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Corella torture?

June 21, 2013

Long-billed Corellas

Driving along Upper King Parrot Creek Road the other day we came across the pair of Common Bronzewings that often sit on the road near Carver Creek – the Flowerdale-Strath Creek ‘border’. Our attempt to get a photo of them was in vain as they quickly fluttered off to an adjacent paddock out of sight. We then noticed a continuous strange wheezing noise from overhead that at times could possibly be mistaken for someone having their toenails ripped out – or possibly their throats cut (see photo). On investigation, it turned out to be a group of Long-billed Corellas (Cacatua tenuirostris) sitting on a branch high in a roadside eucalypt tree, together with a single Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

Their constant noise (click on the audio bar arrowhead below to hear it) was still going on when we returned more than half an hour later, although the cockatoo had left (driven off by the noise?). We have watched Galahs making a similar call while engaging in mutual grooming, known as allopreening, a practice thought to promote bonding and reduce tensions in close-roosting birds. So perhaps this strange vocalisation is part of the corellas’ social bonding ritual – maybe these are recent fledgelings? We have heard Gang Gang Cockatoos and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos also make regular wheezing calls when feeding, so it seems to be a feature of members of the Family Cacatuidae. Comments welcome.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 22, 2013 6:47 pm

    I’ve often heard this noise which I associated with juvenile birds begging for a regurgitated feed. Often the young birds shift their weight from side to side in a swaying motion as well.

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