(Original Article: Rainforest Birds - Eastern Rosella)
|Photo by Tambako the Jaguar|
Species: P. eximius
The many common names of the Eastern Rosella include Rosella, Rosella Parrot or Parakeet, Red Rosella, Common Rosella, White-cheeked Rosella and Red-headed Rosella. The Eastern Rosella has three subspecies P.e. eximius (Eastern Rosella), P.e. cecilae (Gold-mantled Rosella), and P.e. diemenensis (Tasmania Rosella). These birds are common in the pet trade because of their bright colors and their softer call. There has been much debate about the classification of Rosellas.
Eastern Rosellas are about 30 cm in length and weigh 90 to 120 gm. The head, throat, and upper breast are bright red and they exhibit white cheek patches. The lower breast is yellow and green. Wings are mixed in color of black, blue, and green. The green extends down to the blue tail. Bill and feet are gray. Sexes are similar with the female smaller in size and paler in color and exhibiting more of green shading. The female generally has an underwing stripe.
The Rosellas feed on grass and shrub seeds, fruits, berries, blossoms, nuts, nectar, and insects. They have been known to cause a great deal of damage to crops and orchards.
Rosellas are distributed throughout southeastern Australia. They inhabit lightly timbered woodlands in humid and semi-humid regions from the seaboard to the fringes of the inland plains. Each subspecies has its own range. The Eastern Rosella subspecies occurs within Victoria and southern New South Wales. The Gold-mantled Rosella occurs in northern New South Wales. The Tasmania Rosella is found in eastern Tasmania.
Breeding season for the Eastern Rosellas occurs between August and February. Nest are built primarily in fallen logs or stumps. The clutch size is 4 to 9 eggs. Incubation takes approximately 19 days and the female does this solely. She will leave the nest 2 to 3 times a day to feed or be fed by the male. Females feeds the chicks exclusively for the first 10 days, after which the male may enter the nest and both parents will feed the young.