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Crimson Rosella. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. (3)

Ralph de Zilva

Cedar Creek, Australia

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809 views, 90 comments, favourited by 18 and 11 features as at 14.07.2013

Nikon D700 & Nikkor 80-400mm lens
@ 400mm

Featured In
Closeups In Nature on 13.07.2013
Love These Creatures on 17.06.2013
Amazing Wildlife
The Group
The Birds
Australian Wildlife
Retired And Happy
Just Fun
The World
Queensland Group
300 + Go Long

The Crimson Rosella is a parrot native to eastern and south eastern Australia which has been introduced to New Zealand and Norfolk Island. It is commonly found in but not restricted to, mountain forests and gardens. The species as it now stands has subsumed two former separate species, the Yellow Rosella and the Adelaide Rosella. Molecular studies show one of the three red-coloured races, var. nigrescens is genetically more distinct.
Crimson Rosellas forage in trees, bushes, and on the ground for the fruit, seeds, nectar, berries, and nuts of a wide variety of plants, including members of the Myrtaceae, Asteraceae, and Rosaceae families. Despite feeding on fruits and seeds, Rosellas are not useful to the plants as seed-spreaders, because they crush and destroy the seeds in the process of eating them. Their diet often puts them at odds with farmers whose fruit and grain harvests can be damaged by the birds, which has resulted in large numbers of Rosellas being shot in the past. Rosellas will also eat many insects and their larvae, including termites, aphids, beetles, weevils, caterpillars, moths, and water boatmen.
Nesting sites are hollows greater than 1 metre (3 feet) deep in tree trunks, limbs, and stumps. These may be up to 30 metres (100 feet) above the ground. The nesting site is selected by the female. Once the site is selected, the pair will prepare it by lining it with wood debris made from the hollow itself by gnawing and shredding it with their beaks. They do not bring in material from outside the hollow. Only one pair will nest in a particular tree. A pair will guard their nest by perching near it at chattering at other Rosellas that approach. They will also guard a buffer zone of several trees radius around their nest, preventing other pairs from nesting in that area.
The breeding season of the Crimson Rosella lasts from September through to February, and varies depending on the rainfall of each year; it starts earlier and lasts longer during wet years. The laying period is on average during mid- to late October. Clutch size ranges from 3-8 eggs, which are laid asynchronously at an average interval of 2.1 days; the eggs are white and slightly shiny and measure 28 × 23 mm. The mean incubation period is 19.7 days, and ranges from 16–28 days. Only the mother incubates the eggs. The eggs hatch around mid December; on average 3.6 eggs successfully hatch. There is a bias towards female nestlings, as 41.8% of young are male. For the first six days, only the mother feeds the nestlings. After this time, both parents feed them. The young become independent in February, after which they spend a few more weeks with their parents before departing to become part of a flock of juveniles. Juveniles reach maturity (gain adult plumage) at 16 months of age.

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