Eolophus roseicapillus ................................................................ By Gideon Scheepers

The Galah or Rose-Breasted Cockatoo is native to Australia and is found in very large flocks over most of the country. They are most often observed in-groups, both small and large. When seen in flocks of more than a hundred, flying overhead, it is an experience you will never forget. They are prolific breeders in nature and this accounts for the large flocks all over Ausie Land. They can be seen in large flocks on the ground especially along the routes from the grain farms to the grain silos as they eat all the grain, which spills from the trucks. Because of their great numbers in the wild where the grain farmers consider them an agricultural pest, it is worth almost nothing in Aviculture. They destroy tons of grain yearly, and people get paid to shoot and poison these birds they see as pests.

As an avicultural subject in Australia Galahs are not prized birds due to the large wild populations. There are however some dedicated Galah breeders whom have produced some beautiful mutations such as Albino, Dilute, Cinnamon, Silver, blue, and also a mutation in which the grey is replaced by white, in South Africa there are Pied Mutations.
In South Africa these parrots are highly prized and of great value, since there has been no export of fauna and flora since the late 1950's, they are scarce in the rest of the world.
As I mentioned earlier they are native to Australia and are so unique that they have been placed in there own monotypic genus, namely Eolophus. They are found throughout most of Australia, but prefer open grasslands and Savannah woodlands. They are common residents that they venture into the built-up areas and are commonly observed by inhabitants of towns and cities. Increasing in Tasmania possibly due to escapee pets.
These parrots are sort after the world over, as a pet and as aviary subjects, mainly due to their endearing personalities both in an aviary and in the home, also due to their beautiful Pink and Grey plumage. Which sets them apart from all other Cockatoos and taxonomists have placed them in their own monotypic group, namely Eolophus in which there are two distinct subspecies namely E.roseicapillus roseicapillus the nominate race and then the other being E.r.assimillis
E.roseicapillus roseicapillus
This is the nominate race having it's plumage deep pink below and a soft grey above. The head and crest being tinged with white. The rump greyish white, lower abdomen and tail are grey. The periorbital skin around the eye may be smooth or wrinkled and is dark grey in colour. The bill is horn coloured and has grey legs. The iris is usually reddish brown in hen and dark brown to black in cocks.
E.r.assimillis
It has paler plumage and the crest is tinged with pink. The periorbital skin is white and they are from western Australia.

Housing in Aviculture

Because the Galahs are prone to becoming overweight, it is important to give them space to exercise or to limit their food intake daily. Placing perches at different heights gives the birds flying exercise. Galahs love to be on the ground and can be observed grubbing in the ground. Our Galahs are given washed river-sand as a base to their aviaries, and they like scratching around in it like chickens. If they were in a suspended aviary or one with a concrete floor, I would suggest you give them a flat dish with washed river sand, for them to play in.
My Parrots are housed in suspended aviaries, I supply them with a nest box in the front and one at the rear of the aviary so that they may choose. I have a gate in the front, as well as the feeding hatch for food and water, and two sturdy non-poisonous branches, one at the rear and one towards the front at different height so that they can fly up towards the back perch. Galahs as well as other parrots will always choose the highest perch on which to roost at night, so the back one is placed higher and is under shelter so that they will roost there at night. I also provide them with old pieces of wood on the floor of the suspended aviary so that they destroy that instead of the perches.

They are not generally as noisy as other cockatoos, they have more of a whistle than a screech, so they are less likely to offend neighbors. They do however tend to call at night. My pairs do not to attack the aviary wire, only the woodwork, nests, perches etc. They also enjoy the rain and often hang upside down from the tops of their cages to shower with open wings in the rain. We have sprinkler systems above their aviaries, which are put on daily in the summer this not only cools them down but also makes the surrounding area humid which is needed to hatch the eggs successfully.
Note: Remember when breeding Galah Cockatoos in smaller suspended aviaries it is advisable to limit the food to keep them trim

Breeding in Aviculture

First thing before being able to breed these magnificent birds, you should be sure that you have a true pair. Most adult Galahs can be sexed by eye coloration, and the intensity of the red or pink coloration of the naked skin (eye ring) around the eye.
Mature males have a darker brown, almost black eye coloration compared to females where the iris ranges from light brown to brick red. The naked eye ring is usually thicker and darker in colour in males. Sexing by eye coloration, however, is not 100% accurate in Cockatoos. It is still recommended that all parrots be sexed surgically or by DNA sexing. Surgical sexing to me is a great way of telling how developed (or underdeveloped) the ovaries or testes are, telling you weather the bird is fit for breeding or not.

