Cacatua tenuirostris - Long-billed Corella

Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris (Heinrich Kuhl, 1820) is a white cockatoo with a characteristic long pale beak, that is used to dig for roots and seeds. They are endemic to Australia.

They use their long beak to dig holes searching for food; these holes can have a depth of up to 15 cm! They are also known to dig up asphalt along the roadsides. Their ability to dig large holes in their search for food may not be very popular on golf courses…

Long-billed Corella is very intelligent and can learn to mimic words and short sentences better than most parrots and it is said to be the best “talker” of all cockatoos.

Previously it was a rare pet but is more common now.

Long-billed Corella is listed on CITES Appendix II and EU Annex B.

Description

Most characteristic is a is an unusual long and narrow beak; the beak has a pale grey color. The overall plumage is white. The crest is also white and much shorter than the other Corella’s. It has a red patch on the lores (between the beak and eyes) that extends around the eyes. It has a wide red patch on the throat that look similar to a “cut throat”. The feathers on the chest has a pink tint. The underside of the wings and tale is yellow. The naked eye-ring is bluish. Size: about  38-41 cm. Weight: about 567 gram. Long-billed 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.

Subspecies

None.

Habitat

Long-billed Corella is endemic to Australia where it is native in western Victoria and southern New South Wales. It has however extended its natural habitat and can now be found in southeast Queensland also. 

They prefer grassy woodlands and grasslands but can also be spotted in urban parks. They typically roost near water.

Diet

Long-billed Corella use their extremely long bill to dig after seeds, corns, roots and bulbs.

It can cause major damage to crops and is considered a pest in many parts of Australia.

Aviculture

Breeding season is July to November. 

The nest is build in hollows in large Eucalyptus threes; occasionally they will also nest in cavities of cliffs or termite mounds. The nest is build with a lining of decayed wood.

The Long-billed Corella form a close monogamous pair and both the male and female share the task of building the nest, incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks. 

The female lays 2-4 white oval eggs that are incubated approx. 24-25 days. The chicks leave the nest 8 weeks after hatching.

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Taxonomy

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

Synonyms

  • Danish: Langnæbbet Kakadu
  • English: Long-billed Corella, Eastern Long-billed Corella, Slender-billed Corella
  • French: Cacatoès nasique
  • German: Nasenkakadu
  • Portuguese: Cacatua-corella-de-bico-longo
  • Spanish: Cacatúa de Pico Largo, Cacatúa Picofina
  • Scientific: Cacatua tenuirostris

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2016. Cacatua tenuirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22684820A93048181.
https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22684820A93048181.en
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