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All Rosellas are parrots. Only rosellas held by private aviculturists will be
listed. For simplicity no hyphens have been used in the common
All rosella eggs are white. One
sixth of the world's species of parrots are Australian. Rosellas
belong to the genus PLATYCERCUS and are often referred to as
broad-tailed parrots as the word Platycercus means flat or broad tailed. Rosellas can be found in all Australian
States including Tasmania generally along the coastline.
are divided into two groups. One group has blue cheek
patches and the other group has white or pale cheek patches.
Blue cheek group :-
Adelaide Rosella, Crimson Rosella, Green Rosella or
Tasmanian Rosella, Yellow Rosella.
White or pale cheek group:-
Blue cheeked Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Golden mantled
Rosella, Northern Rosella, Pale headed Rosella,
Tasmanian Eastern Rosella, Western Rosella, Red backed
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans
elegans has 3 sub-species:- Adelaide Rosella P. e. adelaidae,
Crimson Rosella P. e. nigrescens, Yellow Rosella P. e. flaveolus.
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius
eximius has 2 sub-species:- Tasmanian Eastern Rosella P. e.
diemensis, Golden mantled Rosella P. e. cecilae.
Blue cheeked Rosella, Platycercus
adscitus adscitus has 1 sub-species:- Pale headed Rosella P.a.
Western Rosella, Platycercus
icterotis icterotis has 1 sub-species:- Red backed Western Rosella
P. i. xanthogenys.
Northern Rosella Platycercus venustus
venustus has 1 sub-species:- Northern Rosella P. e.
Green Rosella or Tasmanian Rosella -
Platycercus caledonicus has no sub species.
Rosella: To avoid the
possibility of two birds not being a "true pair", it is advisable to have new
birds surgically or DNA sexed. It may take a season or two for new birds
to settle into their new home so the cost of a veterinarian surgically
sexing or DNA testing of each bird can be regarded as an investment rather than an
expense. While the bird is getting surgically sexed, the
veterinarian can give the bird a thorough health check and answer any
questions you may have. A vet check up on each new bird does not
replace the quarantine routines, or be a substitute for normal quarantine
procedures, that must be maintained to minimize the chances of the
introduction or spread of disease pathogens and/or parasites to the
existing collection of birds.
The adult Western Rosella is dimorphic
and therefore easily sexed. Juvenile Western Rosellas are similar
to the adult hen.
Housing Requirements: Rosellas
like to chew on timber therefore metal frames with strong wire / mesh is
advisable. Recommended aviary size is about 1000mm - 1200 mm wide, 5000 mm long
and 2100 mm high. (3' - 4' X 16' x 7' high). Rosellas do well with the aviary
roof being fully covered with transparent or opaque corrugated roofing
material. A concrete floor is recommended. As Rosellas love to bathe,
make sure wet spots are allowed to dry and the floor is kept clean.
Rosellas can be housed in an aviary that
meets the requirements of most of the other Australian parrots.
Further details are available on the web page "Housing birds".
A typical parrot aviary will suffice.
A sheltered/roofed area at the rear of the aviary for the nest log or
box. The rest of the fully roofed flight to place the foods, water
and aviary furniture (perches etc.). A minimum aviary length of
3000mm (10 feet) is desirable.
Rosellas can be considered as aggressive
birds and it is best if they are not housed with other birds. It
is also advisable to only keep one pair of Rosellas per aviary. If
one is lucky enough to keep more than one pair of Rosellas, it is
advisable to keep the pairs separated by at least one aviary flight.
If rosellas are housed in adjoining aviaries, they will probably be
aggressive towards each other and get distracted from the prime purpose
of breeding. If it is unavoidable and pairs are housed in
adjoining aviaries it will be necessary to have the walls double wired
with a separation of about 75mm (3 inches). Double wiring of the
walls minimizes the chances of birds biting the feet of birds in the
adjoining aviary. If a pair is distracted by another pair next
door and does not settle down in a reasonable time, the more aggressive
pair may have to be placed in an aviary with a solid wall between its
Don't forget to plan for additional
aviary space for the young birds if you expect the birds to breed.
Young rosellas should be removed from their parents when they are fully
independent of their parents. This will minimize the risk of
aggression from the parent birds.
Diet / Feeding: Refer to "
" web page for more details on the feeding of Australian Parrots and
In the wild Rosellas will consume a
range of foods found at various levels within their habitat. They
will feed at ground level on seeds of grasses and herbs. In trees,
especially the eucalypts, and shrubs they will eat fruits, berries, leaf
and flower buds, nectars and chew on fresh branches. Insects and
the insect larvae will be consumed and this food source provides a good
source of easily digested protein, especially around breeding season.
Berries from some exotic plants such as the hawthorn are a favourite
food of many parrots including the Rosellas. Many species of
parrots and rosellas have adapted well to the introduced farmlands,
parks, gardens and urban areas within their natural range and will
forage there for foods including seeds, grains, berries and fruits.
Many species of wild Rosellas will
accept seeds and fruits from food trays and bowls left out for wild
birds by suburban households.
A basic Rosella
seed mix for aviary birds may consist of plain Canary seed, grey striped Sunflower, mix
of Millets, and hulled Oats. In addition to a basic seed mix, a wide range of seeds of grasses shrubs
and trees, heads of seeding grasses, nuts, berries, wide range of fruits
and vegetables, insect larvae can be offered to the birds.
