Western Rosella
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. western rosella
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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name: Platycercus icterotis icterotis
  • Sub Species: 2. Western Rosella = P. i. icterotis. Red backed Western Rosella = P. i. xanthogenys.
  • Origin / Distribution:  South-west portion of Western Australia
  • Habitat In Wild: Woodlands and open forests.  Will forage in farmlands and orchards.
  • Status In Wild:  ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: about 12 months.  The Western Rosella has a distinctive juvenile plumage.  Ideally hens should be 18 months of age or older before attempting breeding.
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 15 or more years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic.  The adult Western Rosella is dimorphic and therefore easily sexed.
  • Mutations: Yes
  • Availability: Bird dealers.
  • Temperament: Popular rosella due to its smaller size and placid nature.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $150. Red backed Western Rosella about $450.
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 260 mm (or approx. 10.5 inches) Smallest of the Rosellas.
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx 100 - 110 gms (or approx 3 - 3.5 ozs)

Aviary Notes:

Read notes on "Rosellas" web page and use in conjunction with details outlined on this page.

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements: Refer to " Rosellas " and " Housing Birds " web pages for general details on the housing of Australian Rosellas or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Although the Western Rosella is probable the least aggressive of the Rosella Genus, they should be only kept as one pair per aviary.  One pair per aviary will maximize the chances of successfully breeding these lovely birds.

The Western Rosella must not be housed with the other sub-species or other species of Rosellas.  Always check to ensure the purity of the birds prior to purchasing or breeding to avoid the chances of hybridizing the sub-species.  Both sub-species should be kept pure.

Diet / Feeding:  Refer to " Rosellas " and " Feeding Birds " web pages for general details on the feeding of Australian Rosellas or read on for specific details for this parrot.

As per " Rosellas " web page.

Nesting: A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.

  • Nesting months: September to January
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  400 - 600 mm (or approx 16 - 24 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 175 - 250 mm (or approx. 7 - 10 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 175 - 225 mm square (or approx. 7 - 9 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 65 - 75 mm (or approx 2.5 - 3 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (or approx 4 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the summer months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  45 degrees through to vertical.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening of about 65 - 75 mm diameter and about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 1, sometimes 2.  Eggs per nest 4 - 5.  Incubation approx. 20 days.  Fledge approx. 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks, sometimes up to 4 weeks.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues: Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 60 No. 4 Apr 2006 Page 90-91.
  • A/A Vol 52 No. 3 Mar 1998 Page 57-64 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 11 Nov 1994 Page 257-258 (Red backed)
  • A/A Vol 47 No. 5 May 1993 Page 121
  • A/A Vol 32 No. 11 Nov 1978 Page 177-179
  • A/A Vol 31 No. 3 Mar 1977 Page 33-34
  • A/A Vol 22 No 5 May 1968 Page 73-74.
  • A/A Vol 19 No 6 Jun 1965 Page 77.
  • A/A Vol 14 No 1 Jan 1960 Page 1-3, 15 (Inc colour plate).
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1998 Page 583-585
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1995 Page 335
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1991 Page 508-511

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