The Green Rosella
Rosellas are Australian parrots and can be divided into blue cheek patch types (like the Adelaide and the Green rosellas) and white or pale cheek patch types (eg Pale-Headed and Eastern rosellas). The Green Rosella has blue cheek patches. Its scientific name is Platycercus caledonicus. Platycercus means ‘broad- or flat-tailed’. It is the largest of Australia’s rosellas and has the common names of Tasmanian rosella, mountain or green parrot and yellow-bellied parrot.
The green rosella is native to Tasmania and the offshore islands of Bass Strait where it frequents dense moist forests and savannah woodlands. It is rarely seen on moorlands and cleared farmlands. It has adapted to feeding in orchards and urban gardens and is considered a pest in commercial orchards.
This species is between 29 and 36cm long and weighs around 140 grams. Like all the Platycercus, it as a broad tail. The plumage of the upper parts are mottled green and black while the underneath parts are yellow. The head and neck are yellow. The blue cheek patches are very distinct. It also has blue shoulder patches and a red frontal band.
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It is a sedentary bird, travelling only as much as it needs to to get food and water. Young birds may band together and will cross large areas. It is well camouflaged in its natural surroundings but gives itself way by becoming very noisy if disturbed.
Rosellas feed on the ground and in trees and shrubs. It often holds its food with one foot. Seeds, buds, blossoms, fruit, nectar and insects are all eaten with relish.
Rosellas nest in hollow trees. If the entrance is not big enough, it will chew at the opening to enlarge it. They do not line the nest but the base of the hollow always has some wood chips or decayed matter on the floor. Four to eight white eggs are laid. The hen incubates the eggs and the male feeds her. Incubation takes three weeks. Another five weeks are spent in the nest and then another 2 to 4 weeks before the young are independent. Under natural conditions, the breeding season extends from September to February and one clutch per year is normal. If conditions are ideal they may raise a second clutch.
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As aviary birds, the green rosella is believed to mate for life. They really need to have their own aviary as they are aggressive to other birds. Metal aviaries are best as wooden ones
Oily grains should be restricted as they can become overweight. Give them plenty of fruit and vegetables. Fresh branches keep them something to do and will help keep their claws and beak in good order. During the breeding season, mealworms provide a good source of easily digested protein. Rosellas love their baths and it is a good idea to give them a water container purely as drinking water and a larger one that they can splash around in.
If young birds can be housed next to each other and allowed to choose their own mates, there is a much better chance of having the birds breed successfully.