Eastern Rosella, Platycercus eximius Click to enlarge image
Eastern Rosella, Platycercus eximius Image: SG Lane
© SG Lane

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    eximius
    Genus
    Platycercus
    Family
    Psittacidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    28 cm - 32 cm

Introduction

The Eastern Rosella uses one of its feet (usually the right foot) to hold food when eating on the ground or perched on a tree.

Identification

Eastern Rosellas are medium-sized colourful parrots with distinctive white cheek patches. It has a red head, neck and breast, with yellowish to greenish upper parts, a yellow underbody and a yellow-green to blue-green rump, with a red undertail. The shoulders are bright blue. Females are usually similar to males, but sometimes duller and young birds are even duller and can be aged by their bill colour, which is yellow or orange, changing to off-white when mature. The Eastern Rosella can be distinguished by its red head combined with white cheek patches.

Habitat

The Eastern Rosella is found in open woodlands, grasslands, farmlands and remnant bushland. Often found in urban habitats such as parks, gardens and golf courses.

Distribution

The Eastern Rosella is found throughout south-eastern Australia, from Queensland to Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. Also found in eastern Tasmania. Has been introduced to New Zealand.

Feeding and diet

The Eastern Rosella mainly feeds on the ground, especially amongst grasses in lawns, pastures and other clearings. Also feeds in trees and bushes. Main dietary items include: seeds, fruits, buds, flowers, nectar and insects.

Breeding behaviours

Eastern Rosellas mate for life. The female chooses and prepares the nesting site, usually a hollow in a eucalypt tree (but will sometimes use a nest-box or other artificial site). Eggs are laid on a decayed wood bed and the female incubates the eggs while the male regularly feeds her. The young may be fed for a while after they fledge.

  • Breeding season: August to February
  • Clutch size: 4 to 8, usually 5
  • Incubation: 19 days
  • Time in nest: 32 days

Conservation status

Eastern Rosellas may damage fruit and other crops, and have been trapped for the aviculture trade in large numbers. Compete with introduced birds, e.g. Common Starlings, for suitable nest hollows, and are sometimes caught by domestic pets.

References

  • Higgins, P.J. (ed) 1999. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 4 (Parrots to Dollarbird). Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  • Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.