(USA usage), Rose Cockatoo.
Length about 35 cm (14 "), weight about 300 to 400 grams
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.
The common subspecies in aviculture and in the wild through much
of Australia is C. r. roseicapillus. A second subspecies, C. r.
found in much of Western Australia and is distinguished by a paler
grey body colour. A third subspecies, C. r. kuhli, has been recognised
in the northern
part of Western Australia, and into the Northern Territory. It is
a smaller bird, about 30 cm, and exhibits differences in the periopthalmic
The Galah is one of the most widespread of Australia's parrots, being
found in all states. It is only absent from the most arid country
and from the tip
of Cape York. It prefers open grasslands and woodland, is a common species
in the cities and towns, and has adapted well to farmed land. The species
is gregarious, often forming flocks of several hundreds, although
for food these large flocks will often split into small groups, coming
together again at the evening roost site. 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
in certain states. 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
Incubation is shared by both parents over a 30 day period and the babies
leave the nest at about 8 weeks old.
The Galah, like the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, is commonly kept as
a pet bird, but is rarely bred in aviaries in Australia due to
the depressed effect on the price of any progeny caused by the ready
wild caught young birds. Like other members of the Cockatoo group,
an aviary at least 5 metres by 1.2 metres by 2 metres high is required,
of materials to withstand the inevitable chewing that will occur.
A nest box around a 60 to 90 cm deep and about 30 cm in diameter
should be supplied.
An essential requirement is to keep a constant supply of fresh branches
of eucalyptus and other native trees available to avoid boredom.
supply of leaves that can be used to line the nest box is also
essential. Mate aggression can be a problem if older birds are introduced
to each other
but seems to be less of a problem with birds that are paired up
a young age. Another problem with breeding birds is that they seem
to be very clumsy,
and broken eggs are by no means uncommon. There appears to be no
easy solution to this, although a nest box mounted at an angle
or a nest box with a bottom
chamber off to one side, so that the parents do not jump down onto
the eggs, may be helpful. Alternatively patience is useful, since
the problem seems
to decrease with age.
The diet needs to be varied, balanced and interesting. 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
Animal protein is also beneficial, given by way of chicken or chop
bones, mealworms or other grubs. A tendency of the species to become
overweight should be guarded against, and there are arguments for
the use of
rather than seed for the Galah. The encouragement of flying by
the birds is also helpful. Galahs have a tendency to prefer to climb
around the aviary
rather than fly, and so careful siting of perches and food dishes
can help to ensure the birds have to do some flying.
A lutino Galah (illustrated left) is becoming well established in
Australian aviaries, while cinnamon, silver, and grey and white
mutations are also known
The Galah can make an excellent pet, with even wild caught young
birds capable of becoming affectionate and friendly birds. They will
become a little unpredictable when mature, and should never be allowed
to spend time on a shoulder. They are extremely playful and intelligent
which, like most cockatoos, need constant stimulation with toys to
play with, and objects to chew, to keep them from getting bored. They
are not generally
noisy, apart from early morning and evening, although some are the
exception to the rule. Both sexes can become good talkers, possibly with
being somewhat better, however their talking ability is not usually
on a par with either Sulphur-crested Cockatoos or the Corellas.