An attractive and unmistakable species of cockatoo, the galah, or pink and grey cockatoo, (Cacatua roseicapilla) is a familiar sight across much of Australia. The galah can easily be distinguished from other cockatoo species by its distinctive pink and grey plumage. The upperparts of the galah are pale grey, while its head, neck, underparts and underwing-coverts are a deep rose-pink. The rump and the undertail-coverts are lighter grey, and the tail is grey with a slightly darker tip. The galah has a short, erectable crest which varies from white to pink and looks like a cap when lowered. This species’ legs are grey, its strong, hooked beak is greyish-white, and each of its eyes is surrounded by a prominent ring of naked, dark greyish-red or greyish-white skin. The male and female galah are virtually indistinguishable, except by the color of their eyes, which are dark brown in males and red to pinkish-red in females. Juvenile galahs have a greyish wash on their underparts, and reach full adult plumage at about a year old. The galah has long, rounded wings and a short, square tail. Unlike other Cacatua species, it has a swift, powerful flight, with full rather than shallow wing beats. Its distinctive plumage means the galah is not easy to mistake for any other cockatoo, although it has occasionally been known to hybridise with other species. Three subspecies of galah are recognised. Cacatua roseicapilla albiceps differs from Cacatua roseicapilla roseicapilla in its larger size, whitish rather than pink crest, and warty red rather than greyish-white eye ring, while Cacatua roseicapilla kuhli has paler plumage and a shorter crest. The calls of the galah include a distinctive high-pitched, metallic screech described as ‘chill-chill’ or ‘chi-chi'. It also uses harsh screeching notes in alarm. The word ‘galah’ has come to be used in Australia to mean ‘fool’ or ‘idiot’, possibly because of this species’ playful antics. A  highly social species, the galah often occurs in large, noisy flocks.



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