Feeding Adelaide Rosellas
Last weekend we were having breakfast in our sun-room when four Adelaide Rosellas flew into one of the bushes in our garden, an Eremophila youngii (see photo above). I had the camera ready for many minutes but they would not come out into full sunlight and the above photo is the best I captured on this occasion. Just one bird is seen peeking out to see what was happening around it. The others were hidden in the foliage, busy feeding on the nectar in the flowers.
The Adelaide Rosella is now a frequent visitor to our garden. It is a race of the widespread Crimson Rosella and confined to the Adelaide region, Mt Lofty Ranges and mid-north of South Australia. Its occurrence here in Murray Bridge is a relatively recent extension of that range.
Parrots occurring in our garden in Murray Bridge include:
- Adelaide Rosella (regular visitor, possibly breeding)
- Crimson Rosella (occasional)
- Eastern Rosella (regular)
- Mallee Ringneck (resident breeding)
- Galah (resident breeding)
- Rainbow Lorikeet (regular)
- Purple-crowned Lorikeet (regular)
- Musk Lorikeet (occasional)
- Budgerigar (rare)
- Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (rare)
- Little Corella (occasional)
- Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo (once only)
- Cockatiel (occasional)
- Red-rumped Parrot (occasional)
Over the years we have lived here we have planted many native Australian plants, not only for their attractiveness when they flower, but also to attract our native wildlife, especially the birds. We have quite a few eremophilas, grevilleas and correas as well as many others. The particular bush shown in the photo has flowers on it for much of the year so the rosellas and honeyeaters head for it on a daily basis. Below is another photo of the same bush, this time with a New Holland Honeyeater having a feed.
- Get out of my patch
- Red wattlebird in Eremophila bush
- Mallee Native Plants Nursery – my wife’s site about Australian plants
A colourful visitor to our garden
Last week while we were having breakfast in our sun room, we had a very colourful visitor. This Adelaide Rosella, a sub-species of the more common Crimson Rosella, came to check out our bird bath. Sadly, I had neglected to top it up over the last week or so and we’d had some windy and sunny days and it was dry. The rosella stayed for only a few moments before flying off.
Adelaide Rosellas are common in the Mt Lofty Ranges some 50km to the west, and through the mid-north of South Australia. Here where I live in Murray Bridge 80km west of Adelaide, they are widespread but not common.
The red on the feathers varies from almost a deep crimson, as in the Crimson Rosella, through to a very washed out orange. Further upstream along the River Murray, another sub-species, the Yellow Rosella is quite common.
Crimson Rosella in Murray Bridge
Crimson Rosellas are a common parrot of the eastern states of Australia. Here in South Australia they are largely confined to the south east of the state. A hybrid race called the Adelaide Rosella is common parrot of the Adelaide region, including the Mt Lofty Ranges and the mid-north of the state.
In recent years they have gradually expanded their range east towards our home here in Murray Bridge. I am seeing them here more and more often, including regular visitors to our garden.
To my surprise, we recently had two Crimson Rosellas briefly visit our garden. This is the first that we have observed in nearly 30 years living here. In today’s photos I show the two birds seen – one an adult quite significantly deeper in colour than the Adelaide Rosellas – the other in juvenile plumage.
This interesting observation raises several questions:
- Is this species expanding its range along with the Adelaide Rosella?
- Were these two birds aviary escapes, after all, they are relatively common cage birds in our area?
Adelaide Rosellas in our garden
In our garden and five acre block of land on the outskirts of Murray Bridge in South Australia we have many different species of birds – over 100 in fact. Of those that are resident or occasional visitors we have a good range of parrots.
Perhaps the most abundant would be the Galah, a very common species in the district with flocks numbering in the many hundreds. Another common species is the Little Corella but this is usually a species which only flies overhead, also in large numbers. Other parrots present in smaller numbers include Rainbow Lorikeets, Purple-crowned Lorikeets and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Mallee Ringnecks are a resident breeding species. One individual keeps company with an Eastern Rosella, a species not normally present around here (I suspect it is a cage escape.)
Every month or so we have a short visit from several Adelaide Rosellas, shown in today’s photos. This is a sub-species of the Crimson Rosella of the eastern states. The Crimson Rosella is a much deeper red colour, while the Adelaide Rosella is more of an orange colour. In the northern parts of its range in South Australia (eg the lower Flinders Ranges) the orange colour can be quite washed out.
The birds which came to visit us last week are much brighter red than most Adelaide Rosellas, leading me to think that they may be moving north from the South East districts of South Australia where the more brightly coloured birds occur. Just a theory. On the other hand, I don’t have to travel too many kilometres west to see the typically washed out orange rosellas common in the Adelaide region.