Northern rosella

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Northern rosella
Northern Rosella 3905.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittaculidae
Genus: Platycercus
Species: P. venustus
Binomial name
Platycercus venustus
(Kuhl, 1820)

The northern rosella (Platycercus venustus), also known as Brown's parakeet or smutty rosella, is found in Australia's Top End. It is found in open savannah country throughout the Gulf of Carpentaria and Arnhem Land to the Kimberley. In the western Top End, including western Arnhem Land it inhabits open forest dominated by Darwin Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta), and other eucalypts. This species is unusually coloured for a rosella, with a dark crown and white cheeks similar to its pale-headed rosella and the eastern rosella relatives.[2]

Taxonomy and naming

The northern rosella was first described by German naturalist Heinrich Kuhl.[3] The specific epithet is derived from the Latin venustus "charming, lovely or graceful".[4]


At 28 cm long it is smaller than all rosella species except the western rosella. It has a black forehead, crown and nape with white-on-blue cheek-patches. The back and wing feathers are blackish with yellow borders, while the feathers of the belly, chest and rump are pale yellow with black borders giving rise to a scalloped appearance. The long tail is bluish green, with the beak being pale grey and the iris dark. Immature plumage is similar to adult but duller.[5]

It is not a gregarious bird, found solitarily or in pairs, although several birds will perch together in the same tree. Nesting occurs in tree hollows in winter, with two to four eggs laid. Fledglings remain with their parents for a year or more, often feeding together in small family groups.[6]


The northern rosella exhibits a sharp and short chit-chut chit-chut contact call in flight; however while perched they make a three note whistle on ascending scale or metallic piping sounds. Soft chattering can be heard while feeding, while a shrill screech provides an alarm call.[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Platycercus venustus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Web, Avian (2014-02-05). "Northern Rosellas, aka Brown's Rosellas or Smutty Parrots". Beauty Of Birds. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  3. ^ Kuhl, Heinrich (1819). Conspectus Psittacorum : cum specierum definitionibus, novarum descriptionibus, synonymis et circa patriam singularum naturalem adversariis, adjecto indice museorum, ubi earum artificiosae exuviae servantur : cum tabulis III. aeneis pictis. Bonn, Germany: self-published. p. 52. 
  4. ^ Simpson DP (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5th ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. p. 883. ISBN 0-304-52257-0. 
  5. ^ Web, Avian (2014-02-05). "Northern Rosellas, aka Brown's Rosellas or Smutty Parrots". Beauty Of Birds. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  6. ^ Goodfellow, D.L. & Stott, M. (2001; 2005). Birds of Australia's Top End. Darwin: Scrubfowl Press.
  7. ^ Trust, World Parrot. "Northern Rosella (Platycercus venustus) | Parrot Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  • Forshaw, Joseph M. & Cooper, William T. (1978): Parrots of the World (2nd ed). Landsdowne Editions, Melbourne Australia ISBN 0-7018-0690-7
  • Lendon, Alan H. (1973): Australian Parrots in Field and Aviary (2nd. ed). Angus and Robertson, Sydney Australia ISBN 0-207-12424-8

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