Native to eastern as well as the north-eastern part of Australia, Pale-headed Rosella is medium-sized parrot having noticeably broad tails. Due to their general liking for sparse woodlands and grasslands, they can be easily seen in the urban areas and shrub orchards in the countryside.
Pale-Headed Rosella shares some of the physical attributes with their other cousins from the Rosella family. But they have a distinct pale head and all light cheek patches.
Pale-Headed Rosella Lifespan
Pale-Headed Rosella lifespan in the wild averages around 15 years. With a not-so-rich diet, absence of someone who can care for them and the probable dangers of being eaten by the wild animals, they hardly live beyond this age limit.
Pale-Headed Rosella lifespan in captivity, however, averages more than this. With a proper balanced diet, general and medical care by the owner, they tend to live for roughly 20 years or sometimes, beyond it.
Pale-Headed Rosella Colors
About the color taxonomy of Pale-headed Rosella, they have a pale yellowish toned head and upper-breast with either white or bluish-white cheek patches. The back is yellow with black scalloped markings throughout. The tail is blue-black with pale blue under-coverts. The legs are grey and the beak is pale bluish-white. The eyes of the bird are yellow-brown.
Pale-Headed Rosella Gender Differences
Like many other parrot species, Pale-headed rosellas are also monomorphic and there aren’t many distinguishable physical features. Though for the experts, those few minor differences are enough to identify the bird’s gender.
Pale-Headed Rosella Size
A difference that many claim to be enough to claim the gender of the bird right is size. The pale-headed male size is around 13 inches whereas the females are smaller at around 11 inches.
Pale-Headed Rosella Weight
The pale-headed rosella males tend to be heavier than their female counterparts. Where males weigh around 130 grams, the females have an average weight of 110 grams.
Pale-Headed Rosella Plumage
The pale-headed rosella gender can be known by comparing the color of their plumage. Whereas the males have a much brighter shade of the plumage, the plumage of the females is much dull in tone.
Pale-Headed Rosella Underwing
The most common way of determining the gender of pale-headed rosellas are examining their underwings. Whereas the females have an off-white underwing stripe, it is absent in the males.
Pale-Headed Rosella Breeding
There are various aspects of pale-headed rosella breeding ranging from their nesting to laying eggs. Let’s discuss them to understand these colorful birds better.
Pale-Headed Rosella Nesting Requirements
Pale-headed rosellas like to nest inside cavities of eucalyptus or similar trees. While breeding in urban settlements, they prefer choosing hollow posts or stumps to make their homes. They like them 1-meter deep and wide enough to just fit in cozily. After lining them with wood-dust, they get ready to breed as the time comes.
When in captivity, they can be provided a special nesting box to stimulate his natural habitat conditions. This encourages breeding in the birds. Keep a hollow log of wood lined with the wood dust as they do in the wild. Alternatively, a nest box at the rear of their cage can also be attached internally. This will give them privacy to breed and security of being safe in the little dark corner as in the wild.
Pale-Headed Rosella Breeding Season
Like their other rosella cousins, Pale-headed rosellas also prefer to breed in the rainy season. In most parts of the world, this time falls around September and goes until January. The months vary depending on the rainfall in a particular country/region.
Pale-Headed Rosella Breeding Behavior
Generally, a social and playful bird, Pale-headed rosellas are influenced by hormonal changes during breeding season. This brings a change in their behavior with males getting aggressive and territorial. The aggression isn’t hurtful to the female though.
Pale-Headed Rosella Egg-Laying
The hens lay a clutch every season. However, there have been a few instances where the pair also breed two clutches per season. Each clutch has 4-7 eggs that are white in color. The hen solely takes up the responsibility to incubate the eggs for around 20 days. In the meantime, the cock takes care of the hen.
Once the chicks are hatched, the male rosella starts taking an active part in the rearing of the young ones. Though the young ones fledge at around 5 weeks old, it takes them another 2-4 weeks to become completely independent.
