Flaming Pink Galahs!
Look up in the sky and you could see a beautiful pink cloud rushing by. Have a closer look and you’ll realise it’s actually a flock of pink Galahs squawking and carrying on. There will be plenty of larrikin behaviour from these clowns of the sky to laugh at this month. Whether they are hanging upside-down on a telegraph line, bobbing their heads in a dance or playing soccer with pebbles on the ground, you will see why ‘galah’ is Aussie slang for a silly person.
The Galah is such a common sight to us that many people just take them for granted and the Galah can go unnoticed or unappreciated. However as you’ll find out, there are plenty of amazing things about the Galah.
Mum and dad Galah are getting ready to make their nest in tree hollows at the moment. So if you want to entice these crazy characters into your garden, now is the time to place a large nest box in a tree in your garden.
Male and female Galahs make very romantic couples as not only are they a lovely romantic pink colour, but they also mate for life. They will spend most of their time together in pairs, eating, cleaning and playing together. They are a very social and affectionate Aussie bird.
They mostly feed on the ground, and retreat to the shade of tree branches during the hottest parts of the day.
Plant locally native grasses, bushes and shrubs in your backyard. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos will enjoy a nourishing meal, and will help prune these native plants for you.
The male and female Galahs look almost identical with their pink and grey feathers. To help you tell them apart, check the colour of their eyes. The male Galahs have dark-brown or black eyes while the females have pink or red ones.
The loved-up couple will continue to return to the same nest site every year and will defend it
from other Galahs or animals looking to start a nest. Mum and dad both take turns getting the
nest ready for the eggs by lining it with soft eucalyptus leaves. Galahs like to keep their beaks sharp by chewing on branches. While breeding, they will do most of their chewing on one branch near the nest which is used as a sign to others that this nest is occupied.
Mum Galah will lay 4 to 6 eggs in her tree hollow but unfortunately only half will usually survive. However once the chicks make it to adulthood they will usually live for about 25 years in the wild or up to 80 years when kept as pets.
When the young Galahs are ready to leave their nest, they don’t seem to have any problems mastering how to fly, however when it comes to landing it can take a few crashes before they finally master the art. Once these young Galahs are able to leave the nest mum and dad will continue to look after them for a few weeks but then it’s time to encourage the chicks to find their own way in the world… sometimes this requires a few pecks before they get the message!
Like other cockatoos, the Galah is an excellent mimic of voices and sounds. Their vocal talents, along with their colour and hilarious personalities, have made them a very popular pet choice.
Galahs love to eat seeds which means they will spend a lot of time on the ground. This is great for spotting them and taking good photos but can make them vulnerable to foxes and other predators. Luckily they feed in large flocks where there are plenty of look-outs to warn everyone of approaching danger.
There are several different subspecies of Galah but they all look very similar and can be found right across Australia. It is believed that they were introduced to Tasmania but are now a common sight there. The Galah is very easy to recognise from its bright pink feathers and the loud ‘chi, chi’ call they make. They can grow to 36cm long and the males are usually slightly larger.
Galahs have successfully adapted to suburban areas because of the plentiful water and seeds available in parks, farms and backyards. But with urban sprawl and land clearing, the loss of our large trees makes it hard for them to find permanent nesting sites.
See our Galah factsheet for more information.