Some of the most comical and fun-loving birds we have in Australia are members of the cockatoo family, the Little Corellas. There is a related species, the long-billed Corella, which has a red slash across the throat.
Little Corellas are widespread in Australia and easily identifiable by the raucous screeching calls they make, while flying. They live in a wide variety of habitats, from monsoonal forests, and paperbark swamps to semi-arid woodlands.
They are mostly white with a fleshy blue eye-ring, a short white crest and in flight, a bright, sulphur-yellow wash is visible on the underwing. They also have a rosy-pink patch, between the eye and the bill.
They often form large, noisy flocks, while feeding and they eat seeding grasses, corms, bulbs and fruits. They also love the seed pods from conifers and presumably other introduced plants.
In January I was amazed to find at least 20 little Corellas having a lovely time in my garden, busily nipping off, (pruning) the seeds from my tree. They looked like bizarre Christmas Tree decorations.
The range of these birds is expanding with the clearing of land for agriculture and in many areas, they have become a pest. They pair for life and nest in tree hollows, sometimes in large colonies. In the Maitland area they regularly breed at Earthcare Park.
They are clowns and love to play, a habit that is uncommon in the bird world. They wrestle with each other and will lie on their backs with their feet in the air, just chilling. They love to hang upside down by one foot or their bill from a branch.
I was very amused several years ago to watch them hanging from palm fronds and swinging themselves, an activity they took turns at trying.
Corellas have been known to slide down steep roofs, falling off the edge and flying back to slide down again. Another wild ride they love is hanging onto windmill blades or sitting on roof exhausts and spinning around.
This exuberant playful behaviour provides entertainment for themselves and those humans lucky enough to catch them in the act.