Scientific Name: Cacatua roseicapilla
Size: Birds measure about 35 cm in length.
What does it look and sound like?
The Galah is 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 Galah has a bouncing acrobatic flight, but spends most of the day sheltering from heat in the foliage of trees and shrubs. The voice is a distinctive high-pitched screech, “chi-chi”, which is as distinctive as its appearance. Huge flocks of birds congregate in noisy flocks and roost together at night.
Where is it found?
The Galah is one of the most abundant and familiar of the Australian parrots. It occurs over most of Australia, including some offshore islands, and is becoming more abundant in areas of human habitation. The growth in population is largely due to the increase in abundance of available food and water. Escaped aviary birds have also contributed to this increase.
What are its habitats & habits?
Galahs occur in a variety of timbered habitats, usually near water. They can form huge, noisy flocks that feed on seeds, mostly on the ground. Seeds of grasses and cultivated crops are eaten, and birds will travel large distances in search of favourable feeding grounds.
Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although birds will make 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 tree hollow or similar location, lined with leaves. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the 3 or 4 young. There is a high chick mortality in Galahs, with up to 50 per cent dying in the first 6 months.
Galahs have been recorded breeding with other members of the cockatoo family, both in the wild and captivity. These include the Suplhur-crested Cockatoo, C. galerita.
This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots