Sociable soaring squawker

You will know if you live nearby a flock of Pink and Grey Galahs (Eolophus roseicapillus), known as Djahal-ngakal in the Noongar language, by nightfall. Galahs congregate to roost together at night, often seen in flocks larger than 100, amplifying their characteristic noisy squawk.1

These sociable birds are widespread and abundant, found over most of Australia. Galahs search for hollows of living or dead eucalypt trees near water courses for nesting period. However, where hollows are scarce galahs get resourceful, using cliffs or gate post steel pipes instead.2

Galah’s have a rose-pink head, neck and underparts with a paler pink crown and grey back, wings and undertail. Their eastern counterparts tend to have darker plumage than the West Australian birds.1 While males and females are similar in appearance, the males have dark brown eyes and the females are coloured pinkish-red. Both sexes are 24-40cm in length and weigh between 230-380 grams.2

pink-and-grey-galah pink-and-grey-galah-2

Images: Kimberley Page

They are herbivores, feeding primarily on seeds found on the ground.2 The population of Galahs has increased around urban areas, due to the increased availability of food and water. While these native birds are bouncing acrobatic flyers, they spend most of their time sheltering from the heat, in foliage such as trees and shrubs.1

Galahs form permanent, life-long bonds with their mates. Both sexes share parenting duties, incubating the eggs and caring for their young. Unfortunately the chicks have a high mortality rate, with up to 50% of chicks dying within the first 6 months.1

galah_eolophus-roseicapillus

Distribution map of the Pink and Grey Galah.
Map: Department of Parks and Wildlife.

 

pink-and-grey-galah-1

Images: Kimberley Page

 

Source:

1 Australian Museum

2 Atlas of Living Australia