Eastern Rosella

Photo: M Hooper

Eastern Rosella

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What do they look like?

The Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) is also known as the rosella, white cheeked rosella or rosella parakeet. Their heads and necks are bright red, their cheeks are white. Feathers on their backs and wings are black, edged with yellow-green or yellow. Their flight feathers are blue.

Males and females appear similar but the colours of females are duller on the head and breast than males.

Where are they found?

They are found throughout south-eastern Australia all the way from Queensland to Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. These brightly coloured parrots are still found in urban areas where you can hear them chatter as they feed in open ground among mature trees.

Fast facts:

  1. Eastern Rosellas flight is undulating and close to the ground, and they glide upward into trees, fanning their tails as they land.
  2. The Eastern Rosella is also known as the rosella, white cheeked rosella or rosella parakeet.

Eastern Rosella – the full story

The Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) is also known as the rosella, white cheeked rosella or rosella parakeet. Many people recognise rosellas as the symbol on sauce bottles and soup cans in kitchens around Australia.

These brightly coloured parrots are still found in urban areas where you can hear them chatter as they feed in open ground among mature trees.

Their flight is undulating and close to the ground, and they glide upward into trees, fanning their tails as they land.

Their heads and necks are bright red, their cheeks are white. Feathers on their backs and wings are black, edged with yellow-green or yellow. Their flight feathers are blue. Males and females appear similar but the colours of females are duller on the head and breast than males.

They mainly eat seeds but will also eat berries, blossoms, nectar, fruit and insects. You might find Eastern Rosellas in pairs or small groups feeding on seeds fallen to the ground.

They are not timid and often allow people to approach close enough to admire their beautiful feathers. When they do move to the tree tops rosellas have a different song. While perched they produce a metallic piping sound.

They nest in the hollow branches of dead or living gum trees. Nests have also been found in holes in rotting logs lying on the ground but the loss of old trees is now creating a shortage of homes for these birds.

You can make your neighbourhood friendlier for Eastern Rosellas

Rosellas eat various types of seed, berries, blossoms and nectar. Our gardens and parks can be a safe place for Eastern Rosellas and will provide them with the food they need.

Eastern Rosella’s love:

Native grasses – they search the ground for fallen seed.

Native trees – they move through the tree tops to gather a variety of seeds.

Safe parks and gardens – where cats and dogs will not chase or attack them as they feed.

Hollow branches – which provide safe and secure nesting sites, beyond the reach of predators.

But they don’t like:

Cats and dogs – which can frighten or attack them.

Garden pesticides – which poison the birds if they eat contaminated seeds.

Be a buddy to the Eastern Rosella

Try to:

  • watch for rosellas in flight or feeding on the ground.
  • keep cats and dogs away from areas in your backyard and in parks where rosellas feed during the day.
  • include a variety of native grasses, bushes and shrubs with seeds in your garden for the birds to feed on.
  • preserve mature trees in the area with hollows for the birds to use for nesting or build a next box.
  • put a bird bath in your yard to give Eastern Rosellas a drink and somewhere to splash around when its hot and clean their feathers.

Avoid:

  • removing seed heads, especially from native grasses if rosellas are feeding in the area.
  • removing dead branches from trees if there is no safety issue.
  • removing fallen branches from the ground.
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