Little Corellas

Little corella project

STOP PRESS: the Little Corellas project report is now available (click here to read our results)

There are hundreds of different species of parrots. They are intelligent birds, often brightly coloured, with curved bills, an upright stance, and distinctive feet (two toes forwards and two toes backwards). Cockatoos are a family of parrots found in Australasia, from southern Australia to as far north as the Philippines. Cockatoos nest in tree hollows and are monogamous (they form long-lasting pair-bonds for breeding). Common Australian cockatoos are galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos, cockatiels, long-billed corellas and little corellas. If you would like to learn more about little corellas, please see our “About little corellas” webpage (click here).

While many people enjoy seeing these native birds, large flocks in urban and rural areas do cause considerable problems in the warmer months. The most common problems are damage to trees (defoliation), taking grain, and disturbing residents with loud vocalisations. They can also damage buildings, particularly when they chew flashing or wiring, and to tarpaulins, wooden structures, cars and a variety of crops. There is significant public contention regarding corella management.

The research

Little corellas perching. Photo courtesy of Ashley Whitworth/Shutterstock

Little corellas perching (Cacatua sanguinea). Photo courtesy of Ashley Whitworth/Shutterstock

This research project focused on sites where little corellas are problematic. We utilised the existing knowledge and ideas of local communities to explore what makes particular sites problematic. We then worked with local communities to collect data to test ideas. We would like to better understand factors that lead to particular sites being popular with flocks of little corellas and problems for the local community. The project has been designed to help all stakeholders make informed decisions about little corellas. The project has been designed and timed so that results can be input into a new Little Corella Management Plan for South Australia.

Project plan

This research project was conducted in 2015 and 2016, with a number of distinct stages:

  1. Survey:
    A short survey about little corellas that has helped us to plan the rest of the project. It included questions about people’s experiences with little corellas in order to identify people and places to involve in subsequent phases of the project. Around 1,300 people provided information through the survey.
  2. Workshops:
    We ran workshops with people affected by, or concerned about, little corellas. At the workshops we explored what causes problem locations. We have used purpose-built software that has allowed participants to share their ideas and concerns. Workshops were held during December 2015 and January 2016 in Gawler (x2), Hawker, Mt Barker (x2), Onkaparinga, Quorn, Strathalbyn, and Milang. You can view and download the community models we have created (click here). There are also instructions on how you can edit the models.
View the community models created during the Little Corella project workshops (click on the picture)

View the community models created during the Little Corella project workshops (click on the picture)

    1. Data collection:
      In order to test the ideas suggested in the workshops, we needed to collect data. For example, visiting problem sites and assessing the environment for comparison to sites where little corellas are not a problem.
    2. Data analysis:
      Using the data collected during the previous stage, we tested and refined the ideas from the workshops, exploring management options available to manage little corellas in South Australia.
    3. Sharing results:
      We have published the results of this research in a report entitled “Little Corellas: Social and Ecological Research for management in South Australia” (Click here to read the report)

Little Corella map

As part of the online survey (step one of this project – see above), we asked people to nominate sites where they see little corellas. We are mapping these sites and you can see the results below.

Please note that we have been careful in mapping the sites, to make sure they are as close as possible to the sites described by survey respondents. However, for privacy reasons, we have mapped private residences on the street described, rather than on the actual house. Also note that this map does not indicate sites where people like or dislike their experiences of little corellas, just sites where little corellas are seen. Click on the map to enable zooming and moving the map!


See our media release (click here).

Contact us

To stay informed about the project, please register for our e-newsletter (click here)

You can contact us via email:

Or by phone: 08 8302 9999

Project team and collaborators:

This project was supported by: