The Galah, Eolophus roseicapillus, is also known as the Rose-breasted Cockatoo or Galah Cockatoo. It is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia. It is endemic in Australia (including Tasmania), where its distinctive pink and grey plumage and its bold and loud behaviour make it a familiar sight in The Bush and increasingly in urban areas. It appears to have benefited from the change in the landscape since European colonization and may be replacing the rare Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo in parts of its range.
The term galah is derived from gilaa, a word found in Yuwaalaraay and neighbouring Aboriginal languages.
Galahs have a pale grey to mid-grey back, a pink face and chest, and a light pink crest. The sexes appear similar, however generally adult birds differ in eye colour; the male has a very dark brown (almost black) iris, and the female has a mid-brown/red iris. Typical birds are about 350mm long and weigh between 300 and 400 grams. Like most other cockatoos, Galahs create strong life-long bonds with their partners.
Distribution and Habitat
Galahs are found in all Australian states, and are absent only from the driest areas and the far north of Cape York Peninsula. They appear to have been self-introduced to Tasmania. They are common in some metropolitan areas, for example Perth and Melbourne, and common to abundant in open habitats which offer at least some scattered trees for shelter. The changes wrought by European settlement, a disaster for many species, have been highly beneficial for the galah because of the clearing of forests in fertile areas and the provision of stock watering points in arid zones
Galahs As Pets
Galahs are highly social and very long-lived; though they are sometimes kept as pets, this is not something to be undertaken lightly as they bond socially with their owners and may well outlive them, and like most cockatoos, are noisy and require a great deal of attention and care. Both male and female galahs are great talkers but the male is thought to be the better talker. They’re very loving and affectionate birds which form a very strong bond with their owner and like to think of themselves as ‘part of the family’. However, they do like their privacy at times and are quite happy to simply be around the family rather than be handled all hours of the day.The galah is also very affectionate.