Corn-on-the-cob can provide them with a valuable food and a lot of fun
and activity. Commercial pellet feeds are becoming available and may
be of value as a portion of the diet. They like to have the food
utensils elevated about 1 metre above ground. Most rosellas love to chew on fresh
branches and leaves. At breeding time birds can be fed hygienically
prepared good quality soaked or sprouted seed. The sprouted seed to
include a variety of oilseeds as normally fed in the dry seed mix. Wild
rosellas often obtain food from suburban gardens and parks. Rosellas spend much of their time on the
If the keeper wants to monitor or
restrict the amount of oilseeds such as Sunflower or safflower, these
seeds can be placed in a separate bowl. If the birds have a
preference to eat only the oilseeds, these seeds can be withheld until
the required amounts of the other foors have been consumed to maintain a
healthy balanced diet.
Rosellas will eat insects such as
mealworms. Insects can provide breeding birds with valuable easily
Seed capsules and flowers from native
trees such as eucalypts can provide these birds with a valuable natural
food source and at the same time give the birds an activity and exercise
session. Chewing on seed capsules, branches, leaves and flowers
may give captive birds some mental stimulation as well as physical
Rosellas may benefit from having the
food trays/dishes located about one metre above the floor/ground level
in an aviary. Rosellas will bathe in the water bowl. A
separate smaller bowl of water can be placed above the floor level near
the food area and hopefully this bowl will only be used for drinking.
Breeding & Nesting:
A basic overview only.
Rosellas should be about 18 - 24 months
of age before they are allowed to breed. If the birds,
particularly the hens, are allowed to fully mature the breeding life of
hens can be safer and longer than those that are allowed to breed at an
early age. Rosellas can lay and successfully raise young up to the
age of about 10 years, sometimes longer.
Best breeding results are achieved by
pairing up unrelated birds. Buying two young birds from the same
place may give you a brother-sister combination.
To avoid the possibility of producing
hybrids, only keep one pair of Rosellas per aviary. Make sure to
only breed true to one species or to a true sub-species. Keep all
species and sub-species pure and avoid breeding from hybrids.
Accidental hybrids can be sold to the pet bird trade and removed from
the breeding stock. If in doubt about the purity of any available
breeder birds, get advice from established reputable breeders or from an
established Aviculture club/society or from an accredited avian
All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.
Therefore all Rosellas can be offered the choice of a hollow log as the
preferred nest choice. Rosellas generally choose a log or
nest that provides a snug fit. Over sized nests are usually
avoided if smaller nests are available.
Dimensions quoted for nests or logs are typical / average and
can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds
preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by
the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.
If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their
own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and
been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.
Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has
chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.
If the "spare" box/s are to be removed and moved to another flight,
ensure each log / nest box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the
minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.
Nesting generally takes place from August to December /
January. The Northern Rosella will generally start breeding
earlier than the other species of Rosellas. Only the hen incubates the eggs. Rosellas will use natural hollow logs
or commercial nest boxes but with a preference for a round nest.
Rosellas prefer logs or nest boxes that are hung high up in the aviary
but care must be taken to ensure the nest does not get too hot
especially when close to the roof. Logs of about 600 mm in length and
about 170 - 180 mm internal diameter should be ideal. Entrance hole to
be about 65-70mm. A quantity of suitable nest material has to be placed in the
bottom of the nest/log before breeding season starts. Decomposed
saw dust closely resembles the naturally occurring material in hollows
in the wild. A mix of non-toxic sawdust, peat moss or a mix of
these materials can be placed in the nest to a depth of about 100mm
(4inches) deep. This material should be compressed with your hand
or another implement to form a rough cup shape. Some birds like to
throw out the material you have provided, so check the nest and add some
more material as required. If the material is removed and not
replaced, the eggs may roll around on a hard flat surface and result in
few or no baby birds hatching.
Standard commercial parrot nest boxes
with a base of up to 200 mm (8 inches) and about 600 mm deep will be
suitable. Most nest logs are hung at an angle between 45 degrees
to vertical to nearly vertical. Most commercial nest boxes are
hung at vertical or near vertical.
The entrance hole of the log or nest
should be higher than the near by perch or perches. The hen seems
to feel safer in the nest if the entrance hole to her nest is higher
than the nearby roosting or perching facilities. The nest should
not placed at a height that makes it difficult or unsafe to carry out a
Nest access must be easy for the keeper
and keep the stress levels of the birds to a minimum especially if the
keeper has to place a ring on a leg of each youngster.
Nest inspections are tolerated by most
breeding pairs. Most parrots that allow the keeper to inspect the
nest and allow the young to be leg rung, prefer the keeper to follow an
established routine. Talk with other successful rosella breeders
in your area to find out the methods they use and adapt their routines
or methods to your birds. Birds generally behave better at
breeding time if they have a predictable keeper.
Nest boxes that are able to be inspected
safely from outside the aviary can be an advantage in cases where the
breeding birds are aggressive to the keeper.
Rosellas are generally good breeders and
can lay a clutch of up to 8 eggs. A typical clutch is 4 to 6 eggs
and take about 20 days to hatch. The young leave the nest at about
5 weeks of age. Independence from the parent birds can be about 2
weeks but care must be taken as some young birds may take much longer.
If a young bird is removed too early it may fail to thrive or die.
If the young are removed from the parent birds after the young are fully
independent, a second clutch is often successful.
Top of - Rosellas - Page
Refer to references listed on "
Book References " web page.
Top of - Rosellas - Page