Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)


French: Perruche de Pennant German: Pennantsittich Spanish: Perico elegante
Other common names: Crimson-and-yellow Rosella, Yellow Rosella (flaveolus), Adelaide Rosella (“adelaidae”)

Psittacus elegans

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

New South Wales, Australia


Form flaveolus often regarded as separate species (as in HBW), but, despite great distinctiveness (extensive yellow vs red plumage: score 4) and broad hybrid zone (score 1), it is here recombined as race of present species following reconsideration of published information#R#R; moreover, form adelaidae, treated in HBW as separate species with race subadelaidae, here accepted as intergrade between subadelaidae and fleurieuensis. Races filewoodi and fleurieuensis not recognized in HBW, but reinstated here as recommended#R. Hybrids of present species with P. adscitus were originally thought to be a separate species, “P. mastersianus” (Masters’s Rosella)#R. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. e. nigrescens E. P. Ramsay, 1888 – NE Queensland.
  • P. e. filewoodi McAllan & Bruce, 1989 – EC Queensland.
  • P. e. elegans (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – SE Queensland to SE South Australia.
  • P. e. flaveolus Gould, 1837 – interior SE Australia centred on Murray–Murrumbidgee river systems.
  • P. e. subadelaidae Mathews, 1912 – S South Australia in S Flinders Ranges and N Mount Lofty Range.
  • P. e. fleurieuensis Ashby, 1917 – S Mount Lofty Range (South Australia).
  • P. e. melanopterus North, 1906 – Kangaroo I (South Australia).
  • Introduced (probably nominate race) to Norfolk I and New Zealand.

    Descriptive notes

    30–37 cm; 99–170 g (nominate), 75–140 g (flaveolus), 107–160 g (adelaidae); wingspan 44–53 cm. Plumage predominantly red; bill... read more


    Very vocal (often while feeding), with range of calls that are generally quieter and deeper than... read more


    Coastal and adjacent mountain forests and clearings from sea-level to alpine woodlands at 1900 m (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of native pines Callitris endlicheri, blue fig (Elaeocarpus grandis), eucalypts and acacias, plus those of smaller... read more


    Season Aug–Feb or later (Aug–Jan in race flaveolus, Sept–Dec in race adelaidae). Monogamous and... read more


    Nomadic movements reported in winter at edges of range, but generally sedentary (of 1741 ringed,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally common to abundant, with the overall population of elegans, nigresecens and melanoptera thought to be... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 December 2019).