Crimson Rosella Chick


Platycercus elegans



other names
Mountain Lowry, Yellow Rosella and Adelaide Rosella



click here to see an adult Crimson Rosella


Adults:Length is 320 to 360mm, including long tail. Sexes are alike, males are a little larger with broader head and heavier bill. Colour varies depending on location. Main form is primarily red with blue-green tail, inner wing coverts are black and outer and underwing coverts are blue and blue cheeks. The Adelaide form is yellow with red cap and throat with blue-green tail, paler blue wings (outer and underwing coverts) and blue cheeks. The Murray River form is yellow with blue-green tail, blue cheeks and red markings above beak. Eye is dark brown. Bill is bone coloured with the cere being dark grey. Feet and toes are dark grey.

Juvenile: Dull olive-green, uniformly so on upper surface, blotched with red on throat and cressum in red-plumaged race, washed uniformly yellowish on undersurface of yellow plumaged form. Brow or forecrown dull red. Cheeks dull blue. Flight feathers and tail dusky blue. Adult plumage begins at approximately one year old and is complete at 15 months.

Voice: Four main calls: 1 - harsh, shrill sharp two or severally repeated screeches, usually given in flight in alarm or excitement; 2 - a high pitched, usually two or three noted bell like whistle given from a perch; 3 - a lower pitched, softer call of five or so whistled or piping notes used as a contact call between birds; and 4 - a rich musical chatter given by birds flocking and displaying in trees.

Many are surprised to find that the yellow, orange and crimson forms of the Crimson Rosella are actually the same species as they differ in appearance so remarkably. Interestingly, the colour differences differ by only a few genes. The Crimson Rosella can be found along the eastern parts of Australia. Of the red form, a small and dark, almost black-red rosella can be found in the rainforests of northern Queensland between Cooktown and Townsville. The main red form, medium in size, can be found from the Clarke Ranges of Queensland west to South Australia. A large crimson scalloped form is found on Kangaroo Island. The Yellow form, which is medium sized is found through the red river gum woodlands of the Murray, into the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan regions and into the Mt Lofty Ranges. The Orange form can be found within sclerophyll forests in the Fleurieu Peninsula of the Mt Lofty Ranges and and orange-yellow form is found in the southern area of the Flinders Ranges. The Rosella lives in and on the edges of tall-timbered eucalypt forests and woodlands. It is a gregarious bird, immatures commonly banding with occasional adults in wandering feeding groups of up to 30 or more (out of the breeding season). Adults are less communal and seem more sedentary, although often gathering in groups of five or six, they tend to stay in pairs around their breeding grounds throughout the year. The diet of the Crimson Rosella is predominantly seed and fruit and the bird forages on the ground and in outer foliage of trees. It also drinks the nectar of native flowers. Breeding season is September to January and pairs seem to be permanent. The nest is a tree hollow, usually in tall eucalypt trees. Between four and eight eggs are laid. Incubation is between 19 and 21 days by the female and during this time the male feeds the female. After the eggs have hatched the female feeds the chicks until they are about two weeks of age and are then fed by both parents. Young fledge in about five weeks and feeding ceases approximately two weeks after. Young stay with the parents for another month or so before disbanding.

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