Monday, July 4, 2016

GALAHS - Red-Breasted Cockatoos

Other Common Names: 
Rose-breasted Cockatoo and the Rose Cockatoo

Galahs are gorgeous, gregarious birds native to Australia and the South Pacific Islands. Galahs are found across the entire continent of Australia, other than in arid regions. Galahs live in large flocks in timbered habitats that have an ample water source.

Galahs (or Red-breasted Cockatoos) have a rosy-pink head with a lighter pink crest. The deeper pink is also seen on the neck, underparts and under-tail. They have a grey back and wings, with a whitish edge. Soft light pink feathers also grace the tip of the tail. Galahs have pearlish-white, hooked beaks.

The Galah can be considered a medium sized bird with its’ body length being approximately 35 cm (14 inches) and with a weight of between 300 – 400 grams (0.7 – 0.8 pounds).

Male Galahs have a wingspan of 26 to 28 cms (14 inches) and females 25 – 28 cms (9.8 – 11 inches).

The average lifespan of a Galah is between 50 and 80 years, so this must be taken into consideration if/when looking to purchase one as a pet.

Galahs are intelligent, acrobatic, affection and entertaining birds and seem to have all the intrinsic qualities that make them ideal family pets. Galahs enjoy human contact and love to spend time playing with their owners. Galahs form very strong bonds with their owners and enjoy physical contact such as scratching under the wings, just behind their crests and under their beaks.

Galahs thrive on attention but also enjoy keeping themselves amused with toys and puzzles.  Galahs are easy to train, needing only time, patience and love in order to achieve amazing feats. They can be trained to mimic human speech and whistling amongst other sounds and noises.  Galahs can be trained to ‘talk’, picking up words and whole phrases. Male Galahs seem to learn to mimic a little sooner, a little easier and a little more fluently than their female counterparts.

Galahs often take favourably to all members of the family making them ideal to have around the house.  Keep in mind though that these quirky birds get bored easily so must be kept entertained.  Supply your Galah with ample, colourful toys made of wood and robust, non-toxic materials in order to keep their busy minds entertained.

Galahs emit a high pitched screech in the wild, communicating from bird to bird.  They are very socially active birds and can become a screeching mob when a flock flies overhead or lands. When kept as pets Galahs tend to be much quieter, possibly only screeching at dawn and dusk, and in response to hearing other birds singing outside (or inside ie. another pet bird)

In the wild Galahs fly in huge flocks and are very vocal, shrieking and calling out while performing aerial feats.  They swerve and swoop, duck and spiral, matching their quirky, cheeky personalities. Being a flock bird, Galahs crave and need company.

Australians use the term ‘Galah’ as slang to call someone a fool, clown or a joker.  These birds reflect that description perfectly as they are energetic, active, precocious and raucous in personality.

Galahs are quirky, curious birds ...

What to feed Galahs (Red-breasted Cockatoos)


In the wild, Galahs feed mostly on the ground and their diet would include seeds of grasses and cultivated crops.  In some areas of Australia, Galahs are considered an agricultural pest.  They’ve been known to travel great distances to find palatable food sources.

An ideal diet for your pet Galah includes a mix of:

*Green shoots    *leaf buds    *roots    *insects and their larvae    *wheat    *hulled oats    *striped sunflower seeds    *millet    *sprouted seeds    *cooked brown rice    *grains    *rice    *wheat    * pasta    *green peas    *broccoli    *spinach    *celery    *zucchini    *tomatoes    *cucumbers    *cabbage    *cooked white potato    *red and green capsicum    *cauliflower    *cooked sweet potato    *cooked yams    *butternut and acorn squash    *carrots    *pumpkin    *dandelion greens    *mustard greens    *beet greens    *small amounts of corn    *passionfruit    *berries    *oranges    *apples    *cherries    *cantaloupe    *strawberries    *peaches    *nectarines    *apricots    *pears    *bananas    *plums    *mango    *figs    *pomegranates    *kiwi fruit

Foods to Avoid

*Iceberg lettuce    *caffeine    *avocado    *parley    *black sunflower seeds

Keep fresh water plentiful.

Galahs are known to over-eat, particularly if bored, so keep a check on their weight.


Vitamin and mineral supplements can be added to the Galah’s feed and/or water, particularly if the Galah’s diet consists predominantly of seed only.

Provide your pet Galah with a cuttlebone/cuttlefish and/or mineral block as this keeps the Galah’s beak trimmed to prevent beak over-growth, and at the same time provides the bird with calcium.

Housing Your Galah - Red-breasted cockatoo cage


Galahs feel most comfortable in well kept and maintained enclosures. When keeping a Galah as a pet ensure that its’ cage is adequate for optimum well-being.  It needs to be practical and comfortable and as large as you can possibly make it.  Make sure there is enough room to house toys, perches, water and feed containers.  Galahs love to move around and spread their wings.  Ensure the cage is light and airy and kept clean with litter removed daily.

Place feed and water containers away from areas where the bird is likely to do its’ droppings (ie. under perches) and change water regularly; twice a day being ideal.

Keep fresh foods such as green vegetables and fruit separate from dry foods such as seeds and grains.

Galahs are very social birds and are able to be housed with other parrots.

Galahs are comfortable at the same temperature that humans are, although they do not adapt to temperature fluctuations as well as we do.  In captivity, try to keep the temperature at around 27 to 32 C (80 – 90 F).

Galahs enjoy their freedom and like to spend stretches of time out of their cages.


If a Galah becomes bored it will start pulling out and mutilating their feathers.  Therefore a variety of toys needs to be introduced into the Galah’s cage.

Toys for the Galah are best robust and strong as their smallish beaks are very powerful and sharp.

Colourful hanging and foot toys and knotted ropes are ideal.  Rotate different toys to keep the Galah inquisitive and entertained.

Galahs love to swing and hang upside down, so if room allows, place a swing in the Galah’s cage.

With enough toys in their cage to keep them amused, Galahs are happy to spend time alone.  They are quite independent birds and generally have a happy disposition.

A cuttlefish and/or mineral block should be placed in the cage in order for the Galah to receive calcium as well as keeps their beaks trimmed.


Perches not only give your birds exercise, but allow birds to easily move around. Ensure that there are at least two perches at different heights.  Make sure that perches are placed in such a way that droppings and the bird’s feathers and tail do not fall into or come into contact with their drinking and bathwater containers.


Allowing a Galah to bathe is essential.  Birds living in the wild live with weather conditions such as rain, which facilitates the natural bathing of feathers.

Birds kept indoors are exposed to artificial conditions and the atmosphere inside is generally drier compared to outside.  Regular bathing ensure that feathers are kept clean.

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