Eolophus - Eolophus Roseicapilla - Galah Cockatoo
A single species genus within the Cacatuidae family. The galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), also known as the galah or pink and grey, is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia. They are closely related to the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo. They are often seen with flocks of Corella's and will cross breed with them. There are also instances of Galah's breeding with Cockatiels.
It is endemic on the mainland and was introduced to Tasmania, where its distinctive pink and grey plumage and its bold and loud behavior make it a familiar sight in the bush and increasingly in urban areas. It appears to have benefited from the change in the landscape since European colonization and may be replacing the Major Mitchell's cockatoo in parts of its range.
Galahs are about 35 cm (14 in) long and weigh 270–350 g (10–12 oz). They have a pale silver to mid-grey back, a pale grey rump, a pink face and chest, and a light pink mobile crest. They have a bone-colored beak, and the bare skin of the eye rings is carunculated. They have grey legs. The sexes appear similar; however, generally adult birds differ in the color of the irises; the male has very dark brown (almost black) irises and the female has mid-brown or red irises. The colors of the juveniles are duller than the adults. Juveniles have grayish chests, crowns, and crests, and they have brown irises and whitish bare eye rings, which are not carunculated.
Three subspecies are usually recognised. There is slight variation in the colours of the plumage and in the extent of the carunculation of the eye rings among the three subspecies.
E. r. albiceps, is clearly distinct from the paler-bodied Western Australian nominate subspecies,
E. r. roseicapilla, although the extent and nature of the central hybrid zone remains undefined. Most pet birds outside Australia are the south-eastern form.
E. r. kuhli, found right across the northern part of the continent, tends to be a little smaller and is distinguished by differences in the shape and color of the crest, although its status as a valid subspecies is uncertain.
Living in captivity galahs can reach up to 70 to 80 years of age when a good quality diet is strictly followed. The galah socialises adequately and can engage playfully in entertainment activities to support the overall very intelligent nature of the bird. In their natural habitat the galah is unlikely to reach the age of 20 years, falling victim to traffic, predators such as little eagle, black and peregrine falcons, and human persecution in some agricultural areas.
Like most other cockatoos, galahs create strong lifelong bonds with their partners.
Aviary-bred crosses of galahs and Major Mitchell's cockatoos have been bred in Sydney, with the tapered wings of the galah and the crest and colors of the Major Mitchell's, as well as its plaintive cry. The galah has also been shown to be capable of hybridizing with the cockatiel, producing offspring described by the media as 'galatiels'. Galahs are known to join flocks of little corellas (Cacatua sanguinea), and are known to breed with them also. . A galah/sulphur-crested cockatoo hybrid which was hatched in 1920 was still living in the Adelaide zoo in the late 1970s, being displayed in a small cage alone near the entrance to an on-site cottage. The back feathers were a patchwork of grey tones and the breast feathers a soft apricot tone and the crest a slightly richer orange. The crest was longer that a galah crest but without the long curl of the sulphur-crested cockatoo. The bird was not significantly larger than a galah.