Cacatua pastinator - Western Corella

Western Corella Cacatua pastinator (Gould, 1841) is a white cockatoo endemic to Australia.

Like most cockatoos they bond strongly to their mate or to their owner. They are highly intelligent and can learn to mimic words and sounds.

Western Corella are not as common in aviculture as the other Corellas: Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) and Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea); possibly because they can be aggressive towards other birds in the aviary. 


Western Corella is a medium sized stocky white cockatoo with a white crest. Small crimson pink coloring between the beak and eyes and a small pink patch on the throat. Bases of feathers on head and breast washed with pink/orange. The wings are broad and rounded. The underside of the wing and tail is pale yellow. The eye-ring is blue-grey and continues into an area of naked skin below the eye. The beak is dull grey; adults have a relatively long beak though not as long as the Long-billed Corella. The legs are dark grey.

Male and female look similar but males are slightly larger and have a deeper call. Juveniles has a much shorter beak and can easily be confused for a Little Corella.

Size: 43-48 cm
Weight: 560-815 g

Western Corella look similar to the other corellas and are often confused, but the size of the bill and crest and also the red coloration on lores and breast distinguish these species:

  • Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) has the largest bill; the head is also larger but the crest is much shorter than the other two species. The red area on the lores continue over the eye. The red patch on the throat is wider and look like a “cut throat”.
  • Western Corella (Cacatua pastinator) has a large bill but smaller than Long-billed Corella. The crest is much longer than the Long-billed Corella. The red area on the lores is just a small patch between the eye and bill. The red patch on the throat is much smaller than on Long-billed Corella and may be barely visible on some birds.
  • Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) The bill is much smaller and the upper and lower mandibles are of similar length. The crest is slightly shorter than Western Corella but larger than the Long-billed Corella. The red coloration of throat is missing. The red area on the lores is smaller and a paler red color.


Two subspecies are recognized:

  • Cacatua pastinator pastinator (Gould, 1841) – Muir’s Corella
  • This subspecies is the largest with a size of about 43-48cm and a weight of about 560-815 gram. There is an estimated 1.000 – 3.000 birds in this population.
  • Cacatua pastinator derbyi (Mathews, 1916) : Smaller in size; about 40-48 cm and a weight of up to 700 gram. There is an estimated 5.000 – 10.000 birds in this population.


Western Corella is endemic to the south-western Austalia, where they can be seen in large flocks with up to 700 birds during the summer. The flocks are often very noisy and can be heard from far away.

They prefer grassy open forests and eucalypt woodland near watercourses.

The two recognized subspecies are geographical separated:

  • Cacatua pastinator pastinator : Lake Muir and Unicup region (sw Western Australia)
  • Cacatua pastinator derbyi : sw to wc Western Australia


Wild birds feed on seeds, roots and corms but also agricultural crops.

The diet should be based on pellets,  and high quality seed mix, nuts, various fruts, green leaves and vegetables . Sprouted sunflower and sprouted beans is also recommended.


In nature, the nest is built 6-20 meters above the ground in holes in large Eucalyptus trees and occasionally also other trees. The nest is typically 0.5 – 2 meters deep. They can reuse the same nest hole several years in a row. The breeding season is August to October.

Cockatoos are relatively easy to breed in captivity. They form a monogamous pair and both sexes incubate the eggs.

Typically 3-5 eggs are laid. The incubation period is approx. 22-24 days. The young leave the nest after approx. 8 weeks. The young are independent of their parents when they are approx. three months old.



  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Cacatua


  • Danish: Næsekakadu
  • English: Western Corella, Western Long-billed Corella, Western Long-billed Cockatoo
  • French: Cacatoès à nez rose, Cacatoès à oeil nu, Cacatoès à oil nu, Cacatoès laboureur
  • German: Wühlerkakadu
  • Portuguese: Cacatua-pastinator
  • Spanish: Cacatúa Cavadora
  • Scientific: Cacatua pastinator

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2016. Cacatua pastinator. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22684816A93047996.
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