Little Corella

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Is the Little Corella right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Bare-eyed Cockatoo; Short-billed Corella; Blood Stained Corella

Scientific name: Cacatua sanguinea

The basics:
At least one expert ranked the Little Corella as the most intelligent of the cockatoos, which is high praise indeed, considering the competition. Too often overlooked in favor of the conventional beauties, this 'too can make an excellent pet for the experienced parrot owner who understands how to set limits. Their voice may not win any prizes, but they can develop a surprisingly large vocabulary, and they may be the best talker in the cockatoo group.

Warning: Cockatoos are powder down birds, and you should not obtain a Little Corella if anyone in the home suffers from allergies or asthma. Most of them are capable of extremely loud contact calls, or early morning “wake-up calls,” and it is also strongly recommended against choosing any cockatoo if you live in an apartment or have nearby neighbors.

There are five subspecies of the highly successful Little Corella, found in Australia and surrounding islands, as well as in southern New Guinea. It has been introduced to the Australian island of Tasmania and other areas outside its traditional range. It takes advantage of agricultural crops, and its wild population may actually be expanding. Huge flocks containing 50,000 birds or even more may forage together.

The Little Corella, often called the Bare-Eyed Cockatoo by American pet owners, is a comical-looking mid-sized cockatoo with a short bill, small crest, and baggy, saggy eyes.

350 - 530 grams (12 - 19 oz.)

Average size:
38 centimeters (15 in.)

45+ years

Behavior / temperament:
The Little Corella is beloved for its personality, rather than its looks. They love their special people, they love attention, and they love to play. Their vocal nature can be channeled into learning to speak, which is always a bonus with a potentially noisy bird. That said, they are still cockatoos, and you should educate yourself to head off any potential problems. Don't fall into the trap of cuddling the baby 'too for hours, when you will not be able to continue that cuddling for the next 50 years. Set sensible limits, and teach your pet from the beginning how to enjoy toys and independent play.

The big concerns are incessant screaming, feather-plucking, and aggressive biting, especially from a hormonal adult male. Contact a parrot behaviorist ASAP if you have any questions or problems. Cockatoos are probably more often given up for rescue or rehoming than any other bird. Don't be a statistic. These birds are sharp. There's no shame in acquiring a little advanced education so that you can keep up with them.

The Little Corella is not considered as “chewy” as many cockatoos, but don't be fooled. They can chew or lock-pick their way out of an ineffective cage in a surprisingly short period of time. Provide a powder-coated metal cage of at least 36” wide by 24” deep by 36” high with no more than 1” bar spacing. Please keep the cage well-supplied with disposable toys that can be chewed to destruction. Have sturdy manzanita perches in areas where you don't want to have to change the perches frequently, but also supply plenty of natural, bird-safe wood perches from unsprayed trees that your pet can chew to its heart's content.

The Little Corella is one of those cockatoo species that is highly respected – even feared – as an escape artist. Many of these birds can open their own cage doors, so they are only humoring you by staying inside unless you use padlocks to secure the doors and windows. You have been warned.

Teach your Little Corella to step on an arm or hand-held perch on command, so that you can easily bring the bird to a play gym. Have more toys and chew items in the play space. It may sound a little counter-intuitive, but a highly intelligent cockatoo does not always understand what a toy is for, until you demonstrate by playing with the toy yourself. Remember, the more intelligent the pet, the more it learns from being taught, rather than just going by pure instinct.

If you have an older, aggressive male, it is particularly important to keep the play gym and cage at waist height. A bird perched at shoulder or head height may hop aboard your shoulder before you give permission. Of course, this behavior seems cute when your pet is younger, but it's best to teach him to hop on your arm, not your shoulder – and, preferably, after you give the request.

Well-socialized, properly weaned Little Corellas require a varied diet that isn't too high in fat, carbs, or simple sugars. You may offer a small seed mix, but limit access to high fat larger seeds such as sunflower. The core of the diet should be a good cockatoo pellet or a high quality commercial or homemade “soak and cook” mix that contains well-cooked beans, grains, and vegetables, as well as well-sprouted seed. Learn how to make a chopped salad containing lots of vegetables and greens, as well as some fruit. If you suspect that your bird is a little too hyper and getting too much sugar, then you can hold back the fruit for trick training, foraging games, or to offer by hand as part of a bonding exercise.

Some Little Corellas are described as picky eaters. If your pet doesn't know that an item is food, it may waste or throw the item. Demonstrate that a new food, such as a new fruit, is good to eat by eating some yourself in front of the bird.

Never feed avocado or chocolate to any cockatoo. These foods are toxic to all parrots.

Written by Elaine Radford


smart, wonderful pets, real sweetheart, unique cockatoos, adorable creatures, great fun


feather abusive behaviours, seasonal aggress, hormone shifts


Blood Stained Corella, decent talkers, clipped wings, positive reinforcement

Helpful Little Corella Review

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From Liz Jan 22 2012 3:49PM


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Little Corella

From laraellen91 Apr 8 2015 6:14AM


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