Friday, March 8, 2013

Pet Birds From Australia - An Introduction to Rosellas

Of all native Australian birds used as pets the rosellas are amongst the most sought after. This is due to their wonderful variety of colouring, their size and their unique markings. Their scalloped feather markings on the back is what makes them unique in the avian world. There are several different species of rosella, all of them unique in their own way, and they all have similar requirements when used in aviculture.
Common in all rosellas is the scalloped pattern to the feathers on the back and all have distinctive cheek patches. A very colourful and medium sized parrot native to Australia and the surrounding islands. On the Australian mainland these colourful birds tend to inhabit areas of farmland, woodland, forests and suburban gardens and parks, in the coastal mountains and plains but not the outback. Specific breeds tend to inhabit a particular area. Most species of rosella live in large flocks in the wild but not all.It is commonly held that their name originates from the area of Australia in which they were first noticed by early pioneers, the Rose Hill area of Sydney.
The most common species appear to be: Western Rosella - smallest of the species with two subspecies itself and is found in south west Australia. Crimson Rosella - five subspecies and inhabiting east and south east Australia. Green Rosella - the largest species and native to Tasmania. Pale-headed Rosella - two subspecies and found in the eastern part of Australia. Eastern Rosella - three subspecies and although native to the eastern area of the country they are found in many regions including Tasmania and have been introduced to New Zealand where feral populations can be found. Northern Rosella - mainly found in the north as the name suggests but can also be seen in open savanna country and a few other areas, this one is also more likely to be found in small groups or just in pairs in the wild. All these are popular as pets.
An aviary is the best option when keeping rosellas in captivity as this ensures an environment as close to their natural habitat as possible. If an aviary is not an option then they will do OK in cages, as long as the cage is adequately large enough for their requirements. They will need to have regular exercise outside the cage however and should get the opportunity to have a fly around. These birds are not usually talkers and will mainly chirp & squawk, although they could learn a few unique sounds or the odd whistle. A single rosella will form a very strong bond with its owner.
An important warning with regards to keeping rosellas:
They are best kept alone or in pairs as they can be very aggressive towards each other if a lot are enclosed together, a strange thing about captive ones this is as they tend to live mainly in flocks in the wild. Whether kept in aviary or cage try to only have no more than two, and ensure they are of the same species subfamily. These birds will fight to the death in captivity if different sub-species are allowed access to each other, so make certain that if
keeping more than one type of rosella to separate the different sub-species by housing in separate aviaries or cages. If the aviaries are connected together you must at the very least double-mesh so as these birds cannot get any physical contact. Beautiful birds yes, they do have these requirements however, but they are easily achievable.Most bird keepers will suggest that rosellas are not to be kept in a mixed aviary with other types of birds because of their aggressive nature. This may be so but I have in the past kept a pair of Eastern Rosellas (golden-mantled rosellas) in the same mixed aviary with budgies, cockatiels, grass parakeets and kakarikis and have had no problems, the rosellas tended to keep themselves to themselves and do their own thing. It would be best to get advice from an avian professional if unsure.
To summarise there are several types of rosella available to the bird keeper, but their demand can often lead to having to pay a substantial fee in order to purchase any. Their physical appearance however is well worth the expense.

Rosella Seeded As Anticancer and Hypertension

Antioxidant Rich
In Indonesia, studies of test components and nutrients in the antioxidant activity of Rosella petals had been investigated by Ir Didah Nurfaridah, 2005. In these studies, she (as the staff of the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Bogor Agricultural University) found that levels of antioxidants contained in the dried petals Rosella much higher than the cat whiskers plant and Knop flower. Active substances most responsible for Rosella flower petals are: gossypetin, antosianin, and hibiscin glucoside. Antosianin is a natural pigment that gives red color on the Rosella petals, and is an antioxidant.
"High levels of antioxidants in the Rosella eyelids can hamper free radicals. Some chronic diseases found at this time many are caused by excessive free radicals. Among of them are kidney damage, diabetes, coronary heart disease, to cancer, "said Didah.
Comparison of antioxidants levels which have antosianin can be seen in two types of Rosella planted in Darwin's gardens at Cisarua. Although derived from a single species, Sudanese Rosella thick blackish-red, while Taiwan Rosella blood red. Sudanese Rosella it more acidic and more concentrated so that the dried petals can be used up to 2-3 times brewed. Differ from Taiwan Rosella that can only be used once brewed.
"The more intense red color on the petals Rosella, it will be more acidic and there are more antosianin content. Thus, antioxidant content also increased, "said Didah.
Unfortunately, the levels of antioxidants in the petals Rosella are reduced when dried by the heating process (baked in the oven). Levels of potent compounds contained in the petals Rosella is at the highest levels when consumed in fresh form.
Anticancer and Antihypertensive
Among the many functions, Rosella seeded as anticancer herbs and hypertension. This is in accordance with preclinical trials conducted by Yun-Ching Chang, a researcher from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan. Yun-Ching Chang found that the natural pigment from the dried petals Rosella proven effective in both inhibiting and lethal cancer cells HL-60 (blood cancer or leukemia). These pigments also play a role in the process of apoptosis (suicide) of cancer cells.
Meanwhile, Maureen Williams, ND, a naturopathic physician from Bastyr University in Seattle, United States, has conducted a study of 70 people with mild levels of disease-to-moderate hypertension whose healthy condition and did not do any treatment since one month before

