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.
Housing in Aviculture
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.
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.
Breeding in Aviculture
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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