Pale-headed rosella Click to enlarge image
Pale-headed Rosella, Platycercus adscitus Image: Glen Fergus
© Glen Fergus

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    adscitus
    Genus
    Platycercus
    Family
    Psittacidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    28 cm to 34 cm

Even though it is brightly coloured, the Pale-headed Rosella is very well-camouflaged when feeding amongst leaves in the canopy of trees.

Identification

The Pale-headed Rosella is a medium-sized, broad-tailed parrot, with a pale head and all white, or blue and white cheek patches. The underbelly is mainly blue, with red under the tail. The back is yellow with dark flecks. The female is similar, though slightly duller, with an off-white underwing stripe. There is marked geographical variation, with differences in the depth of colour and the facial patch. This is a noisy and conspicuous parrot, except when feeding.

Habitat

Pale-headed Rosellas are found in savanna woodlands, lightly timbered woodlands with a grassy understorey, tree-lined watercourses and agricultural lands.

Distribution

The Pale-headed Rosella is endemic to north-eastern and eastern Australia.



Seasonality

Movements are poorly known and the Pale-headed Rosella is usually considered to be resident.

Feeding and diet

Pale-headed Rosellas feed mainly on the ground, but also in trees and shrubs. They mainly eat seeds and fruits of grasses, shrubs and trees, as well as flowers, insects and their larvae. They feed more often in shade than in sunlight.

Communication

The call is similar to that of the Eastern Rosella: 'kwik, kwik' calling in flight, or when perched a high pitched rapid 'pi-pi-pi-pi-pi' and soft chattering.

Breeding behaviours

Pale-headed Rosellas make their nests in the hollows of either dead or living trees, usually in eucalypts, or hollow stumps and posts. The nest is often near water. The eggs are laid on wood dust. Only the female incubates, though a few days after hatching the male helps with feeding the young.

Breeding Season: September to January or any time depending on rainfall.

Economic impacts

Pale-headed Rosella numbers may be affected by illegal trapping for the bird trade, especially the blue-cheeked race. The species may also have benefitted from the thinning of heavy forests.