Little Corella - Cacatua sanguinea

Submitted by peter on Sun, 12/20/2020 - 20:58

Little Corella is also called the Bare-eyed cockatoo and the Blue-eyed cockatoo. The scientific name is Cacatua sanguinea. There are four subspecies, C. s. sanguinea, C. s. gymnopis, C. s. normantoni, and C. s. transfreta.

The Cacatuidae family contains Cockatoos. Within Cacatuidae, the genus Cacatua covers white cockatoos. Species sanguinea includes four subspecies, all with a grey/blue patch around their eyes.

Cacatua sanguinea sanguinea is the original definition of the species and lives in northern Australia. Sanguinea means "blood stained", a reference to the pink areas on their face. "Bare-eyed" refers to the bare area of skin around the eye and "blue eyed" is a reference to the colour of the bare area.

Cacatua sanguinea gymnopis lives across south eastern Australia and has stronger pink patches on the face plus stronger blue colouring in the eye patch. The enclosed photographs are of C. s. gymnopis.


Cacatua sanguinea normantoni lives in the Cape York Peninsula. C. s. normantoni is almost identical to C. s. sanguinea, with just one distinguishing feature, a brown tinge to feathers under the wings and tail.

Cacatua sanguinea transfreta lives in New Guinea.

Corellas adapt easily to suburbia, protecting their species. Unfortunately they can develop large flocks that occasionally destroy trees. Corellas also flock with Galahs, creating more damage to plants. Little Corellas are declared pests in some food producing areas and may be culled.

Out in open grassland, corellas eat grain crops and grass seeds. The corellas need to drink water every day as the seeds are too dry.

In our suburbs, Corellas eat flowers and fruit with both providing varied mixes of water, sugar, and nutrients depending on the growth stage. The above picture shows a corella eating the seed pods of the New South Wales Christmas Bush, Ceratopetalum gummiferum, after the flower has died away. The red "petals" in the photograph are the red sepals that develop after the real flower petals drop away.

Corellas and Cockatoos will also "eat" the bark off trees. They could be after grubs for protein or sap for fluid or to wear down their beaks to stop overgrowth. This type of bird can rip into the soft dead would inside a tree, where a branch broke off, to create a nesting space.

Those strong beaks can also rip into wood on your house, although it is usually larger cockatoos damaging houses. Corellas are shy, compared to the main culprits, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.