With a high pitch screech, and a bold and loud behaviour, the Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) is unmistakable. This familiar and widespread member of the cockatoo family, also known as rose-breasted cockatoo, is the colourful subject of our #47 Bird Photography Challenge.
What does it look like?
With its distinctive pink and grey plumage, this species of cockatoo is a common sight in the bush. It is about 35cm long, thus a smaller species of cockatoo. It has a pale grey back and rump, a bright pink face and chest and a whitish pink mobile crest. The flight feathers are black and grey. The beak is bone coloured. As for the eyes, they have black irises in males, but brown in females and surrounded with whitish bare skin. The legs are grey.
How does it behave?
The Galah feeds on grasses, herbs, roots, seeds, and green shoots. Huge, noisy flocks gather and feed on seeds from the ground, including those from cultivated crops. This gives them a reputation for being a bit of a nuisance and an agricultural pest in some areas.
Galahs nest in tree cavities, lined with leaves. They create strong lifelong bonds between partners. Both sexes incubate the eggs and care for the young.
Despite derogatory terms attached to its name, the galah is actually a highly intelligent, adaptable and social animal. It is also a fun loving creature that likes to muck about and play loudly. You will see it doing acrobatics, twirling around tree branches, hanging upside down, and generally being a bit of a clown. This might be why in Australian slang, if someone calls you a ‘galah’, or worse a ‘bloody galah’, it means you are a bit of a loud-mouthed fool, but a likable one!
Did you know?
Galahs have been recorded breeding with other members of the cockatoo family both in the wild and in captivity. These include the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. We saw them in a mixed flock near Modewarre, in Victoria hanging around with sulphur-crested cockies and corellas.
Where is it found?
The Galah is one of the few animals that has benefited from the arrival of European settlers to Australia. The clearing of land and planting of cereal crops have really suited it. This led to the increase in galah population into every corner of Australia.
Galahs are found in large flocks in timbered areas bordering fields and usually near water. The ones in the gallery were photographed in a variety of locations including Modewarre, Lake Borrie Wetlands and Healesville in Victoria, using a Canon 7Dii and Canon 100-400mm lens with 1.4x extender, hand held.
Click on any image in the gallery to display in full screen.