Crimson Rosella - Platycercus elegans
What does it look and sound like?
The Crimson Rosella is easily identified by its mostly crimson plumage and bright blue cheeks. The back and wings are black, each feather broadly edged with red,and the wings have a broad blue patch along the edge. The tail is blue-green above and pale blue below. The birds measure about 32 to 36 cm, withindividuals from northern Queensland smaller and darker than those in the south. The Crimson Rosella has a range of calls, the commonest being a two-syllabled “cussik-cussik”. It also has a range of harsh screeches and metallic whistles.
Most young Crimson Rosellas have the characteristic blue cheeks, but the remainder of the plumage is a mixture of greens, reds and blues. The young bird gradually attains the adult plumage over a period of 15 months.
What habitat does it live in?
Two separate populations of the Crimson Rosella exist within Australia. One is found in northern Queensland, and the other occurs from southern Queensland to South Australia. Throughout this range, it is commonly associated with the tall eucalypt and wetter forests.
The Crimson Rosella has been introduced into Norfolk Island and New Zealand.
What food does it eat?
Crimson Rosellas are normally encountered in small flocks and are easily attracted to garden seed trays. Once familiar with humans, they will accept hand held food. Natural foods include seeds of eucalypts, grasses and shrubs, as well as insects and some tree blossoms.
Where and when does it breed?
Crimson Rosellas breed mostly between September and January each year. The nest is a tree hollow, located high in a tree, which is lined with wood shavings and dust. The female alone incubates the 4 to 8, normally 5, eggs, but both sexes care for the young. The chicks hatch after about 20 days, and, although they leave the nest after about 35 days, they remain dependant on their parents for a further 35 days.