RFI: Crimson Rosella colour variations.

To: <>, <>
Subject: RFI: Crimson Rosella colour variations.
From: Michael Ramsey <>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 18:25:14 +1100
Hi Marlene,

I would suspect these birds are integrades between Yellow and Crimson 
subspecies of the Crimson Rosella. I too was preplexed with birds as you have 
described birds when I was growing up around Albury and Wangaratta.

Gundagai I would expect is around the range where these two subspecies meet. I 
encountered the same around Albury and Wangaratta. The more mountain habitat of 
the Crimsons would meet the more lowland river red gum forest of the Yellow 

Over my time in these areas it was not that uncommon to see birds that seemed 
to be crosses between the two subspecies. Some birds were like Yellow Rosellas 
but has a orange wash to their breast, other more like Crimson Rosellas but not 
quite right. more orange toned, somewhat like the birds you described, and all 
colours in between.

I was always curious as to why I never saw these two subspecies together, but 
after time I did see a few lone Crimson Rosellas with flocks of Yellow along 
the river red gum watercourses, never the other way around though. I often 
suspected that in winter when the Crimsons came down from the hills and 
wintered in the Yellows habitat along rivers some stayed behind and became part 
of the Yellows flocks. Therefore some interbreeding may have occured. I have 
seen Crimsons with flocks of Yellow Rosella along the Lower Ovens State Park, 
in the Killawarra Forest, in Chiltern, around Wangaratta and Albury/Wodonga. I 
have seen Crimsons travel as far as the Barmah forest too, well into Yellow 
Rosella territory.

The Forshaw book on Australian parrots has some great colour plates on the 
Crimson Rosella complex and describes more of what I have discussed above.

Michael Ramsey.

> Travelling through Gundagai in early October, I took some photos of a> 
> Crimson Rosella. My first impression was 'Adelaide Rosella" but an Adelaide> 
> Rosella shouldn't be in Gundagai, unless they're escapees. > > A small flock 
> of 6-8 birds were observed for quite a while, foraging on some> cape weed 
> type vegetation in the caravan park.> > After checking the photos and 
> referring to all the field guides, I am still> at a loss as to which race the 
> rosella belongs.> > The breast and head were the orange/red of the Adelaide 
> Rosella, certainly> nothing like the crimson of the normal Crimson Rosella, 
> which is probably> the rosella you would expect to find around Gundagai. The 
> scalloping on the> back is quite defined, but to add to the id problems, was 
> a green rump> tending towards red/orange at the upper tail coverts area.> > I 
> am happy to forward the photos to anyone who might care to look at them.> Or 
> if someone would care to put them up on b-a with a 'link' to them, that> 
> would be great and everyone could see them without waiting for me to reply.
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