the study tested. At random, some people were asked to consume as many as Rosella tea and a half liter before breakfast every day. Some are taking 25 mg of antihypertensive drugs. After four weeks, diastolic blood pressure was reduced by ten points to 79% of people who consume tea Rosella and 84% in people who take antihypertensive medications.
Had never reported serious side effects due to consumption of other Rosella petal heart beating. But Peter Hardwick of the journal Australian Food Plants Study Group Newsletter said that there is another species called the Native Rosella Rosella (Hibiscus heterophyllus) that can cause kidney damage if consumed. Fresh flowers like Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa). Therefore, be careful, do not let the wrong choice.

The Australian Rosella - Parrots Belonging to the Eight Species of Rosella

Rosella (Platycercus Vigors) Parrots belonging to this genus are collectively known as the rosella and all show two plumage characteristics; well-defined cheek-patches and a pronounced "mottling" on the back. The rosella is a medium-sized bird with long, gradated tails. There is a notch in the upper mandible. The male has noticeably wider, heaver upper mandibles than the female. In all but one species (icterotis) the rosella sexes are alike in plumage. The white, under wing-stripe is present but is variable according to the species. There are eight species of rosella:
o Crimson Rosella
o Eastern Rosella
o Green Rosella
o Yellow Rosella
o Adelaide Rosella
o Pale-headed Rosella
o Northern Rosella
o Western Rosella
Crimson Rosella:
The adult Crimson Rosella has a general rich crimson plumage; cheek patches violet blue; feathers of nape, back and wings black broadly margined with crimson. The bill is grayish-white; iris dark brown; legs grey.
The Crimson Rosella occurs in eastern and south-eastern Australia
In eastern Australia the Crimson Rosella is a bird of the coastal and adjacent mountainous forests from sea level to the alpine woodlands above 1,900 meters. It is plentiful, even occurring in numbers in the outer suburbs of large towns and cities. The flight is more undulating and noticeably slower than that of the Green Rosella and normally flies close to the ground and glides upward into a tree. The tail is fanned when alighting.
The diet of the Crimson Rosella is seeds, fruits, blossoms, and insects and their larvae.
Its call is a low pitched "kweek...kweek...kweek", with the middle note on a lower scale. When alarmed the Crimson Rosella has a series of shrill, metallic screeches. A soft chattering generally accompanies feeding.
The courtship display and general nesting behavior of the Crimson Rosella closely resembles those of the Green Rosella.
Eastern Rosella:
The male Eastern Rosella has a red head and breast; white cheek-patches; lower breast yellow merging into pale green on abdomen. The bill is grayish-white; iris dark brown; legs grey.
The Eastern Rosella occurs in south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
The Eastern Rosella inhabits lightly timbered country up to about 1,250 meters and is a familiar bird in gardens and parklands on the outskirts of towns and cities.
The undulating flight of the Eastern Rosella is comparatively swift. The inverted arc path is usually followed, but on long flights, particularly over open grassland, the Eastern Rosella flies at a considerable height and does not drop to the ground.
The call of the Eastern Rosella is a loud "kwink...kwink...kwink" on an ascending scale or a metallic piping note repeated twice; when alarmed a shrill screech.
The courtship display of the Eastern Rosella is similar to that of the Green Rosella.
Green Rosella:
The male Green Rosella has a red frontal band; head and under parts are rich yellow, the latter sometimes washed with orange-red; cheek-patches are deep blue. The bill is horn coloured; iris brown; legs grey.
The female is a smaller size with a smaller bill; throat generally washed with orange red; wing stripe usually absent.
The Green Rosella occurs in Tasmania and the larger islands in Bass Strait. Because of the somber colouration of their upperparts it is inconspicuous when on the ground seeking seeds or when in the tall eucalypts feeding on blossoms. The flight is strong with less undulation than that of the other rosella species.
Its diet comprises seeds, blossoms, berries, nuts, fruits and insects and their larvae.
The call is a disyllabic "cussik-cussik" given regularly in flight; also a variety of flute like whistles. When alarmed the Green Rosella emits a rapid succession of shrill piping notes.
The male, when displaying, droops his wings, squares his shoulders, fluffs up his breast and upper tail-coverts and moves his fanned tail from side to side.
