Northern Rosella

Did you know?

Northern Rosellas are not good cage birds, being hard to maintain, expecially in cooler climates. This also can make them very expensive. They are aggressive to other birds and to humans and are not very vocal.

A variety of calls: a pinging call; a bell-like piping; a chattering, given when feeding in trees; and a rapid succession of high pitched notes described as "trin-se, trinsee".
Facts and Figures
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Clutch Size: 
19 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Northern Rosella is mostly pale yellow with a distinctive black cap and  patches on its cheeks which are either blue and white or mostly white. It has blue areas on its shoulders, a scaly looking underside and a red patch under its tail. It has an off-white beak, and grey legs and feet. It is the only Rosella found in Top End and the Kimberleys. It is also known as Brown's, Smutty or white-cheeked Rosella; Brown's or Smutty Parakeet; or Smutty Parrot.

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Where does it live?

The Northern Rosella is found in the Kimberleys, in the Top End of the Northern Territory, as far south as about 17*S, but not, apparently,  in central Arnhem Land. It has been found occasionally east of the Northern Territory-Queensland border to about 139*30' E. 


The Northern Rosella is usually found in open grassy forests and woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Callitris (cypress-pines) or Acacia (wattles). They are often found along water-courses, but not so much beside large rivers. They are rarely seen in suburban areas .

Seasonal movements: 

The Northern Rosella is not migratory. It is considered to be nomadic by some authorities but not by others. Birds' densities at particular locations appear to fluctuate throughout the year.

What does it do?

Northern Rosellas eat seeds, fruit, flowers, nectar and perhaps insects and their larvae. It has been reported that they prefer seeds from grasses, eucalypts or wattles. They feed either in pairs or small groups, either in trees or on the ground.


Northern Rosellas nest in a hole or hollow limb of a tree, usually a eucalypt near water. The eggs are laid on the decomposed wood in the bottom of the hollow. Only the female sits on the eggs. After chicks have fledged (that is they can start to fly) both parents feed them. Reported months in which breeding has been observed vary widely. 

Living with us

Numbers may have decreased due to habitat changes but this is not certain.

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