chameleon parrots

Scientists are investigating a link between colour and climate in a study of why the Australian parrots vary from red to orange to yellow.

Birds that live in lower-rainfall parts of south-east Australia, such as along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers, have a plumage of pale yellow.

But in higher-rainfall areas such as Gippsland and along the Great Divide, these rosellas remain truer to their name and are rich red.

With climate change it could be possible to see more yellow forms of the crimson rosella in Victoria, Deakin University’s Andy Bennett said.

With increasing aridity, Professor Bennett said, the boundary between the yellow and red varieties could move, resulting in a larger area populated by yellow rosellas.

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Oct 2008