Galah

   Cacatua roseicapilla

Cacatua roseicapilla

The Galah is one of the most widespread of Australia’s parrots, being found in all states. The Galah can be easily identified by its rose-pink head, neck and underparts, with paler pink crown, and grey back, wings and undertail. Birds from the west of Australia have comparatively paler plumage. The sexes are very similar except for the eye colour. A mature female will develop a coppery red iris while the male, and immature females, have a very dark iris. It is only absent from the aridest country and from the tip of Cape York.

Breeding

Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies. The breeding season extends from July to December in the south and February to July in the tropical north. A nesting hollow is lined with leaves and twigs carried into the nest, and usually, 3 or 4 eggs are laid. Both parents share incubation over a 30 day period and the babies leave the nest at about 8 weeks old. Galahs have been recorded breeding with other members of the cockatoo family, both in the wild and captivity (including the sulphur-crested cockatoo).

Behaviour

It prefers open grasslands and woodland, is a common species in the cities and towns and has adapted well to farmed land. Galahs have a bouncing acrobatic flight, but spend much of the day sheltering from heat in the foliage of trees and shrubs. The species is gregarious, often forming flocks of several hundred, although when foraging for food these large flocks will often split into small groups, coming together again at the evening roost site. As pets, they will often become unpredictable when mature, and should never be allowed to spend time on a shoulder. They are extremely playful and intelligent birds, which, like most cockatoos, need constant stimulation. They are not generally noisy, apart from early morning and evening. Both sexes can become good talkers, possibly with the males being somewhat better.

Diet

Feeding is often done on the ground and their food in the wild is dominantly seed, nuts and fruit, and they can cause major damage to cultivated grain crops. For this reason, the bird is regarded as a pest species in many parts of its range, and licensed culling is permitted in certain states. In captivity, a variety of seeds such as wheat, hulled oats, canary, and some grey striped sunflower, should be provided as well as a wide range of fresh vegetables and fruit. Animal protein is also beneficial, given by way of chicken or chop bones, mealworms or other grubs.

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