Eastern rosella

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Eastern rosella
Platycercus eximius diemenensis male.jpg
P. e. diemenensis (male)
Platycercus eximius diemenensis female.jpg
P. e. diemenensis (female)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittaculidae
Subfamily: Platycercinae
Tribe: Platycercini
Genus: Platycercus
Species: P. eximius
Binomial name
Platycercus eximius
(Shaw, 1792)

The eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius) is a rosella native to southeast of the Australian continent and to Tasmania. It has been introduced to New Zealand where feral populations are found in the North Island [2] (notably in the northern half of the island and in the Hutt Valley) and in the hills around Dunedin in the South Island.[3][4]


The eastern rosella was named by George Shaw in 1792. It is sometimes considered a subspecies of the pale-headed rosella (P. adscitus). The term White-cheeked rosella has been used for a species or superspecies combining the pale-headed and Eastern forms.[5] Hybrids of the two taxa have been recorded where their ranges meet in northeastern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland.[6]

Three subspecies of eastern rosella are recognised:[7]

  • P. e. eximius, Victoria and southern New South Wales. Black feathers on the back have green margins. Rump is pale green.[7]
  • P. e. elecica, northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland. In the male the black feathers on the back have golden-yellow margins, and greenish-yellow in the female. The rump is bluish-green. This subspecies is also called the golden-mantled rosella, often abbreviated to GMR.[7]
  • P. e. diemenensis, eastern Tasmania. White cheek patches are larger and the red on the head is darker.[7]


Golden-mantled rosella (P. e. elecica) at Woodland Park Zoo, USA. Feathers on the back of the male are edged with a golden-yellow colour.

The eastern rosella is 30 cm (12 in) long. It has a red head and white cheeks. The beak is white and the irises are brown. The upper breast is red and the lower breast is yellow fading to pale green over the abdomen. The feathers of the back and shoulders are black, and have yellowish or greenish margins giving rise to a scalloped appearance that varies slightly between the subspecies and the sexes. The wings and lateral tail feathers are bluish while the tail is dark green. The legs are grey. The female is similar to the male though duller in colouration and has an underwing stripe, which is not present in the adult male. Juveniles are duller than females and have an underwing stripe.[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The eastern rosella is found in lightly wooded country, open forests, woodlands, gardens, bushlands and parks. It eats grass seeds and fruits. Breeding occurs in spring and early summer and up to seven white eggs are laid in tree hollows.


Juvenile P. e. diemenensis
Chicks in nest

The breeding season is August to January, with one brood. The nesting site is usually a hollow over 1 m (3 ft) deep in a tree trunk anywhere up to 30 m (100 ft) above the ground. A clutch of generally five or six (although up to nine have been recorded) round, white and slightly shiny eggs, measuring 26 x 22 mm, is laid.[5]

As pets[edit]

The eastern rosella is sometimes kept as a pet. These birds are desired for their beautifully coloured plumage. They are intelligent creatures, which can be trained to whistle a wide repertoire of tunes and may even learn to speak a few words or phrases. Rosellas can make good companion parrots; however, they require a great deal of attention and many toys to satisfy their need for social interaction and mental stimulation. These birds do not always adapt to life as a family pet and even hand-raised birds may never become fully domesticated. Generally, this species does not tolerate “petting” or “cuddling” and is apt to bite in response to this type of handling. Many people believe that rosellas are best housed in large aviaries that enable them to fly freely with minimal human socialization. Despite these difficulties, many people enjoy the eastern rosella as a beautiful pet with a strong, feisty personality.[citation needed]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Platycercus eximius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Falla RA, Sibson RB & Turbot EG (1966) A Field guide to the birds of New Zealand. Collins, London (ISBN 0-00-212022-4)
  3. ^ Te Ara: The encyclopedia of New Zealand online
  4. ^ Notornis (Ornithological Society of New Zealand journal), 2002
  5. ^ a b Beruldsen, G (2003). Australian Birds: Their Nests and Eggs. Kenmore Hills, Qld: self. p. 248. ISBN 0-646-42798-9. 
  6. ^ Cannon CE (1984). "Rosellas, Platycercus spp., and their hybrids in the eastern Queensland - New South Wales border region". Australian Zoologist 21: 175–83. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Forshaw (2006). plate 56.

Cited texts[edit]

External links[edit]