Re: birding-aus Long-billed Corellas in Perth

To: <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Long-billed Corellas in Perth
From: "Alex J. Saar" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 06:53:35 +0800
Hi Tony & all

Long-billed Corellas are historically native to Perth. Then they "went
away". Since the early 1970s, they have been increasing in number, slowly.
Stephen Davies considered, at that time, that they had been encouraged back
into the metropolitan area by the weed locally called Guildford grass, but
perhaps known elsewhere as onion weed (Romulea rosea). The corms of this
feral plant made ideal digging for the long-billed corella.

There was a recent discussion on the appropriate scientific name of the
long-billed and western corellas, but I can't seem to get into the archives
this morning.

Historical note:

Birds of Western Australia by D.L. Serventy and H.M. Whittell (1976) states:


Distribution: The Long-billed Corella is confined to the South-West from
about Geraldton to the south coast.

The bird is no longer found near Perth, where it occurred abundantly, as
elsewhere in the Sout-West, when the colony was first settled. The
botanist, Charles Fraser, who accompanied Captain James Stirling on a
survey of the Swan River in March 1827, observed "large flocks" of this
cockatoo at the eastern part of what is now the City of Perth near the Swan
River, and noted that the birds "feed on the roots of orchideous plants,
for which they scratch to a considerable depth." George Fletcher Moore, the
Advocate General, wrote in his diary on June 23, 1835, that at Guildford
the "white cockatoos are becoming very troublesome upon the wheat, as well
as the crows. One is obliged to keep a boy to drive them away, or to make
some contrivance to frighten them... It is singular to see a field spotted
black and white with these depredators 'piebalded'." They have not been
seen in such numbers near Perth within living memory, but in other parts of
the South-West they remained in strength until comparatively recent times.
... Small colonies survive in isolated parts of the Darling Range

End of Quote.

Serventy also refers to their use of Guildford "grass".

Have fun

>Hi all,
>       What do any of you know about a flock of (feral?) Long-billed
>Corellas at
>Lake Joondalup in the northern suburbs of Perth?
>       Whilst there two weeks ago my companions and I were amazed to find
>a flock
>of around 40 in a recreation area at the west side of the lake. They seemed
>very habituated to human presence with kids running through their midst,
>looked very fat and healthy ( birds, not the kids ), and were doing their
>frequent thing of ripping up the lawns, presumably feeding. Our observation
>was that they had a slightly larger and darker red in their throat
>underfeathers but were otherwise similar to the ones normally seen in the
>SE of SA and in Vic.
>       None of my field guides mention this population although Pizzey does
>mention some near Sydney, in north coastal NSW, and in Brisbane.I don't
>know whether HANZAB ( who can afford it?) mentions the Perth ones.
>Does anyone else have records of these birds, and if so, why don't they get
>a mention in the field guides?
>       It also seems strange that WA, with it's record of keeping out other
>ferals, doesn't have it's agricultural authorities out with their poisons
>and popguns knocking them off as is happening in Victoria and South Aust
>Cheers. Tony.
>ps.Could it be that the birding authorities in the Eastern States consider
>Perth to be a too distant colonial outpost to rate a mention as part of
>Australasia? Oooops!
>Tony Russell,
>45, Ridgefield Ave.,
>Adelaide, South Australia
>Ph:  08 8337 5959
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