availability and the species was eliminated from parts of its historic range; overall numbers were reduced. Numbers have now improved in some parts and it has become locally common. Future breeding success will probably depend on availability of suitable breeding hollows.

Natural distribution now includes Western Victoria and the south-east corner of South Australia extending slightly into southern New South Wales. This distribution is supplemented by formerly caged corellas which have escaped or been released to form flocks around Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart.

Breeding takes place between July and November, preferably in large hollows high in River Red Gum trees. A clutch consists of one to three white eggs about 40mm by 30mm. Both parents incubate the eggs and raise the young. Incubation takes about 24 days and the young are fledged in another six weeks. Normally only a single brood is raised each year.