The Pale-headed Rosella is a medium-sized, broad-tailed parrot, with a pale head and all white, or blue and white cheek patches. The underbelly is mainly blue, with red under the tail. The back is yellow with dark flecks. The female is similar, though slightly duller, with an off-white underwing stripe. There is marked geographical variation, with differences in the depth of colour and the facial patch. This is a noisy and conspicuous parrot, except when feeding.
The Pale-headed Rosella is also sometimes referred to as Mealy Rosella, Moreton Bay Rosella and Blue Rosella. The northern, nominate race is also known as Blue-cheeked Rosella, named for the blue feathers on its cheeks; however, it is not part of the Blue-cheeked Rosella group.