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Crimson and Yellow Rosellas  

Also Known As: Three main colour groupings: Crimson forms (P.e. elegans, P.e. nigrescens, P.e. melanopterus): Crimson Rosella, Crimson Parrot, Mountain Lowry, Mountain Parrot, Red Lory, Pennant's Parakeet, Red Parrot (Norfolk Island) Orange/red and yellow forms (P.e. fleurieuensis, P.e. subadelaidae, hybrid population): Adelaide Rosella, Pheasant Parrot Yellow form (P.e. flaveolus): Yellow Rosella, Murrumbidgee Rosella, Yellow Parrot or Parakeet, Yellow-rumped Parrot or Parakeet, Murray Smoker, Murrumbidgee Lowry, Swamp Lory

Yellow Rosella perched

Credit: © Arthur Grosset |

Did You Know?
In the wild Crimson and Yellow Rosellas have hybridized (mixed species breeding), producing the Adelaide Rosella (P.e. fleurieuensis X e. subadelaidae X e. flaveolus).

Species Profile


Size: Adult Weight:
36cm (14 in) 115-170g (4-6 oz)

Races including nominate:
seven: P.e. elegans, P.e. nigrescens, P.e. melanopterus, P.e. fleurieuensis, P.e. subadelaidae, P.e. flaveolus; P.e. fleurieuensis x P.e. subadelaidae x P.e. flaveolus

Colourization Adult:
P.e. elegans: male-dark red in colour; cheek patches purple/blue; black mantle and back, spotted with dark red; purple/blue bend of wing, outer median and outer secondary feathers on wing coverts; dark blue tail with wide blue/white tip. Bill grey/white. Eye dark brown. Female-as in male, but tail washed with dull green. Bill smaller with narrower upper mandible. P.e. nigrescens: both adults as in elegans but in general darker red; more spotting on mantle and back; smaller in size. P.e. melanopterus: both adults as in elegans, but with narrower red margins to black feathers of mantle and back. P.e. fleurieuensis: both adults different from elegans by having deep orange/red plumage; grey/black mantle and back, spotted with dull orange/red; outer median and outer secondary wing coverts pale blue. P.e. subadelaidae: both adults orange/red forehead, crown and face, turning to brighter red on frontal band; dull yellow underparts, often washed dull orange/red; grey/black mantle and back spotted dull yellow; olive/yellow lower back to upper tail coverts. P.e. flaveolus: both adults bright pale yellow in colour; orange/red lores and frontal band; black mantle and back spotted yellow; olive/yellow rump and upper tail coverts. P.e. fleurieuensis X e. subadelaidae X e. flaveolus: both adults in general variable plumage; orange/red forehead, lores and crown; orange/yellow nape and sides of head; olive/yellow spotting on black mantle and back with orange/red tinge; olive/yellow lower back, mixing into orange/yellow on rump and upper tail coverts, where washed with orange/red; yellow underparts washed with orange/red; purple/blue tail with blue/white tip.

Colourization Juvenile:
P.e. elegans: bright olive/green in colour; red forehead, crown and borders to cheek patches, throat, upper breast, thighs and undertail coverts; dark olive/green tail; white underwing stripe. P.e. nigrescens: as in adults but duller, darker red on head, rump and underparts; faint scalloping with black on feathers of breast; black mantle and back with red spotting and suffused with dull olive/green. P.e. melanopterus: as in elegans. P.e. fleurieuensis: as in elegans, but in general duller green and less olive; orange/red markings replacing red marks. P.e. subadelaidae: as in fleurieuensis but paler green with more yellow in plumage; frontal band bright orange/red; purple/blue cheek patches bordered with dull orange/red; orange/red crown; dull orange/yellow throat, upper breast, thighs and undertail coverts washed with dull orange/red. P.e. flaveolus: frontal band narrow and pale orange/red; olive/green upperparts with minimal spotting on back and mantle, becoming dull yellow/olive on rump and upper tail coverts; dull olive/yellow underparts; white underwing stripe. P.e. fleurieuensis X e. subadelaidae X e. flaveolus: in general dull olive/green; forehead, crown, throat, upper breast, thighs and under tail coverts in varying hues from orange/yellow to dull orange/red; yellow/olive rump and upper tail coverts; olive/green tail.

Call: Calls in flight two syllable notes and mellow, piping sounds with upward inflection on second note. While perched emits soft twitters and clucks. When threatening notes become metallic and shrieks given when frightened.

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Recent Academic Research: Google Scholar - search results


Content Sources:

Lexicon of Parrots


BirdLife International

Internet Bird Collection

Australian National Botanic Gardens

ML Media Collection Catalogue 8534, Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans, Loetscher, Fred W., Jr., Queensland, Australia, Dec. 1 1968, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World, Juniper and Parr, 1998.

Parrots of the World, Forshaw and Cooper, 1977.

Parrots of the World, Forshaw, 2006.

Parrots in Aviculture, Low, 1992.