Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crimson Rosella ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 11/20/15
Some birds are very obvious choices for bird of the week because they are beautiful and popular. Ironically, I can overlook them for exactly that reason as I assume they’ve featured previously. Here is one such, the Crimson Rosella, an iconic and popular bird of the forests of eastern and southeastern Australia.
Normally rather shy in its natural habitat and can become quite tame in parks and gardens. It’s popularity is reflected in the fact that it has been introduced to New Zealand and Norfolk Island and (unsuccessfully) to Lord Howe Island. It nests in tree hollows and is regarded by conservationists as a pest on Norfolk Island as it competes with the smaller, endangered Norfolk Parakeet for nest sites.
It feeds mainly on the seeds and fruit of trees and will forage on the ground for the grass seed, like the bird in the third photo. It’s a very vocal species and its ringing calls are a characteristic sound of forests in eastern Australia. Out of the breeding season, it is found in small flocks but it is territorial when breeding and the pair bond is though to persist for several years or longer.
Juvenile birds of the eastern nominate race are mainly olive green with blue cheeks and patches of red on the head, breast and undertail-coverts. The nominate race extends from Cooroy in Southeastern Queensland to about Kingston in eastern South Australia.
Farther north, an isolated population of the race nigrescens (‘blackish’) occurs from Eungella near Mackay north to the Atherton Tableland. This is smaller and darker than the nominate race, fifth photo, and is mainly a bird of highland rainforest.
Juveniles of this northern race are much more like the adults than their southern relatives and have brownish-black feathers on the back instead of green (sixth photo).
Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) by Ian
In southeastern Australia the populations of blue-cheeked Rosellas look very different and were for a long time treated as two different species, the Yellow Rosella, seventh photo, of the river systems of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria, and the orange-plumaged Adelaide Rosella of South Australia from the Flinders Ranges in the north to the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide (no photo). Yellow and Adelaide Rosellas interbreed where their ranges meet along the Murray River in South Australia. The two are now treated as races of the Crimson Rosella, flaveolus and adelaidae respectively.
Yellow Rosella (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) by Ian 4
The Yellow Rosella looks very like the other blue-cheeked Rosella, the Green Rosella of Tasmania. It is, however, retained as a separate species. I included this photo of the Yellow Rosella when the Green Rosella was bird of the week in March 2013.
Christmas is looming ever closer, so this wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory commercial. What do you give to the digitally-competent birder or nature-lover who has everything? An electronic book of course and both Apple and Kobo have facilities in their ebook stores for giving gifts. I’ve included a Giving Gifts section on the Publications page with help on how these stores let you give gifts. Google has facilities only for giving the equivalent of a gift token and not specific items. These book images are linked to the corresponding web pages:
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
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For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11 NKJV)
Thanks again, Ian, for sharing some more avian wonders. I especially like the second photos. That little guy looks like he is walking with an attitude. :)
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. (Psalms 143:8 NKJV)
More Ian’s Bird of the Week
Ian’s Psittacidae – Parrots Family
Pale-headed Rosella ~ 8-24-14
Psittaculidae – Old World Parrots (Here)
Wordless Birds – Hummers