Western Rosella - Identification Subspecies Habitat Diet Breeding

Western Rosella


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Identification

Western Rosella parrot

Western Rosella  Platycercus icterotis 25–26 cm; 52–80 g. Bill whitish; head and underparts red except for ear-coverts and face below eye yellow, and some green barring on flanks; nape, mantle, and scapulars black with red edges, becoming pale green edges with red tips lower down, giving a scaled effect; inner wing-coverts dull green, outer dark blue, black on median coverts; primaries blackish; rump and tail dark green with outer feathers blue-tipped white. Female has largely green head with red on forehead, smaller, duller yellow facial patch, much green in breast and no red in the mantle; pale underwing stripe. Immature like a female with no yellow in the face and little red in underparts. Race xanthogenys has a paler yellow face, buff not green in back scaling, rump dull green to greyish olive, and tail dull blue.

Systematics History

Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.

Original description previously attributed to Kuhl alone, but present version is correct. Two subspecies were recognized.

Western Rosella

Western Rosella parrot

Distribution

Western Rosella Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future, we will develop a range-wide distribution article.

Habitat

Open forest, tree-lined cereal fields, riverine growth such as jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), Banksia, and tea-tree thickets Acacia- Casuarina scrublands, grasslands, and orchards.

Movement

Generally sedentary, but in Moora, district birds arrive in Dec to breed and depart in Jun–Jul.

Diet and Foraging

Seeds of grasses and herbs, with birds visiting stubble fields to pick up grain; fruits, berries, flowers of E. marginata, coating of zamia palm (Macrozamia ridley) seeds, and ripening apples also recorded, and some damage may be done in orchards.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Flight call is a loud, lively “kweenk” or “kwee-kweek!”. When perched also repeats a series of melodious pure whistles, some quite rhythmic, as well as more squabbling phrases.

Breeding

Aug–Dec. Nest in hollow limb or hole in a tree, commonly in salmon gum (E. salmonophloia) and wandoo (E. wandoo). Eggs  3–7, usually 5; incubation lasts 19 days; nestling period c. 5 weeks.

Conservation Status

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Relatively common and has benefited from clearance of closed forest. However, numbers may be naturally depressed by Barnardius zonarius , a larger competitor for the same food resources. Moreover, poor regeneration of nest trees is a long-term cause for concern, and there have been local declines and losses. The species is protected by law, but in two shires an open season has existed to control crop depredations.


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