Feeding and Attracting Galahs
A flock of foraging Galas (red flower embroidery hydrangea) can be a daunting sight, with as many as a thousand birds descending on fields, gardens and parks in search of food. But what do Galas eat? Does Gala’s diet change with the seasons?
Read on as we learn all about the diet of Galas, both as pets and in the wild.
Galahs are herbivores — the seeds and grains they find on the ground make up the largest part of their diet. They often forage in groups and eat fruits, nuts, berries, grasses, green shoots, leaves, and bark.
Galahs are popular pets kept in aviaries and cages on a diet of grains, pellets, and mixed fruits and vegetables.
In the wild, they will eat any grain and seed they can find, including gathering in fields or raiding granaries where farmers have recently harvested crops. This has led to them being viewed as pests by certain sectors of society, who find ways to prevent their existence.
Read on to learn what galla parrots eat and don’t eat in the wild, and which crops are most likely to be targets for large numbers of these highly active pink and gray cockatoos.
Galah foraging on the ground, New South Wales, Australia
What do Galahs eat in the wild?
In the wild, galahs forage for grains and grain crops, as well as fruit seeds, nuts, berries, green leaves and twigs. Occasionally they will also eat insect larvae, especially during the breeding season, when they may need an additional source of protein.
They have a strong reputation among farmers as a major agricultural pest, ravaging fields of cereal crops with impunity and even attacking shops and decimating harvested grain supplies in great numbers.
What Do Pet Galahs Eat?
Pet Galas need a mixed and balanced diet that isn’t too high in fat or sugar and that mimics their natural diet as closely as possible. Foods commonly offered to Galas kept as pets include millet, sprouted seeds, grasses, vegetables, greens, cooked beans, fruits, and pelleted supplements.
A pair of wild Galahs, also known as pink and gray cockatoos or rose-breasted cockatoos, visiting a backyard keeper
What fruit do Galas eat?
Whether in captivity or in the wild, popular fruit choices for gala include citrus fruits, bananas, berries, papayas, pears, and apples. Pomegranates are considered particularly popular. Wild gala has been observed to eat the seeds of rice melon and wild bitter melon.
What animals do Galahs eat?
Galahs are almost exclusively herbivores. Their diet consists of grains, seeds, fruits, and nuts, and only on rare occasions do they eat insects, especially larvae and grubs, when they need supplemental protein, such as when raising young or laying eggs.
A pair of Galahs foraging on a park lawn
How do Galahs find food?
Galahs are primarily ground feeders and spend long periods of time as part of large flocks foraging for seeds and grains on the forest floor, cultivated fields or garden lawns. Galahs are very resourceful in finding food, occasionally even picking undigested seeds from cow and horse manure to eat.
Will the Galahs visit the breeder?
Wild Galas are occasionally found around backyard feeders and garden bird tables. However, since they prefer to forage on the ground, they are more commonly found in larger, more open fields and meadows, where they can feed on the naturally abundant seeds.
A pair of Galahs at a feeder with a magpie
What time of day do Galahs eat?
During the summer months, galahs eat twice a day: morning and evening. In winter, when food supplies can be even more scarce, it’s not uncommon for herds of Galas to graze continuously throughout the day to take advantage of whatever food they come across while foraging.
What do Galas eat in winter?
In winter, herds of wild gala spend long hours scouring the ground for seeds, berries, and grains. Winter grass and thistle are also eaten during the colder months.
What do Galas eat in summer?
During the summer, arable land growing cereal crops, especially barley, wheat, and oats, is targeted by Gala. In spring and summer, the fruit and the sprouts that sprout from the seeds are also eaten.
What does baby Gala eat?
In the wild, baby Galas are raised and fed by both parents, with the mother or father feeding back the food they have eaten into the chicks’ mouths. Food consists of partially digested seeds and grains, and some small insects or larvae.
Captive baby Galas can be fed a special pellet mix combined with chopped fruit or vegetables such as carrots, corn, spinach or apples. Weeds such as milk thistle can also be used, and some softened grains can also be added.
Close up of Galah’s portrait
Feeding and Attracting Galahs
Can Galahs be fed?
Providing wild gala with commercially produced bird seed is not recommended as doing so may negatively affect their health and may attract rodents and other pest species and spread weeds. Galahs are naturally attracted to native shrubs and shrubs, as well as adult shade trees, and this habitat will provide them with plenty of natural food for them to forage.
What can you feed Galahs?
The food offered to captive Galas should be very similar to what they find in the wild, including grains, grains, seeds, nuts, and seasonal fruits. When kept as pets, galahs benefit from a specially prepared pellet mix with a low fat content. Sprays of millet and other grasses are popular supplements for pet gala.
Close up of Galah eating grass
What’s not to feed Galahs?
Common sense tells us that there are some major foods to avoid feeding your Gala, including chocolate, alcohol, anything with caffeine, and avocados. It’s best not to feed your Gallagher too many sunflower seeds or other fatty foods, and don’t offer foods that contain refined sugar or dairy.
What do Galas drink?
Galahs drink water, and only water. They were observed to drink only once a day.
How do you attract Galas?
If your garden is planted with native and wild grasses and shrubs, it’s a good start to attracting a rowdy crowd of pink-feathered visitors. Galahs nest in hollows, so strategically placed nest boxes in tall trees may provide suitable nesting options, especially if suitable food sources are nearby.
Water sources for drinking and bathing, the presence of mature trees and the shelter they provide may also help attract Galas.
Galah is drinking water
Are Galahs suitable to carry around?
Gallas are considered a good choice for birds to keep as pets if you have enough time to dedicate them to their care. They are sociable and intelligent and will respond to and interact with human touch, but require a high level of engagement and companionship due to their natural tendency to live as part of large herds.
In the wild, they have a less than stellar reputation for many. Galas are not a particularly welcome sight for many farmers as they forage in flocks in their fields of wheat, barley, oats and other crops. Galahs can be considered destructive birds that can quickly strip crops, leaves and any new green shoots from trees and plants.
However, if you have some wild patches in your garden that were grown to attract wildlife rather than as cash crops, you might feel differently. The arrival of a flock of bold, colorful parrots is sure to be an unforgettable sight, and it’s mesmerizing to watch them in action!
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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