Rosie's Background


The fact is that we do not know anything about Rosie's background - yet! The Eastern Rosella such as Rosie (also known as the Golden-mantled Rosella), is found throughout south-eastern Australia, from Queensland to Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. It is also found in eastern Tasmania, it has been introduced to New Zealand and is bred in captivity in the USA and Europe. Its scientific name is platycercus eximius, from the family: psittacidae, order: psittaciformes.
Eastern Rosellas are medium-sized colourful parrots with distinctive white cheek patches. It has a red head, neck and breast, with yellowish to greenish upper parts, a yellow underbody and a yellow-green to blue-green rump, with a red undertail. The shoulders are bright blue. Females are usually similar to males, but sometimes duller and young birds are even duller and can be aged by their bill colour, which is yellow or orange, changing to off-white when mature. It is found in open woodlands, grasslands, farmlands and remnant bushland. Often found in urban habitats such as parks, gardens and golf courses. To listen to its call click here.
The Eastern Rosella mainly feeds on the ground, especially amongst grasses in lawns, pastures and other clearings. Also feeds in trees and bushes. Main dietary items include: seeds, fruits, buds, flowers, nectar and insects. They mate for life. The female chooses and prepares the nesting site, usually a hollow in a eucalypt tree (but will sometimes use a nest-box or other artificial site). Eggs are laid on a decayed wood bed and the female incubates the eggs while the male regularly feeds her. The young may be fed for a while after they fledge. The Eastern Rosella uses one of its feet (usually the right foot) to hold food when eating on the ground or perched on a tree.

The probability is that Rosie was borne and bred here in the UK, and some how escaped custody. It has been rumoured that he may have escaped about eighteen months ago from an aviary about half a mile away. Apparently a pair with three chicks escaped at that time. This would have put his birth date about March 2006 (so we have given him a birthday of 2nd March 2006). To have survived the winter of 2006/7, which was very mild would not have been such an ordeal, but it would have been a significant achievement - without a reliable food supply and good shelter.

The RSPCA thought him to be male, and aged between twelve and eighteen months. He does seem to be still growing, but this could be that he is putting on weight now that he is well fed and doing a lot less flying. 

Training, in the sense of formal training, is about to start (end of December 2007). He is clearly very bright and learns quickly. Already he has learned to "hold tight" when told to, to hang on to the side of the cage, when he is being moved. And he gets back into his cage from the aviary when his food dishes are replaced in the cage. So there is a degree of optimism that he will be an avid avian learner.

Any information about where he came from would be welcome -


Alan Dobson 2007

originated: AWD - 30th December 2007 - amended 24th March 2008