Crimson Rosella
A cheeky fellow by CUMMINGSart
Crimson Rosella


Crimson rosellas are a joy to behold. Many of the trees and shrubs in my  Blue Mountains garden have been planted with these beautiful birds in mind. Top of the list? The native correas. The photo below shows that my efforts are appreciated!

Crimson rosella eating a correa flower
A tasty treat.

The rosellas love all the nectar producing Australian natives.  The bird below has been sipping on Banksia spinulosa, commonly known as the hairpin  banksia.

Crimsin rosella in Banksia
Spinulosa banksia blooms are full of nectar

And here is a sweet little grevillea being devoured.

Crimson rosella feasting on grevillea.
Grevillea snack for a crimson rosella.

It’s not only  Australian natives that are irresistible to these birds. They love a little blue and white striped groundcover called lithodora. Yes, they eat the whole thing. I don’t begrudge them. How could I when this vision appears through my kitchen window?

Crimson rosellas eating lithodora blooms.
We’ll leave a few for you, Pauline.

Fuchsias are another exotic flower that attracts them.

Crimson rosella and fuchsia
The Garden of Eden.

Ah yes, a fuchsia flower treat!

Crimson rosella with fuchsia flower

Summer brings the sticky joy of red hot pokers;

Crimson rosella sipping red hot poker

Our garden is a bit of a paradise for birds of all kids. However, accidents can happen. One morning we had a near tragedy when a crimson rosella flew into a window. He was found unconscious by my partner Rob, who put him in a covered cardboard box and just hoped he would pull through. It took nearly all day, but eventually the brave fellow  stirred and slowly, slowly managed to stand up.  Another hour on the balcony then a couple  more in the canopy of tree and he was all good again. Tough characters.

Crimson rosella after flying intoa window.
A sorry sight.
Recuperating crimson rosella
Recuperating crimson rosella
Crimson rosella
Looking so much better.

The birds spend as much time in the bird baths as they do in the flowers.

Crimson Rosellas
A companionable drink.
Crimson rosella in morning light.
Morning light
Crimson rosella in autumn
Ground feeding in autumn

When the deciduous trees are bare and there is not much flowering, the rosellas provide splashes of heart lifting colour. They also do a little pruning of the maples.

Crimson rosella
A bit of pruning in winter.

Crimson rosellas nest in tree hollows and will compete very fiercely with other species to secure a good site. The female incubates from three to eight eggs.

Crison rosella in nest hpllpw

Juvenile crimson rosellas are more green than red, so it’s easy to identify them. Here is youngster being fed in the wattle tree;

Crimson rosella feeding chick
Here you are my little one.
Juvenile Crimson Rosella
Just a baby.
Crimson Rosella on succulent
Juvenile crimson rosella on succulent.

It doesn’t take long before the youngsters learn that red hot pokers provide a sweet treat.

I photographed the bird below in that awkward stage between juvenile and adult. Still cute though.

Transformation almost complete;

Crimson Rosella
Looking pretty good now.

Young birds are engagingly playful and curious. Here is one trying to undo the fastening on my little lantern.

Crimson rosella
Oh yes! Nearly got it.

The only real threat to the rosellas  in the Blue Mountains is the arrival from warmer regions  of the Rainbow Lorikeet. leading to increased competition for nesting hollows. Could this be  the result  of climate change?

Rainbow lorikeet
Beautiful ‘blow-in’.

The lorikeets are gorgeous, but I hope my crimson friends will continue to  fight for their rights.

Crimson Rosella
What a poser.

A fitting finale for these delightful birds;


  1. Crimson Rosellas – one of the joys of our lives in Blackheath in the early 1980s. There are a few here in Canberra too, and I love to see them as a reminder of Blackheath.

    • Pauline

      Thanks for taking the trouble to comment, Roslyn. It was really my love of birds that prompted my move to the Mountains from Sydney. They are amazing.

  2. What a happy story to wake to. And what very pretty birds. Thank you so much for sharing your bit of paradise with us. In our part of rural Ireland we don’t have spectacular birds like you do, but I love watching them. On a visit to Australia I was enchanted by the large white parrots screeching at one another (or me??) from the tree tops.
    Good morning from Kildare.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Lorraine. You certainly live in a beautiful part of the world yourself. I must say those large, sulphur crested white cockatoos can be a bit of a problem. They have been flying in from the drought affected areas in the far west and chewing everything in sight.

  3. Great article Pauline. You’re so lucky to see these fellahs so close up, they’re so gorgeous. With the Rainbow Lorries, I don’t know if it’s climate change with them. I agree it’s affecting the travelling habits of some birds eg. Spotted Whistling Ducks are coming further south each year it seems. I think it’s more to do with humans interfering in the landscape. At the end of the day humans have planted so many foreign trees etc replacing natives that it’s only natural there’ll be a rebalancing. Which is a shame, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a push to stop planting exotics.

    • Pauline

      Thanks Evie. Yes, I’m sure you are right about the lorikeets. Nearly all our our lovely birds here in the mountains were once plentiful in Sydney. We humans tread very heavily on the planet.

  4. Hi Pauline,
    We have an oak tree in our garden near Warrandyte in Victoria. It’s now losing its leaves but most of its fading autumn display remains.
    We notice Crimson Rosellas plucking the drying oak leaves, clearly getting something from the plucked leaf, then dropping it. What do you think they are getting? If they like sweetness as you describe, could there possibly be lerps? There are several bird baths in the garden, so water drops seem unlikely, although if the drying oak leaves exude some kind of sugar that might become incorporated in the moisture left from overnight dew.
    Any suggestions?

    • Pauline

      How interesting Sylvia. We do have an oak tree, but I haven’t noticed the rosellas feeding in it. Must be tiny insects of some kind though. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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