Green rosella

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Green rosella
Platycercus caledonicus -Tasmania -female-8.jpg
Female in Tasmania, Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittaculidae
Subfamily: Platycercinae
Tribe: Platycercini
Genus: Platycercus
Species: P. caledonicus
Binomial name
Platycercus caledonicus
(Gmelin, 1788)

The green rosella or Tasmanian rosella (Platycercus caledonicus) is endemic to Tasmania and Bass Strait islands. At 37 cm (14.5 in) long it is the largest species of the rosella genus, Platycercus. The male and female are generally similar in plumage, being predominantly black, green, and yellow in colour with a red band above the beak and blue cheeks; however, some females have red-orange colouration on the front of their necks. Its diet is composed of seeds, fruit, berries and flowers, as well as insects and insect larvae.[2]


The green rosella was described by the German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1788. The species specific epithet was derived from the mistaken belief the bird was collected from New Caledonia.[3]

"Green rosella" has been designated the official name by the International Ornithological Committee (IOC).[4] Alternative common names include Tasmanian rosella, yellow-bellied or yellow-breasted parakeet, and mountain parrot.[5]

One of six species of rosella in the genus Platycercus, the green rosella and related crimson rosella make up a "blue-cheeked" lineage. A 1987 genetic study on mitochondrial DNA found that the green rosella was basal to the other blue-cheeked forms, with the north Queensland population of the crimson rosella (P. elegans nigrescens) divergent from other subspecies of crimson rosella.[6] In 2015, Ashlee Shipham and colleagues published a molecular study based on nuclear DNA finding that the North Queensland crimson rosella diverged earlier than the green rosella.[7]

Two subspecies are recognised: subspecies caledonicus from Tasmania and subspecies brownii from King Island in Bass Strait.[4]


Male in Tasmania

Measuring from 29 to 36 cm (11 to 14 in) in length, an adult green rosella has a wingspan of 44–54 cm (17–21 in). The adult male is heavier, averaging around 150 g to the female's 120 g.[3] The adult green rosella has a yellow head and underparts with blue cheeks and red band on the forehead and upper lores. The yellow feathers of the forecrown, lower lores and cheeks can have red markings, while the yellow feathers of the sides and rear of the head and neck have dark brown bases. The yellow of the back of the head merges indistinctly into the dark plumage of the hindneck, mantle and back, which is black or dark brown with green margins. The feathers of the shoulders are blackish with yellow tips.[8] The is rump yellow-olive, and the long tail is green with blue outer feathers. The wings are green and violet blue. The irises are dark brown and the bill is pale-grey. The legs are grey. The male and female have similar external appearances, except the female may have an orange-red hue in the feathers on the front of the neck, and the female has a smaller beak than the male. and Juvenile birds have an under-wing stripe, which is not present in the adults. Juveniles have dull yellow-green head and underparts and dull green upperparts.[9][10]

Distribution and habitat

The green rosella is found across Tasmania and Bass Strait islands, and occurs in most habitats with some form of tree cover up to 1500 m (5000 ft) above sea level.[9][10] These include temperate beech rainforest (where it generally keeps to the canopy), wet and dry sclerophyll forest, woodland, Melaleuca shrubland, coastal heath, dwarf alpine conifer forest, sedgeland, buttongrass moors, tussock grassland, as well as fields, orchards and urban parks and gardens.[11]


Green rosellas are generally encountered in pairs or small groups, though young birds may gather in groups of 20 or more outside the breeding season. They are sometimes share the company of eastern rosellas.[11]

They fly in a straight line, making rapid shallow wingbeats and gliding briefly in between.[11]


Juvenile in Tasmania. It is greener than an adult

The green rosella is predominantly herbivorous, consuming seeds, berries, nuts and fruit, as well as flowers, but may also eat insect larvae and insects such as psyllids. They have also partaken of the berries of the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), as well as Coprosma and Cyathodes, and even leaf buds of the common osier (Salix viminalis).[9] The seeds of the silver wattle (Acacia dealbata) are also eaten.[12]

Birds forage on the ground or in trees, generally keeping quiet while in the former location and being quite noisy in the latter.[11]


The breeding season is October to January, with one brood. The nesting site is usually a hollow over 1 m (3 ft) deep in a tree trunk anywhere up to 30 m (100 ft) above the ground. A clutch of four or five white and slightly shiny eggs, measuring 30 x 24 mm, is laid.[13] The incubation period has been recorded as anywhere from 19 to 23 days.[8] Newly hatched chicks are covered with long white down, and are largely helpless (nidicolous).[8]

The nestlings leave the nest around five weeks after hatching and remain with their parents for another month.


The green rosella is reported to be hardier and easier to keep in captivity than other rosellas.[14]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Platycercus caledonicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Green Rosella | BIRDS in BACKYARDS". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  3. ^ a b Higgins 1999, p. 313.
  4. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2017). "Parrots & cockatoos". World Bird List Version 7.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Lendon 1973, p. 186.
  6. ^ Ovenden JR, Mackinlay AG, Crozie RH (1987). "Systematics and Mitochondrial Genome Evolution of Australian rosellas (Aves: Platycercidae)" (PDF). Molecular Biology and Evolution. 4 (5): 526–543. 
  7. ^ Shipham A, Schmidt D, Joseph L, Hughes J (2015). "Phylogenetic analysis of the Australian rosella parrots (Platycercus) reveals discordance among molecules and plumage". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 91: 150–159. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.05.012. PMID 26021439. 
  8. ^ a b c Higgins 1999, p. 318.
  9. ^ a b c Forshaw, Joseph M.; Cooper, William T. (1981) [1973, 1978]. Parrots of the World (corrected second ed.). David & Charles, Newton Abbot, London. p. 233. ISBN 0-7153-7698-5. 
  10. ^ a b Forshaw (2006). plate 53.
  11. ^ a b c d Higgins 1999, p. 314.
  12. ^ Lendon 1973, p. 188.
  13. ^ Beruldsen, Gordon (2003). Australian Birds: Their Nests and Eggs. Kenmore Hills, Qld: self. p. 246. ISBN 0-646-42798-9. 
  14. ^ Lendon 1973, p. 189.

Cited texts

External links

  • Tasmania Parks &Wildlife Service
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