Pet Gazette DECEMBER 2018 - Page 10

10 | PET GAZETTE | AVIAN THE GOLDEN MANTLED ROSELLA John Courteney-Smith MRSB examines the colourful and comical Australian species O ver the past couple of years, we have looked at many species of bird that can be maintained within the home as a pet or in larger fl ights within the birdroom or garden. Each species has its own merits and challenges, and each remains as wonderful as the next. Bird keeping, when conducted correctly is a wonderfully fulfi lling hobby, putting keepers back in touch with nature and providing a source of much welcome company for humans from all walks of life. There really is a species that can fulfi l every need and ability. In this issue is would like to explore the merits of one of the larger true Parakeets, that being the Golden Mantled Rosella Platycercus eximius (GMR for short in the hobby). The Golden Mantled Rosella is a large, plump but very highly coloured Parakeet originating from south east Australia. This one member of a wider group of Rosellas that occur over Australia, many of which are fairly common and affordable in aviculture. Being an Australian bird and with the ban of exports of live birds from Australia since the 1960s, we can be very sure that every bird will be long term captive bred. Indeed, locating young stock is never really an issue, this is a species that is frequently bred given the correct conditions. The bird itself in prime condition will reach a total length of 12-14” and has a reasonable life expectancy of 15-20+ years if cared for correctly. They do have a tendency to glut feed on seeds, when coupled with reduced enclosure sizes can lead to problematic obesity which will greatly reduce the lifespan and breeding capabilities of the bird in terms of copulation. As always, sunfl ower seed intake should be maintained as being low. The Golden Mantled Rosella sports a military redhead with glossy white cheek patches below the eye and under the lower mandible. This red then graduates downwards over the breast where a striking golden yellow becomes predominant. This yellow follows up over the tops of the wings and the rump being interspersed with jet black droplets over the back (the mantel). There is a fl ash of electric blue over the front edge of the wings, an orange/red lower vent and aquamarine to electric blue tail. It must also be pointed out that there is a very large and loyal following with regard to the propagation of colour mutations in this whole group. Personally, I fi nd the wild type to be the most attractive, but each to their own. This bird is still plentiful in the wild and remains abundant over a wide and diverse area, it is clear that they are more than able to adapt and survive. However, drought and habitat/nest site destruction remain a risk as does the introduction of non-native species such as the domestic cat. It is quite clear that this is a larger bird and as such will deserve and benefi t from December 2018