The Eastern Rosellas aka Common Rosellas, Platycercus eximius, are a parrot native to southeast Australia and Tasmania. This colorful rosella has a redhead, upper breast, and under tail-coverts.
Breeding (in the wild and aviculture)
Like just about Rosellas, the Eastern Rosella makes a strikingly beautiful and relatively quiet aviary occupant. It also has become increasingly popular as a pet.
The Eastern Rosella is found in lightly wooded country. In eats natural habit it eats a variety of grass seeds and fruits.
The Eastern Rosella averages 28 – 32 cm (11 – 12.8 inches) in length – the average being 30 cm or 11.8 inches. The average weight is 99 g or 3.5 oz.
This colorful rosella has a red head, upper breast and under tail-coverts. The cheeks are white. The lower breast is yellow becoming yellowish-green on the abdomen. The feathers of the lower breast and abdomen have a fine dark edging. The nape, back and shoulder feathers are black with yellowish-green edging. The inner median wing-coverts are black. The bend of the wing and outer median wing-coverts are blue. The secondary-coverts are pale blue, and the secondaries (shorter, upper “arm” feathers), outer webs at base of primaries (= longest wing feathers) and under wing-coverts are blue. The lower back and upper tail-coverts are pale green with a fine dark edging. The upperside of the middle tail-feathers are dark green with a narrow dark blue edging. The outer tail-feathers are pale blue with a dark blue base and pale tips. The tail underside is pale bluish. The bill is light grey-horn color. They have narrow grey to dark grey eye rings. The irises are dark brown and the feet are grey.
The female is on average smaller, the plumage is a duller red and they have a narrower bill. The edging to the back feathers is dull green. The whitish under-wing stripe is present in many females.
Sexing young birds can prove difficult and DNA sexing may be the only way to know for sure at a young age. However, it may be possible to sex birds that are at least 9 months as the molt into adult plumage.
Immature birds are similar to female, but they have a duller plumage. The back of the crown and nape are green. The pale under-wing stripe is present. Young birds attain the adult coloration after their second molt – when they are about 12 to 16 months old. At that time they also become sexually mature.
In their natural habitat, they mostly feed on grass and tree seeds (including sprouted seeds that dropped to the floor and were exposed to humidity), as well as a variety of fruits, berries, flowers and nectar.
Additionally, they take insects in their larvae – particularly during the breeding season, when they require more protein in their diet.
They forage in the trees and shrubs, as well as on the ground – usually in shaded areas.
A good Rosella diet should consist of canary seed, a mixture of millets, sunflower and safflower. Most people will use a Cockatiel seed mix with added Canary seed. They also enjoy fresh fruits and veggies such as apples, blackberries, oranges, cucumbers, sweet potato and mango. Kale, boiled egg can also be offered. I find that our Crimson Rosellas tend to appreciate fresh foods while the Golden Mantles will take bits and pieces leaving leftovers.
Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by “seed addicts” than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process – thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated “oil” seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while “starch” seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
They also enjoy fresh fruits and veggies such as apples, blackberries, oranges, cucumbers, sweet potato and mango. Kale, boiled egg can also be offered.
In their natural habitat, the breeding season is influenced by rainfall as well as the location of their home range.
Northern birds usually breed between September – January, while those found in the southern areas, mostly breed between February to June
In the northern parts of the United States, they mostly breed from April through September; in the southern USA, they may breed throughout the year.
The courting male will bow forward low on the perch while sounding out the mating calls. The interested female will do the same. This is usually followed by mutual feeding and then the actual act of mating.
Wild Rosellas usually nest near water, in the cavities of either dead or living trees, usually in eucalypts, or hollow stumps and posts. The nesting cavity is usually over 3 feet (1 m) deep and located up to 100 ft (30 m) above the ground.
The nest floor is usually covered with wood dust. The female alone incubates the eggs while
Rosellas are often noisy, except when feeding, which is typically done in silence. When roosting in groups, soft chattering or high pitched rapid ‘pi-pi-pi-pi-pi’ contact calls can be heard. Their alarm calls are shrill and screechy. In flight, they make ‘kwik, kwik’ vocalizations.
Rosellas are not known for much talking ability but they can mimic whistles and songs. Though they do not have a true song they do have several melodious calls. Similar to a louder Red Rump, it is much more pleasant than the shrill and harsh sounds of Conures, Cockatoos or Macaws.
- Rosellas are known for their loud, screeching voices (although vocalizing less frequently than some other parrot species) and tendency to be heavy chewers. They may become nippy as well, if not well socialized. They are not amongst the best talkers.
- Parrots generally present challenges, such as excessive screaming or chewing – especially at certain stages in their life. They do discover their beaks as method of “disciplining us” once they are out of the “baby stage” and they can generally be somewhat naughty, and it really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established. Undisciplined parrots will chew on electric wiring potentially causing house fires. They regard anything in your home as a “toy” that can be explored and chewed on; destroying items that you may hold dear or are simply valuable. Even a young bird that has not been neglected and abused requires proper guidance; this becomes even more challenging when it involves a rescued bird that may require rehabilitation.
- Web Resources: I put together web resources for you to help you understand your pet bird and properly direct him. Please visit the following website to learn more about parrot behavior and training.
Rosellas can be expected to live 15 or more years. Females reach reproductive maturity when they are about 18 months old, while males are able to successfully breed when they are 2 – 3 years old.
Red-back Eastern Rosella
- Golden-mantled Rosellas
Tasmanian Rosellas: Please scroll up for information on care and breeding.
Species: Scientific: Platycercus eximius diemenensis … English: Tasmanian Rosella … Dutch: Tasmaanse Rosella … German: Tasmanischer Rosella … French: Rosella de Tasmanië
Description: As eximius, but head and upper breast darker red; white patch to cheek much larger. Female with same distinguishing features as nominate form. … Length: 30 cm (12 ins)
Dutch: Prachtrosella … German: Rosella … French: Perruche omnicolore, Perruche omnicolore (nominal), Perruche omnicolore (nominale), Perruche omnicolore (race nominale) … Italian: Rosella comune … Spanish: Rosela Común
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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