In the wild these parrots pair off in breeding season and choose a nesting site, there may be more than one nest in a tree, but the pair will defend it. When they have chosen the nest, they start doing renovations and maintenance to the place, by using the preen gland and the beak to polish the area around the nest entrance to a smooth almost mirror like finish this presumably is to keep predators out. The hen then lines the inside of the nest with eucalyptus leaves to create a microclimate suitable for the eggs to hatch, for this reason eucalyptus leaves should be provided in the aviary. The hen then proceeds to lay the clutch 3-5 eggs and incubation starts lasting for 23-24 days, this is shared by male and female. The chicks weigh about 8 g upon hatching, they are covered in a sparse pinkish down, this is lost in the next few days, and they remain naked until about 3 weeks when the pinfeathers emerge. The chicks fledge at around 7-8 weeks.
In Aviculture, Galah Cockatoos can be placed in breeding aviaries whether it is suspended or conventional flights, one pair per aviary. Colony breeding in my opinion should never be practiced with any parrots, as the alpha pair is usually the only successful breeders. If adjoining aviaries are used, it is advisable to partition the area surrounding the nest so that the nest area is secluded (this goes for most parrot types)

Galahs are early spring nesters, usually the first cockatoos to go to nest only the Goffins in my aviary beat them. In the Southern Hemisphere Galahs start nesting in August and September and in the Northern Hemisphere they usually start laying eggs in February and March.
We use vertical as well as horizontal nest boxes measuring 30cm X 30cm X 60cm with great success. If you are using wood it is best to use thick wooden planks about 5 cm thick for the sides of the nest to aid in insulating the temperatures around the eggs or young. They also need sturdy perches for successful mating, no wonky ones as this can result in unfertilized eggs and a waste of a breeding season.
Many of the sites used in nature by Galah hens can be as small as 15 cm here she easily raises four babies in this tight space. Most of the wild nests are in eucalyptus (Blue Gum in South Africa) trees.
Galahs are one of the very few cockatoos that bring nesting material into the nesting chamber and should be supplied with a regular supply of fresh eucalyptus leaves in the preceding 2 months before breeding season starts, since it really stimulates their courtship and nesting behavior. I begin giving my Galahs fresh eucalyptus branches about June onwards. (Southern Hemisphere)
Galahs are prolific breeders laying on average between 3 and 5 eggs. Because of this, the babies hatch in sequence and are of staggered sizes, and if the eggs are harvested for the incubator they will lay many more. We take babies away at 10 days old if it is the first clutch of the season and all other clutches are left with the parents for 4 weeks before being taken for handrearing.
Newly hatched chicks are covered with a light-pink down. They grow rapidly due to the fact that in the wild it is important to fledge as soon as possible because of the varying climatic conditions and the availability of seeding grasses and other food items.
Hand-fed Rose-breasted Cockatoos make good future breeding stock. They can breed from the age of 1 year, but it is better to let them wait until about 3 years old when they are more mature.

Mutations

There are a few mutations i.e.Albino, Dilute, Cinnamon, Silver, and also a mutation in which the grey is replaced by white, in South Africa there are Pied Mutations., if you know of any others please send a photo with a description and some history to Gideon

PET QUALITY

Galah cockatoo have an outgoing personality when handreared. They along with the Goffin Cockatoo are the "extroverts" of the cockatoo group. They make great pets and love attention, they can also learn tricks.
They are highly intelligent parrots and good learners. They can be taught to talk, some learning many words and phrases.

DISCLAIMER

Although all reasonable efforts have been made by Thomasriver Aviaries to validate the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Thomasriver Aviaries shall not be held responsible for any errors in, amendments to, or any damages arising from information supplied as aforesaid. Thomasriver Aviaries does not give any warranties as to the accuracy and completeness of the information and shall not accept liability whatsoever for the use by any party of such information. No claims whatsoever shall be accepted for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the information by any party. We are not responsible for any bites due to our birds when they are viewed or bought, you take full responsibility when you handle the birds.

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