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Cockatoos... and More

Galah Cockatoos
Cacatua roseicapilla
Reprinted from
Birds of Australia by Mike Owen

galah cockatoo


Rose-breasted Cockatoo (USA usage), Rose Cockatoo.


Length about 35 cm (14"), weight about 300 to 400 grams


The sexes are very similar except for the eye colour. A mature female will develop a coppery red iris while the male, and immature females, have a very dark iris.


The common subspecies in aviculture and in the wild through much of Australia is C. r. roseicapillus. A second subspecies, C. r. assimilis, is found in much of Western Australia and is distinguished by a paler grey body colour. A third subspecies, C. r. kuhli, has been recognised in the northern part of Western Australia, and into the Northern Territory. It is a smaller bird, about 30 cm, and exhibits differences in the periopthalmic eye ring.



The Galah is one of the most widespread of Australia's parrots, being found in all states. It is only absent from the most arid country and from the tip of Cape York. It prefers open grasslands and woodland, is a common species in the cities and towns, and has adapted well to farmed land. The species is gregarious, often forming flocks of several hundreds, although when foraging for food these large flocks will often split into small groups, coming together again at the evening roost site. Feeding is often done on the ground and their food in the wild is dominantly seed, nuts and fruit, and they can cause major damage to cultivated grain crops. For this reason the bird is regarded as a pest species in many parts of its range, and licensed culling is permitted in certain states.

The breeding season extends from July to December in the south and February to July in the tropical north. A nesting hollow is lined with leaves and twigs carried into the nest, and usually 3 or 4 eggs are laid. Incubation is shared by both parents over a 30 day period and the babies leave the nest at about 8 weeks old.


The Galah, like the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, is commonly kept as a pet bird, but is rarely bred in aviaries in Australia due to the depressed effect on the price of any progeny caused by the ready availability of legally wild caught young birds. Like other members of the Cockatoo group, an aviary at least 5 metres by 1.2 metres by 2 metres high is required, constructed of materials to withstand the inevitable chewing that will occur. A nest box around a 60 to 90 cm deep and about 30 cm in diameter should be supplied. An essential requirement is to keep a constant supply of fresh branches of eucalyptus and other native trees available to avoid boredom.

A supply of leaves that can be used to line the nest box is also essential. Mate aggression can be a problem if older birds are introduced to each other but seems to be less of a problem with birds that are paired up at a young age. Another problem with breeding birds is that they seem to be very clumsy, and broken eggs are by no means uncommon. There appears to be no easy solution to this, although a nest box mounted at an angle or a nest box with a bottom chamber off to one side, so that the parents do not jump down onto the eggs, may be helpful. Alternatively patience is useful, since the problem seems to decrease with age.

The diet needs to be varied, balanced and interesting. A variety of seeds such as wheat, hulled oats, canary, and some grey striped sunflower, should be provided as well as a wide range of fresh vegetables and fruit. Animal protein is also beneficial, given by way of chicken or chop bones, mealworms or other grubs. A tendency of the species to become overweight should be guarded against, and there are arguments for the use of pellets rather than seed for the Galah. The encouragement of flying by the birds is also helpful. Galahs have a tendency to prefer to climb around the aviary rather than fly, and so careful siting of perches and food dishes can help to ensure the birds have to do some flying.

Lutino galah


A lutino Galah (illustrated right) is becoming well established in Australian aviaries, while cinnamon, silver, and grey and white mutations are also known to exist.


The Galah can make an excellent pet, with even wild caught young birds capable of becoming affectionate and friendly birds. They will however often become a little unpredictable when mature, and should never be allowed to spend time on a shoulder. They are extremely playful and intelligent birds, which, like most cockatoos, need constant stimulation with toys to play with, and objects to chew, to keep them from getting bored. They are not generally noisy, apart from early morning and evening, although some are the exception to the rule. Both sexes can become good talkers, possibly with the males being somewhat better, however their talking ability is not usually on a par with either Sulphur-crested Cockatoos or the Corellas.


A wild caught young bird can be obtained for under $100au in Queensland. However because of the potential disease problems (particularly Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease) of wild caught birds, aviary raised birds are more expensive and a hand raised, aviary bred bird certified free of PBFD can fetch up to $300au.



Wild Wild Rose - Part 1 - Some interesting information on Galahs - their behaviors and differences from other cockatoos.
Wild Wild Rose - Part 2 - Some interesting information on Galahs - their behaviors, housing, play needs.
Looking at the World Through Rosie Colored Glasses - Falling in love with galahs. Description, personality, talking ability, etc.
Galah Talking Ability - Galahs (Rose breasteds) can be excellent talkers. Listen to them talk.
Just A Galah - Like most cockatoos they are considered pests in grain-growing districts, flying up to 50km/hr in flocks of 30-100. Diet in the wild.
Galah Mutations - The galah pied mutation with photos. A bit about other mutations.
Introduction to the Galah - An overview of the galah - it's habitat, pet quality, sexing, description.
Lexicon Of Parrots - the Galah - An overview of the galah - habitat, description, breeding in the wild.
Galahs at Kimani Aviaries - A picture of both the normal and the lutino galah
Rose-Breasted Cockatoo - This medium-sized cockatoo is relatively quiet, has an engaging, spritely personality and a good ability to mimic human speech. Description, diet, personality. Photos of babies 1 week to 8 weeks.
Rose-breasted Cockatoo - Unique among Cockatoos Galah subspecies, descriptions, clutches, behavior, origins, breeding, nests, diets, pet quality and mutations.
Roseate Cockatoo Description, subspecies, diet, sexing, breeding, caging, mutations (lutino, blue), etc.
Tickled Pink About rosebreasted toos (galahs). Personality, coloring, talking ability, noise, affection, toys, diet, etc.
Galah Cockatoos - Description, history, habitat, nesting breeding, personality, behaviors and more.
Galah FAQ - Questions answered about pet Galahs.
Galah Diet - A nutritional diet for pet Galahs includes fresh foods, herbs, greens, pellets and more.
Galah Health - Health problems and health needs of Galahs. Nutrition, exercise, diseases, etc.
Galah Home Environment - Caring for your pet Galah. Caging, perches, toys, lighting, etc.

Breeding Articles

Breeding the Galah - Experiences with breeding, mating, age, nesting, clutches, eggs, hatching, etc.
Galah Photos (Adults & Babies) - Lots of pictures of Galahs. Adults and chicks from day 1 to 6 weeks.
Housing the Galah - Caging, aviary, perches, placement, companions for breeding
Handrearing the Galah - Incubating eggs, brooders, handfeeding, formula, problems, etc.
Breeding the Rosebreated Cockatoo Galah description, coloring, sexing, cages, flights, nest, materials, chicks, sexual maturity, diet, pet quality personality.
A Truly Rosie Aviary Jeannette Duyn's outdoor aviaries, nursery and set up for breeding galahs. Photos and details.
Rosie Babies - Watch Us Grow Photos of galah babies from pipping to 20 day chicks.

Photographs are reproduced by permission of the Australian Birdkeeper
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