Eolophus roseicapillus Click to enlarge image
A Galah is pictured in full flight, the camera angle from underneath. Its wide wingspan is a feature of the photo. The Galah has a pink underbelly which extends to a part of its wings. The majority of its wings are grey, however, with some black tips. Image: A D Trounson
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    roseicapilla
    Genus
    Cacatua
    Family
    Cacatuidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    35 cm to 36 cm

Galahs can breed with other members of the cockatoo family, including the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita.

Identification

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. Galahs have a bouncing acrobatic flight, but spend much of the day sheltering from heat in the foliage of trees and shrubs. Huge noisy flocks of birds congregate and roost together at night.

Habitat

The Galah is found in large flocks in a variety of timbered habitats, usually near water.

Distribution

The Galah is one of the most abundant and familiar of the Australian parrots, occurring over most of Australia, including some offshore islands.



Feeding and diet

Galahs form huge, noisy flocks which feed on seeds, mostly from the ground. Seeds of grasses and cultivated crops are eaten, making these birds agricultural pests in some areas. Birds may travel large distances in search of favourable feeding grounds.

Communication

The voice is a distinctive high-pitched screech, 'chi-chi'.

Breeding behaviours

Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies. The nest is a tree hollow or similar location, lined with leaves. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young. There is high chick mortality in Galahs, with up to 50% of chicks dying in the first six months. Galahs have been recorded breeding with other members of the cockatoo family, both in the wild and captivity. These include the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, C. galerita.

  • Breeding season: February to July in the north; July to December in the south
  • Clutch size: 3 to 4

Economic impacts

The Galah is becoming more abundant around areas of human habitation, with the growth in population largely a result of increasing availability of food and water. Escaped aviary birds have also contributed to these numbers.

References

  • Crome, F. and Shields, J. 1992. Parrots and Pigeons of Australia. Angus and Robertson/National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.