Head pressing by Eastern Rosellas

To: "'Geoff Ryan'" <>, <>
Subject: Head pressing by Eastern Rosellas
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2019 11:49:29 +1000

A curious thing. I haven’t ever seen it in either species of rosella that usually use the nest box here. Or elsewhere. Your suggestion fits in the context of mammals, but as far as I know, no birds use scent marking. Most birds (a few exceptions) have minimal sense of smell and in those cases it is related to locating food. You haven’t said whether the birds also use the usual tactic of displaying at the nest box or active fighting with other birds in defence. That is something other birds will understand.


Maybe your birds have lice….. Or just a quirk of these 2 birds.




From: Birding-Aus [ On Behalf Of Geoff Ryan
Sent: Wednesday, 28 August, 2019 7:06 AM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Head pressing by Eastern Rosellas


Once again we have Eastern Rosellas nesting in a box next to our lounge room wall. This year we have again observed a puzzling behavioural pattern by the nesting couple. The lengthy process of nest selection (we have two boxes in the backyard) involves much 'head pressing' where the bird presses its forehead on the box, around the box, around the house walls near the box and particularly on the awning strut, near the box, where they perch. This behaviour is mainly done by the male but both are involved. Now they have started laying the male still head presses when he perches on the strut awaiting the incubating female to emerge.


In my ignorance I think that this may be some sort of territorial marking - such as smearing some substance from glands in the skin of the forehead and by doing so laying claim to the nesting area.   


I would appreciate your considered opinions. 


Thanks   Geoff 

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