Friday, February 1, 2013

ID Feature: Corellas

Corellas in the south-west (particularly the Perth area) must be some of the most commonly misidentified birds in WA, particularly by visiting birders. Indeed a quick Google Image Search for Western Corella will turn up photos of all three species labelled as Western. A large part of the problem is caused by confusion over the distribution of the three corella species in the south-west; many field guides do not show introduced populations of Little and (Eastern) Long-billed Corellas, and/or show Western Corella as regularly occurring in Perth. Even the original Thomas & Thomas’ Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia (widely regarded as THE where-to-find guide for Australia) lists Western Corella as a key species at Lake Monger! Fortunately, this has been corrected in the recently published new edition. The reality is that the vast majority of corellas in the Perth metropolitan area are Little or Long-billed Corellas, with very few Western Corellas occurring.

Western Corellas of the northern race derbyi at New Norcia. Note the long bill, relatively long crest (though not fully extended), and strong red lores not extending over eye.