The Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) is a quiet, wary, mid-sized parrot common in eastern Australia from south-east Queensland to eastern South Australia (with sub-species extending south into Tasmania, and further north to north Queensland).
They inhabit lightly-treed forests, forest edges, open parks and grasslands, and are right at home in suburban gardens and wildlife corridors.
They will forage in trees (particularly eucalypts) for insects, flowers and nectar, but are more usually seen feeding quietly on the ground, on grass and fallen seeds. This guy was feeding in the grounds of Concord Hospital.
The Eastern Rosella is perhaps the most colourful and distinctly-marked bird in Australia. Its red head, white cheeks and beak, yellow lower breast fading to green on the abdomen, dark green tail and bluish wings and lateral tail-feathers make it absolutely unmistakable. Their black wing-feathers fringed with yellow-green make for an effective camouflage pattern however, and they can be surprisingly hard to spot in foliage and long grass.
Eastern Rosellas nest in tree-hollows, ideally a metre deep and preferably in eucalypts. However, they are relatively enthusiastic users of nest-boxes and other artificial sites as well.
I recently came across this couple scoping out every possible nook and cranny in a suburban house in West Ryde.
The female chooses and prepares the nesting site, and this lady was leaving no crack or gap uninvestigated:
I assume this is the male looking on from the fence…
Even this claustrophobic gap was inspected. I’m thinking that if Easterns are being forced to consider spaces like this, perhaps we need to build or buy one or two Eastern-specific nest boxes.
Eastern Rosellas face competition for more than just hollows. The Noisy Miners’ diet is essentially the same as the Easterns’. Plus Noisy Miners are just inherently belligerent!
And finally, a handful of Eastern Rosellas we saw on a trip to Cowra and environs in 2020.