Hybrid Rosellas

To: "Lloyd Nielsen" <>, <>
Subject: Hybrid Rosellas
From: "Bruce Cox" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2007 10:51:47 +1000

From: "Lloyd Nielsen" <>
Subject: Hybrid Rosellas

Hi Lloyd,

I have seen both Crimson/Eastern Rosella and Pale-headed/Eastern Rosella hybrids on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The Pale-headed/Eastern hybrids had to be aviary escapees or releases but the Crimson/Eastern hybrids could be either escapees or natural crosses?

Forshaw, in his aviary notes, says that Crimsons and Easterns hybridise but it is not clear if this referrs to "in the wild" or under aviary conditions. Again from his aviary notes it appears that all the Platycercus hybridise with one or more of their kin. Perhaps we have less rosellas than we twitchers might hope for.

Bruce Cox.

I spent my youth in the Goomburra Valley in SE Qld in the 1940-50s. This valley runs east-west and is 2 valleys north (about 10 km ?) of the Cunningham Highway which runs over Cunninghams Gap on the western side of the Great Divide. We had Eastern Rosellas to the south (Warwick) and Pale-headed to the north (Pilton - Greenmount). However, all rosellas in the valley at that time (and they were plentiful) were hybrids between the two - neither one species nor the other - a very mixed lot with characteristics of those two species. It was always a highlight to go to Warwick and see the brilliant red-headed pure Easterns. I left there in 1959 but on a visit back there about 25 years later, I was surprised to find that all birds in the valley were pure Eastern - no sign of a single hybrid.

In the early 1950s, one of these hybrids paired with a Crimson Rosella around my family's farm midway down the valley. Crimson was normally absent from this more open country (Crimson replaced the Eastern/Pale-headed Rosellas in the denser wet sclerophyll at the top of the valley but I never saw signs of hybridisation between Crimson and the hybrids there despite many visits into that country). The pair flew about together for about 2 years but we saw no sign of a breeding attempt. My family had an aviary and a small collection of parrots at that time so we were quite observant of local parrots.

Lloyd Nielsen
Mt Molloy  Nth Qld.


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