Corellas: Villains of the Bird World

Little Corella

Little Corella

Birding time out

From time to time I take out a few minutes from my day to go birding. Sometimes these few minutes stretch into a few hours. I recently took off a whole afternoon. During this time, I visited six birding spots around my home town of Murray Bridge which is about an hour’s drive south-east from Adelaide.

Sturt Reserve

One of the spots I visited was Sturt Reserve. This lovely spot is on the banks of the Murray River. It is named after Captain Charles Sturt who explored the river in 1830. The reserve has large areas of lawn for picnics, a large playground and a restaurant. It also plays host to a wide variety of birds.

Little Corellas

On my recent visit, there were quite a few Little Corellas in the trees along the river. In flocks of 30 – 50 they can be annoyingly noisy. In recent years, these flocks have grown into the hundreds on many occasions. They are known to be high on the list of the Villains of the Bird World.


In large flocks like one can see at Sturt Reserve – and other spots around the district – they can wreak havoc on trees, stripping leaves, twigs and bark from trees until little is left but for a carpet of gum leaves on the ground below. The nearby lawn-tennis courts have also been a target of these destructive birds. They have sometimes left the courts unusable after the sharp beaks of several hundred birds have visited. Various methods to disperse the flocks have been tried, but without much success. This is a widespread problem in many places in South Australia.

Large flock

Later, I drove a few kilometres to the southern edge of town to visit Swanport Reserve, also on the banks of the river. Here I witnessed flocks of several hundred corellas flying along the river and then out onto recently cultivated farmland across the river. Because of the distance, I was only able to estimate their numbers. After many smaller flocks had joined into one large flock, there must have been at least 1200 birds – possibly as many as 2000.

The photos below were taken at Sturt Reserve. They show the playfulness of some of the birds on the street lights. While I couldn’t see any damage┬áto the lights from their beaks, they are quite capable of causing the local council some expensive headaches.

Further reading:

Little Corellas

Little Corellas

Little Corellas

Little Corellas

Little Corellas

Little Corellas


2 Responses to “Corellas: Villains of the Bird World”

  1. Ken Rolph says:

    I think little corollas have just arrived in Blacktown. There was an old golf course two streets down which has become a housing estate with a large meandering lake through the centre. While walking there we saw about a dozen birds which looked like cockatoos but much smaller. Haven’t seen little corollas in the area before.

    The new lake system has attracted masses of ibis. They seem to live off the chips and muffins around the cafe in the park.

    Perhaps the corollas have something to do with my disappearing mandarins. Lately I’ve begin finding empty husks still on the tree or under it. They hollow out the shells very neatly. We have managed to pick about 200 mandarins this week, so I don’t mind if they have a few, so long as they don’t get used to coming back. Backyard fruit is a contest between me and the birds or bugs. I’d like to win a little.

  2. Ken Rolph says:

    Darned auto correct, probably sponsored by car companies. Corellas. You need to watch it all the time.

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