Why rosellas shake their tails

Crimson and Eastern Rosellas are busy sorting out nesting arrangements around town at the moment. Our streets are lined with old elms, providing perfect hollows for rosellas. Interestingly I’ve spotted mixed pairs on a few occasions – interbreeding and subsequent hybrids are not unknown between the two species.

Recently, my mate Doug quizzed me about an aspect of their behaviour – why do the adult rosellas shake their tails?


Crimson Rosella, Newstead, 31st August 2014.

Courtship behaviour in Crimson Rosellas involves the male raising his body to its full height, spreading the tail and ruffling the body feathers. With this he droops the wings and bows in an up-down motion. This is accompanied by a musical chatter. The female responds to this in a similar fashion but is less animated than the male. This display is often followed by courtship feeding. Similar tail-wagging displays are conducted in social groups both during and outside the breeding season.


It’s a bit hard to catch the tail shaking in a still shot!


Crimson Rosellas a striking birds.

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