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Rose Hillers

May 27, 2020

Crimson Rosellas are a dime a dozen at our place – permanent residents that have been recorded, usually in quite large numbers, for every month of the twenty years that we have been keeping records. Not so their close cousins Eastern Rosellas, which although fairly common usually make only a fleeting appearance and are much more wary. So it has been pleasing that recently a group of four Easterns has been regularly spotted here on our COVID-19 lock-down walks.

The Eastern Rosella is the “original” rosella, whose name has an interesting back story. They were a common sight to the early colonists (or invaders, depending on your viewpoint) around Rose Hill (now Parramatta) west of Sydney. So they became known as Rose Hill Parrots, shortened to Rose Hillers and subsequently Roselle and eventually Rosella, by which sole name it was known for some years – the Crimson Rosella in those days being known as Crimson Parrot among several other early names. [Ref. Ian Fraser and Jeannie Gray, Australian Bird Names (2013)]

Other early names for the Eastern Rosella included Rosehill Parrakeet, Common Rosella, Rosy, Red-headed or White-cheeked Rosella and Nonpareil Parrot, aptly describing as “unequalled” the bird’s amazingly coloured plumage.

Due to their continual wariness, the few photos we managed to take have been front-on and fail to show the wonderful contrasting patterns on the back of the bird, which can be seen on the photo at right taken by David Francis, NatureShare.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    May 27, 2020 5:08 pm

    Wow! it is very interesting to know the background to naming of the birds – thank you.

  2. terry hubbard permalink
    May 27, 2020 5:14 pm

    We seem to have a small group at the entrance to our property but they don’t venture further in – much nicer than the Crimsons which proliferate and seem to intimidate other parrots such as the King parrot.

  3. May 27, 2020 5:45 pm

    Love this news of your Eastern Rosella experience. They are stunning.
    As for your ‘passing mention’ of twenty years of records – wow, that’s awesome, “@macwake” legends!

    Thank you (and all contributors and especially @ronlit, on this and other nature blogs) for sharing these terrific informative posts.
    I need to lift my game – even if not aiming anywhere near the ‘focus on fauna’, nor other, benchmarks! 🙂

    Thanks again and hats off to you!

    • macwake permalink
      May 28, 2020 8:26 am

      Many thanks for your kind comments, Karen – much appreciated.

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