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12

Eastern Rosella

(Platycercus eximius)
Alternative names: "White-cheeked Rosella", "Rosehill Parakeet", "Nonpareil Parrot"
Size: 29-33 cm
Weight: 100 g (average)

Similar species

SUBSECTIONS:     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Taxonomy, classification

See Eastern Rosella at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

(for details refer to a field guide)

Click here to display information on habitat, range and finding this species

Sightings

Eastern Rosellas, race "elecica", can be seen in the Narrabri area on a regular basis. However, they are more common in the hill ranges East of Narrabri than out in the plains.

Click here to display more sighting information

Photos

Race "elecica"

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

Male Eastern Rosella looking at the observer; one can see clearly its white cheeks, which gave the species its alternative name
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2012]

Near-frontal view of a male Eastern Rosella
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2006]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Rosella
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2007]

The same male Eastern Rosella as above, now with its head turned
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2007]

Dorsal view of a male Eastern Rosella, here seen inspecting a nesting box
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2013]

Male Eastern Rosella taking a bath
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2008]

Frontal view from below of a female Eastern Rosella with its tail fanned
[Eulah Creek, NSW, June 2012]

Dorsal view of a female Eastern Rosella
[Narrabri, NSW, November 2010]

Lateral view of an immature Eastern Rosella
[Near Narrabri, NSW, January 2006]

Here an immature bird feasting on the seeds of a weed growing in our lawn
[Eulah Creek, NSW, February 2012]

Race "eximius"

Lateral view of a male Eastern Rosella (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree) lawn
[Alongside Tambo River, Sandy Creek Road, South Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, March 2013]

Lateral view of a female Eastern Rosella (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree) lawn
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay, East Gippsland, VIC, February 2014]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Dec Eggs: 4 - 5 Incubation period: 19 - 20 days Fledging age: ca. 35 days

In some cases a brood can be up to 8 eggs. In November 2012 we found the first chick of a clutch of four hatched after 19 days.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

The male feeds the female near the nest during the time she is incubating the eggs.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = Nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: Wood Height above ground: 3 - 10(?) m

Female Eastern Rosella in the entrance of a nesting box in our garden
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Female Eastern Rosella entering a nesting box in our garden
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Female Eastern Rosella re-entering the nest after a short absence
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2012]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 27 x 22 mm Colour: White Shape: Rounded

Four Eastern Rosella eggs in a nesting box in our garden
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2012]

The first tiny Eastern Rosella chick has hatched, three eggs are still intact; the female has not removed all fragments of the first broken eggshell yet
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Hybrids

Eastern Rosellas are known to hybridise with Pale-headed Rosellas and with Crimson Rosellas.

Pale-headed Rosella hybrids

Almost frontal view of a hybrid Eastern/Pale-headed Rosella (click on image to see the bird with its head turned the other way)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2011]

Lateral view of a hybrid Pale-headed Rosella checking whether all is clear before approaching a waterhole
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

View from behind of a hybrid Eastern/Pale-headed Rosella
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2007]

Slightly different posture
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2007]

Here a very young Rosella of mixed parentage, 25 km west of Narrabri, NSW. It is a mix between an Eastern Rosella and a Pale-headed Rosella
[Near Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

A portrait of the little chick is available here.

Crimson Rosella hybrids

Lateral view of an Eastern Rosella x Crimson Rosella hybrid (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Barraba, NSW, April 2014]

Although not 100% sure, because unable to obtain a photo for identification at the time, we think that we have also spotted a hybrid between a Crimson Rosella and an Eastern Rosella at Girraween NP (southern QLD) in July 2009.

P. & M. Juers report spotting a hybrid between a Crimson Rosella and an Eastern Rosella at Drouin, VIC (see photo below).

Male hybrid Crimson Rosella/Eastern Rosella with a female Eastern Rosella (photo courtesy of P. & M. Juers)

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

 

In the region where their habitats overlap, i.e. northern NSW and southern QLD, Eastern Rosellas and Pale-headed Rosellas can interbreed (see above). The hybrids have intermediate colours (the size and colour of the yellow and red patches on their heads and breasts vary).

Pair of Eastern Rosella (bottom) and Pale-headed Rosella (top) in a White Cedar tree, 20 km south of Narrabri, NSW
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2005]

The photos below show that Eastern Rosellas can become very tame.

This is "Christmas", a female Eastern Rosella who decided, on Christmas Day 2009, to live with a human - by landing on his head at 4 am in complete darkness (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, Feburary 2010]

"Christmas" in the bathtub (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, October 2010]

Food, Diet

Like many parrots, Eastern Rosellas are seed-eaters; primarily they feed on grass seeds. Like many other birds Eastern Rosellas are opportunistic. Some of the photos below show a bird feeding on the seeds of a decorative tree. We have also observed Eastern Rosellas feeding on the seeds of Wilga trees.

Eastern Rosellas feeding on seeds on the ground (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Eastern Rosella reaching for seeds
[Gunnedah, NSW, August 2011]

This explains why there were hardly any seeds left on the tree...
[Gunnedah, NSW, August 2011]

Female Eastern Rosella taking seeds of an Acacia salicina
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2013]

Eastern Rosellas have also been found to be taking nectar from the flowers of Emu bushes and we have seen them nibble on flowers of various types of eucalypt, including e.g. lemon-scented gumtrees.

This Eastern Rosella was observed by us in a eucalypt infested with psyllids
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2012]

Eastern Rosella seen taking a lerp from the underside of a eucalypt leaf
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2012]

Call/s

For this species we have recorded the following call/s. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

eastros_20140311.mp3 Contact call M. Dahlem
eastros_20140313_2.mp3 Contact calls M. Dahlem
eastros_20140110.mp3 Contact call (partial) M. Dahlem
eastros_20140313.mp3 Calling mate(?) M. Dahlem
eastros_20140313_3.mp3 Calling mate(?) M. Dahlem
eastros_20140515.mp3 Warning/departure M. Dahlem
eastros_20140423.mp3 Alarm call? (in-flight) M. Dahlem
eastros_20140202.mp3 Pair chatter M. Dahlem
eastros_20140202_4.mp3 Pair chatter M. Dahlem
eastros_20140115_2.mp3 Group fighting M. Dahlem
eastros_20140212.mp3 ? M. Dahlem

These pages are largely based on our own observations. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.