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The Galah (35 cm) 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. The voice is a distinctive high-pitched screech, 'chi-chi'. Huge noisy flocks of birds congregate and roost together at night.
Distribution and Habitat
The Galah is one of the most abundant and familiar of the Australian parrots, found in large flocks, in a variety of timbered habitats, usually near water. It occurs over most of Australia, including some offshore islands, and is becoming more abundant round areas of human habitation. The growth in population is largely a result of increasing availability of food and water. Escaped aviary birds have also contributed to these numbers.
Food and feeding
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.
Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies. The breeding season is variable, but mainly from February to July in the north and July to December in the south. The nest is a tree hollow or similar location, lined with leaves. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the three or four young. There is a high chick mortality in Galahs, with up to 50 % 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,
* Crome, F. and Shields, J. 1992. Parrots & Pigeons of Australia.
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