Yellow Rosella:
The male Yellow Rosella has pale yellow head and entire under-parts. The throat and upper breast are often lightly marked with red. The bill is grayish-white; iris dark brown; legs grey.
It occurs in the interior of south-eastern Australia; a riparian species closely associated with the Murray - Murrumbidgee - Lachlan Rivers system in southern New South Wales, northern Victoria and eastern South Australia. It frequents eucalypts, especially where they form savannah woodland on flood plains extending some distance from the watercourses. It is less confiding than the other rosella species and generally moves well ahead of an intruder.
Its flight is swifter and less undulating than that of the Crimson Rosella. The flight path is direct and lacks the inverted arc.
The diet comprises seeds, fruits, berries, blossoms, nectar, nuts, and insects and their larvae.
The call is similar to, but of a slightly higher pitch than that of the Crimson Rosella.
Courtship display and general nesting behavior of the Yellow Rosella closely resembles those of the Green Rosella.
Adelaide Rosella:
The adult Adelaide Rosella has a red forehead and crown; nape and sides of head are dull orange-yellow; cheek-patches are violet blue. The bill is grayish white; iris dark brown; legs grey.
It occurs in southern South Australia from the southern Flinders Ranges to the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide. It is abundant within its restricted range, and inhabits all types of timbered country, and is often seen in suburban gardens and parklands in Adelaide.
Its flight is similar to that of the Crimson Rosella.
All call-notes of the Adelaide Rosella are similar to those of the Crimson Rosella.
The breeding season extends from September through to December. Nesting behavior, including courtship display, closely resembles that of the Green Rosella.
Pale-Headed Rosella:
The male Pale-Headed Rosella has a white head with tinges of yellow; check-patches violet-blue below, white above. Its bill is horn-coloured; iris dark brown; legs grey.
The Pale-Headed Rosella is widely distributed from northern Queensland, south of Cairns and the Mitchell River, to northern New South Wales. It is a lowland bird inhabiting most types of timbered country including clearings in heavy forest or the forest itself where it adjoins open grassland. The flight resembles that of the Eastern Rosella.
Its call is similar to that of the Eastern Rosella.
The nesting behavior resembles that of the Green Rosella.
Northern Rosella:
The forehead, crown and nape of the adult Northern Rosella is black, sometimes with red markings; cheek-patches white above, violet-blue below. The bill is grayish-white; iris dark brown; legs grey.
The Northern Rosella inhabits north-western and northern Australia from the Kimberley, Western Australia, and east to the Northern Territory - Queensland border; occurs on Bathurst, Melville and Milingimbi Islands.
It inhabits savannah woodland, timber bordering watercourses, littoral forests and occasionally coastal mangroves. The undulating flight of the Northern Rosella is surprisingly swift and somewhat erratic, normally flying close to the ground, gliding up into a tree and then fanning the tail before alighting. The diet of the Northern Rosella comprises seeds of grasses, shrubs and trees, principally eucalypts, melaleucas and acacias, and fruits, berries and blossoms.
The call is a disyllabic, high pitched note repeated three or four times. When feeding in the treetops a soft chattering is emitted.
The courtship display and general nesting behavior is similar to the other rosella species.
Western Rosella:
The head and entire under parts of the Western Rosella is red; yellow cheek patches; feathers of back and wings black broadly margined with dark green. The bill is grey; iris dark brown; legs brownish grey.
The Western Rosella inhabits south-western Australia. In open forest trees surrounding croplands or lining roadways, timber bordering watercourses, grasslands and cultivated farmlands. It is a confiding bird and becomes very tame around farm buildings where feeding on spilled grain. Its buoyant, fluttering flight differs markedly from the heavy flight of the other rosella species. Between wing beats there are only very brief periods of gliding.
It feeds on seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants, fruits, berries and insects and their larvae.
The call is soft and melodious, comprising a series of whistle like notes repeated rapidly, and it lacks the harsh, metallic tones common to the calls of the other rosella species.
The breeding season extends from August through to December. Only the female broods and while she is sitting, the male remains in the immediate vicinity of the nest.