Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Yella Rosella

I've been asked if the talk about a yellow rosella is true.
Not being an expert on genetics and gene manipulation I am not going to make profound statements about recessive genes, additional y chromosones and splits. I'm happy to learn if anyone wants to comment.

What I can say is that there is a yellow rosella, which has been frequently seen in the south eastern parts of the island recently, and for at least the past 12 months or more. It seems to be moving out further now to the west and has been reported as far up the hill as just below Panorama Court, near the Cenotaph and along the road near the football field.

The bird is a naturally occurring colour variation which may have been caused by the family group staying together and creating a genetic bottleneck.
Patchy red can be seen around the breast and head, and the tail is blue.

When Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease was denuding both the crimson rosellas and NI parakeets (red parrots and green parrots to the locals) survivors would sometimes be very patchy looking like this individual, but not yellow. Generally they would regrow their usual colours in a random way, looking as if someone had thrown red and blue paint at them.
A year ago we caught this yellow rosella in a quiet moment with a friend and can say that she is almost undoubtedly a female.

The photograph was taken by Adrian Oosterman, who was here to watch whales but made some great bird sightings while he was here as well.

Other Notes
On Wednesday Archie and Matt report seeing a Long-tailed Cuckoo flying near Matt's house at Steeles Point.
The first Red-tailed Tropicbirds are settling in to nest. This is a really important time to be trapping feral cats, and to be keeping pet moggies indoors, or at least confined to their home properties, before there are chicks left for them to take while the parent birds are foraging.

(NB Although I am writing this on Thursday, there seems to be some disjointedness with the dates, as I suppose the posts are timed against USA clocks. We are slightly ahead so any anomalies are  less than 24 hours.)

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