Popular Cage Birds
The pink and grey galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) is common and widespread in Australia. It is also known as the Rose-breasted cockatoo and Roseate cockatoo. There are three subspecies. This species has benefited from, and adapted well to European settlement and in some agricultural areas the birds are regarded as pests. It is now found in quite large numbers in suburban areas.
This species is endemic over most of mainland Australia and Tasmania. It is absent only from the very driest areas of the mainland and the far north of Cape York Peninsula
It inhabits mostly open country as long as there is some timber for nesting. It is most often found within easy distance of water and is becoming increasingly conspicuous in urban areas.
It is around 35cm long and weighs 270 to 350 grams. The back is a pale to mid-grey. The rump is pale grey, the face and chest pink and the crest is a light pink. The hooked beak is bone coloured and the eye ring is bare and carunculated. The legs are grey. The only visible difference between the sexes is the colour of the iris. The male has a very dark iris while the iris of the female is mid-brown to red.
Flocks often congregate and forage on the ground for food. Galahs are very social. When feeding, several birds appear to be on sentry alert and will have their heads up and an eye out for danger. The flight path of the galah is bouncy and acrobatic.
Pink and grey galahs live on grass and grass roots, fruit, nuts and grain. They form huge, noisy flocks and mostly feed on the ground. Through the heat of the day, they shelter in trees and shrubs. At night huge flocks of up to 1,000 birds may come together to roost. They may travel large distances to get to their favoured feeding grounds.
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Galahs nest in tree cavities. Once they choose their partners, these birds are monogamous unless one dies in which case they will take a new partner. Usually 2 to 5 white eggs are laid in a clutch. The incubation period is around 25 days and the chicks stay in the nest for about 49 days. Both birds share in the incubation of the eggs and the raising of the chicks. There is a high mortality rate with galah chicks. Some sources state that half of the chicks die in the first six months. The pink and grey galah has been known to hybridise with the sulphur-crested cockatoo, the little corella and the cockatiel.
Galahs are very long-lived and may well outlive their owners. They are noisy and, being social creatures, require a great deal of attention. They are however easy to keep and maintain and are therefore very popular as pets. They are great talkers. They are loving and affectionate and will 'purr' when feeling affectionate. They bond strongly to their family but also appreciate periods of simply being in the company of their family rather than being manhandled all the time.