5 Amazing Facts about Galahs

by | Oct 28, 2019 | Bird News, Wildlife Journey East Gippsland | 1 comment

Galahs are one of Australia’s favourite birds. You can see Galahs in almost any part of Australia, mucking around, playing, squawking and having fun.

In East Gippsland on the Wildlife Journey tour we often see Galahs near the Snowy River at Orbost, where we stay at the Snowy River Homestead.

The Galah Eolophus roseicapilla is sometimes known overseas, and in the pet trade, as the Rose-breasted Cockatoo. But in Australia we call them Galahs.

see galahs in Australia

Here are 5 amazing facts about the Galah that you may not know.


1.  Galahs help with seed dispersal

Galahs are seed-eaters, so are often seen feeding on grass seeds on the ground. They also eat seeds from many Australian shrubs and trees, including Acacias (Wattles) and Casuarinas (She-oak). They are important seed dispersers – many seeds germinate after galahs carry them to another site, and then drop them intact or partially-eaten.

galah on ground Australia


2.  Huge flocks of pink Galahs

Galahs can travel and roost in flocks of 1000 birds. It is an impressive sight, especially at dawn and sunset – their bright pink breasts glow in the warm light.

Galahs are very fast – they are known to fly at 70km/hr. They are powerful and acrobatic, and think nothing of doing loop-the-loops, and ducking through branches at speed, all in a show of their aerial mastery. To see a huge flock of galahs flying like daredevils, high and low, at great speed, is one of the great sights of Australia.

flock of galahs feeding


3. Loving families

Galah pairs share the nesting and parenting duties of their offspring, and baby Galahs stay with their parents for months or years.  Galahs are monogamous and mate for life. The male Galah chirps and screeches in an effort to impress the female while courting. Galahs make their nests in hollow parts of trees – in spring it is not uncommon to see adult galahs entering or renovating hollows.

female galah cockatoo at nest

baby galah in hollow tree


A sad side to this story:

When young galahs are first learning to fly, they will often misjudge cars on the road and get hit. Their loving family will congregate near the dead baby, confused, and sometimes also get hit. Please slow down on the road when you see a flock of galahs nearby, and if you see a dead one, get out and move it off the road to save its family.


4. Pink for Girls

You can tell a female Galah by the colour of her eyes: just remember “pink for girls”.  Female galahs have pink eyes. Males and young birds have dark brown eyes.

Many Australian cockatoos and parrots are colourful – read about red-and-green King Parrots here.

female Galah pink eyes


5.  Aboriginal Origin of the word Galah

Galah (gilaa) is the bird’s Yuwaalaraay Aboriginal language name. The Yuwaalaraay are a tribe from northern New South Wales, around the area of Lightning Ridge.

Galah pair at nest hollow Australia


The word galah is also used in Australia for a silly person, a bit of a clown. This is thought to have come from the silly antics of Galah birds. Though highly intelligent, galahs often play the fool – hanging upside-down on branches, sliding down wires, tumbling and wrestling each other on the ground, doing somersaults and playing with toys. Watch:

See Galahs on the Wildlife Journey in East Gippsland, Australia.


See more about Australian Galahs at these links:

BirdLife Australia fact sheet: https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/galah

Australian Museum fact sheet: https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/birds/galah/

Parrots.org: https://www.parrots.org/encyclopedia/galah