Gorgeous galahs

Photo essay by @reporting4work

As Australia's inland areas become less hospitable because of land clearing and drought, the clever - and sometimes naughty - galahs (known as either Eolophus roseicapilla or or Cacatua roseicapillus) with their distinctive grey and pink plumage, are tending to migrate to wooded areas in suburbia

During the heat of the day, these birds spend most of their time sheltering in the foliage of trees and shrubs. In the wild, the galah’s call is a high-pitched ‘chi-chi’ or, occasionally, persistent squawking. One Sunday recently this pair of galahs arrived, looking for a new potential pad in the suburbs

Galah pairs will nest in a tree hollow or somewhere similar and line their nest with leaves. Both adult birds will incubate their eggs, which hatch in around 25 days and the parents will continue to care for their young until they fledge after about seven weeks. Those fledglings that survive can live up to 80 years if their food supply is plentiful and of good quality.

Weighing from 270g to 350g - and measuring up to around 35cm in length - galahs are usually found roosting in large flocks at night near timbered habitats, usually near water. However, within those flocks, individual pairs will typically mate for life – only taking a new mate if the other dies

Galahs feed mainly on grass and cultivated seeds collected from the ground, so they can become pests in agricultural areas, where their numbers are still substantial. However, they are becoming more abundant around areas of human habitation where food and water are available.

This pair of galahs took a liking to a pine tree in a reserve in Albany Creek and began setting up home in a convenient hollow

Oddly enough, galahs can easily breed with other members of the cockatoo family, including sulphur-crested cockatoos, corellas and cockatiels.

They have also become popular aviary birds and some birds seen in and around the suburbs will have escaped from their residential enclosures. As pets, galahs are great mimics, like their cockatoo cousins, and both males and females can pick up and replicate sounds and words quite quickly

Oh, and if you’re new to Australian idioms, the colloquial term ‘galah’ is used, unkindly, to refer to someone who is behaving stupidly. Photo essay by Trina McLellan @reporting4work Learn more at: https://naturewatch-albanycreek.com/2016/03/01/now-whos-the-galah/

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