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Galah (Rose-Breasted) Cockatoo
The galah or rose-breasted cockatoo is native to Australia. In the wild, this species is one of the few whose numbers are increasing rather than decreasing. Galahs are also popular pets. In captivity, they are known for forming close bonds with their owners. The galah is friendly and vocal. They can also be taught how to perform many tricks. Read on to learn more about these fun pets!
|Common Names:||Galah, Rose-breasted Cockatoo|
|Scientific Name:||Eolophus roseicapilla|
|Adult Size:||13 to 14 inches, 9.5 to 14 ounces|
|Life Expectancy:||25 to 40 years in captivity|
Origin and History
The galah is native to Australia where it is the most widespread of cockatoo species. They are hardy and have adapted to many different climates and terrains in Australia, from savannahs to woodlands and even farmlands. Some of these birds have even established themselves in Tasmania.
In the wild, the galah will gather in large groups. Often, you can find them in a group with other species of cockatoos.
The galah is also recognizable by its noisiness. They can make a variety of sounds, most notably the screeching alarm sound they use when danger is near.
Galahs are popular pets due to their gregarious nature. They enjoy the company of humans and are quite demanding of attention. They are playful and can be kept in pairs, unlike some other cockatoo species that prefer a more solitary existence.
While galahs will tolerate handling, they don’t like to be held often. However, you can train them to do many tricks. They enjoy learning and showing off. Galahs can also learn to speak and mimic other sounds.
A galah is a high-maintenance pet. They need a lot of attention and will become depressed and destructive without it. The galah is also a chewer, even with plenty of attention. You’ll need to provide them with branches, pine cones, toys, and other enrichment devices to keep them occupied.
Speech & Vocalizations
Galahs can learn to imitate human speech and other sounds. Whistles, ringing, and bells are some of the more common sounds these birds have been known to imitate. Galahs are loud screechers in the wild. They can sometimes be loud indoors too, although, unless they are bored or frightened, they are less likely to be overly vocal.
Galah Cockatoo Colors and Markings
The galah has a distinctive look which adds to their appeal. Their bodies are grey with some white markings. The legs are also grey and the beak is off-white. Their heads and breasts are pink and they have a lighter pink crest on their heads. The combination of colors differentiates them from other pink cockatoos. Both males and females have similar appearances. The biggest difference between the two sexes is eye color. Females have red eyes and males have dark brown or black eyes.
Caring for the Galah Cockatoo
The galah requires a lot of care and attention. They genuinely seem to enjoy human company and can get depressed if not given significant time with you.
Unlike some other species of cockatoo, the galah can do quite well with a partner bird. Having another galah to spend time with can ease loneliness and closely mimics their life in the wild where they congregate in groups.
Most cockatoos are much like cats in that they groom themselves frequently. Galahs are definitely adept at keeping themselves clean. However, they will need you to help them with a few aspects of their upkeep.
If you don’t have a second galah in the cage, you will have to help preen your galah by running your fingers along their necks and heads to loosen old feather shafts. You will also need to trim their beaks and nails. If you don’t want your galah to fly, the wings will also have to be clipped. A bird veterinarian can assist with these tasks.
Galahs are not big birds, but they do need enough space to move around freely to be comfortable. The recommended minimum cage size is at least 3’ W x 3’ D x 6.5’ H.
Galahs also need toys, branches, perches, and other materials to keep them from getting bored.
Common Health Problems
Galahs are generally healthy, but there are a few problems that can creep up.
Diet and Nutrition
Galahs are prone to weight gain if they are overfed and under-exercised.
You should also make sure your galah has fresh water that is changed daily.
One thing to be aware of is galah’s tendency to swallow non-food items. When your bird is out of its cage, make sure you watch it closely so that it doesn’t eat things that can cause blockage or choking.
Galahs like to play so getting enough exercise shouldn’t be a problem for them, as long as you are committed to helping them do so. They love toys but can become bored with the same toys over and over again. You should give them different things to play with to keep their brains engaged.
A good choice for mental stimulation is a box with a treat hidden inside. The galah will enjoy tearing the box and locating the treat.
While playing in their enclosure can be fun for them, your galah also needs several hours out of their enclosure each day.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Galah Cockatoo
The most important factor when buying or adopting a galah is to make sure it was not taken from the wild. Although the galah isn’t suffering from declining numbers in the wild like many other cockatoo species, there is still a significant market for the illegal pet trading of galahs.
You can research breeders to ensure that you are getting a bird bred in captivity. You may also be able to find a galah for adoption through shelters or rescue organizations.
The galah is a fun and popular pet that requires a significant commitment. They live for a long time and demand a lot of care and attention. If you think you can provide them an environment in which they can thrive, you may want to consider a galah as your next avian pet.
Featured Image Credit: Pearsew. Pixabay
Oliver (Ollie) Jones – A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master’s degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.