The Green Rosella or Tasmanian Rosella (Platycercus caledonicus) is endemic to Tasmania. At 36 cm (14 in), it is the largest of the Rosellas. The male and female are similar in plumage, being predominantly green and yellow in colour with blue cheeks. Its diet is composed of seeds, fruit, berries and flowers, as well as insects and insect larvae.
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. Alternate common names include Tasmanian Rosella, Yellow-bellied or Yellow-breasted Parakeet, and Mountain Parrot.
Measuring 36 cm (14 in) in length, the Green Rosella has a yellow head and underparts with blue cheeks and red frontal band above the bill. The feathers of the back and wings are black with green margins, the rump olive and the long tail green with blue borders. The lateral wing feathers are pale blue. The iris is brown, while the legs are grey and the bill pale tan-grey. The female is similarly coloured and usually a little smaller. Juvenile birds have dull yellow-green head and underparts and dull green upperparts, and a wing stripe.
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.
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). The seeds of the Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) are also eaten.
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. 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.
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