Crimson Rosellas – Sweet Thieves



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.

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.


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.

Crimson rosella sipping red hot poker

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.



  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.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Notification of new stories via Email

Enter your email address to receive notification of new stories on this website (your address will not be shown).

Search Pandora

Find us in Pandora the National Library of Australia's archive of Australian online publications in perpetuity.