Pale-Headed Rosella Diet
The diet of the Pale-headed rosella varies depending on his habitat. While in the wild, he eats what he wants; during captivity, they eat what they are fed.
Pale-Headed Rosella Diet in the Wild
Addicted to the eucalyptus seeds in the wild, the diet of the Pale-headed rosellas has a lot of variety in the wild. Apart from this, they love feeding on seeds and fruits including snow-in-summer, rough cockleburr, river red-gum, river she-oak, Scotch thistle, et al. That is why their nests can mostly be found by the riversides.
Pale-Headed Rosella Diet in Captivity
Pale-headed Rosella as pets puts the owner in a position to shoulder the responsibility of feeding him the best diet. And the owner must feed him a balanced diet for the bird’s good health and longevity.
Photo Credit : susan / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
As in the wild, seeds are their favorite in captivity too. Feed them a soaked or sprouted mix of millets, sunflower, oats, quinoa, barley, safflower. Do not overdo with the quantity as seeds are high in fat content and can make them obese. Also, it is better not to feed them a market-made seed-mix as it contains a lot of artificial preservatives and added fat.
Like in the wild, fruits make pale-headed rosellas happy. And they love a variety of them. Serve them berries, mangoes, apples, bananas, pomegranates, blueberries, pears, pineapples, all freshly chopped, diced, sliced, or pureed. The key is to make it comfortable for the bird to eat them. Discard all the fruits kept uneaten for more than 5-6 hours.
Add a lot of pellets to pale-headed rosellas for a balanced nutrition profile. These should form around 50-70 % of the bird’s diet. Select a high-quality trusted pellet brand for the bird. There are multiple options online and at pet stores.
Pale-headed rosellas rely on vegetables for their share of greens. Kale greens, green beans, collard greens, kale, and watercress are just a few of their favorites. Add a few leaves of spinach for their daily calcium needs. They also like being fed the dark-skinned vegetables like pumpkins, winter squash, or sweet potatoes. It adds Vitamin A to their feed as a bonus. Cut them in bite-sized pieces before feeding.
Cuttlebones are a must to add to the pale-headed rosella’s calcium reserves of the body. They also add up as a chewable toy for the bird and keep their beak in shape by the constant grinding by the bird. Hang the cuttlebone near one of the perches installed inside his cage to make it easy for the bird to sit and chew on it.
Serving freshwater to the pale-headed rosella would keep the bird hydrated all the time. It additionally maintains the optimum body temperature of the bird. Keep a feeding bowl filled with water all the time inside the bird’s cage. The water must either be purified or boiled so as not to contain any impurities. For the hotter days, keep another bowl as a backup. Keep changing the water of the bowl to maintain the bird’s health and hygiene.
Pale-Headed Rosella Behavior
Pale-headed rosella are fun-loving and playful birds that love to entertain the people around with their unique talent of whistling. They can turn anything they hear into a whistling song almost instantly. This has made them famous as companion birds in recent years. They also happen to be quite comical in their acts and sounds. This makes everyone around crack instantly at their gimmicks. But like every living being, they have their bad days too.
Pale-headed rosellas are known to be less accommodating when it comes to living with other birds. Their inherent territorial nature makes them unfit for cohabiting them with other birds of the same species. Hence, it is always advised to house only a single pair of pale-headed rosellas in a single cage. Seeing a stranger within their territory makes them extremely aggressive too. And more often than not, they end up attacking the rival birds.
Being one of the most common rosella species in Australia, Pale-headed rosellas are quite famous in that part of the world as pets. Their import into Europe gained them a status of favored pet there too. Though less common as pets as compared to other parrot species, their popularity is catching up quite quickly in the American continent now. With a great lifespan and endearing personality, they make great companion parrots. They aren’t even extremely demanding like Cockatiels. Simply a little care, attention, and bonding time with the bird while doing the daily chores, the Pale-headed rosella is more than happy to shower his owner with all the love and affection all life.
Read about eastern rosella next!?