Psittacus eximius Shaw, 1792, New South Wales. Three subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Rosella, rosella parrot, red rosella, common rosella, golden-mantled rosella; French: Perruche emnicolore; German: Rosellasittich; Spanish: Perico Multicolor.
12 in (30 cm); 3.2–4.3 oz (90–122 g). Bright plumage with scale-like black marking on the back; red head.
P. e. eximius: southeastern Australia north to northeast New South Wales. P. e. elecica: northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland. P. e. diemenensis: Tasmania.
Most types of open, lightly wooded country, including farmlands and orchards; favors trees bordering watercourses and has successfully colonized human-made habitats, especially golf courses, but avoids dense, closed forest.
Sedentary. Pairs or small groups familiar in or near urban centers, where often seen perched on telegraph wires or sitting on roadside fences; inconspicuous when feeding on the ground, but easily identified by characteristically undulating flight and whistling call-notes; more active in cool or wet weather, at other times resting during middle of day.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds primarily on seeds procured on the ground, but also takes seeds, fruits, and blossoms in trees or shrubs, especially eucalypts and acacias; fond of cultivated fruits.
Monogamous, mated pair being the basic social unit. Courtship display features “squaring” of shoulders and agitated sideways wagging of fanned tail to the accompaniment of chattering notes. Defends territory in immediate vicinity of nesting tree; nest in tree hollow, sometimes in crevice in wall of building; clutch of four or five eggs incubated by female for 19 days; chicks fed by both parents; fledging at 32 days.
Abundant throughout most of its range; benefits from landclearing and crop-growing; in 1990s population estimated to exceed 500,000 and stable or increasing.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Popular cagebird; can cause damage in orchards.
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