Species group: Cockatoos
Other common names: Weiro; Quarrion; Tiel
Scientific name: Nymphicus hollandicus
The Cockatiel is the second most popular pet parrot, only surpassed by its fellow Australian, the Budgerigar. This easy-to-handle, easy-to-breed species comes in a wide variety of eye-catching mutations, but even the normal gray birds win hearts because of the dapper crest, alert attitude, and endearing personality.
Cockatiels are social, not too loud, and easy to feed, and they're highly rated as good apartment birds. However, as a member of the Cockatoo family, Cockatiels are a powder down parrot. If you have a tendency to allergies, you should check with your doctor before you bring home a Cockatiel. Normal adult Cockatiels are easy to sex, since the adult males have a clean-looking face, while the females have a gray wash around the bright orange spot. Both adult males and females do have that nice orange spot, however; do not assume that all birds with an orange cheek patch are males.
The Cockatiel is a slim, graceful bird capable of strong flight. In the wild, these birds are nomads that travel widely throughout the dryer regions of Australia in search of seeding grasses and water, and they may gather on agricultural fields. Wild flocks may contain a few dozen or up to several thousand birds. Away from the flock, they do not have a natural sense of direction, so keep those wings properly clipped. A Cockatiel who gets startled and escapes into the great outdoors can very easily get confused and fly a surprisingly long distance. I've had Cockatiels brought to me that were obviously someone's beloved pet, but I was never able to locate the owner. It's possible that these birds had flown hundreds of miles until they were thoroughly lost.
A slim, aerodynamic bird, the wild form of the Cockatiel is mostly gray with a crest and a bright orange spot on the cheek. Today there are many beautiful mutations available in shades of yellow, gray, white, pearl, and more.
80 - 100 grams (2.8 - 3.5 oz.)
32 centimeters (12.5 in.)
15 - 25 years
Behavior / temperament:
Cockatiels are often recommended to first time parrot owners. They are gentle, easy to handle, and not too loud as long as you keep them entertained. A bird trained young learns to love human companionship, and your pet will be delighted to spend hours with you. However, they are not usually gifted talkers, so if you are looking for an easy talking parrot, I would instead recommend the Budgerigar. What they can do is learn to whistle. A classic tune that many Cockatiels have learned is the theme to the Andy Griffith show, so why not start there? Caution: Many people have reported that Cockatiels hold a grudge against the person who clips their wings. Therefore, I strongly advise that you hire a vet or a groomer to take on this chore. Make regular appointments, and you will maintain the sweet personality of your pet without the risk of having the bird fly away.
Cockatiels are not big birds, but they can chew. Supply a sturdy powder-coated metal cage of at least 24”w x 18”d x 24”h, as well as a playgym where they can exercise out of the cage. They're not terribly destructive, but make sure the perches are crafted from bird-safe wood, because the bird may destroy them eventually. Also, I prefer a cage floor with a metal grate to keep your Cockatiel away from its droppings. As ground feeders in the wild, they might otherwise spend too much time poking around their own mess. They should also have some toys specifically rated for Cockatiels.
That said, you should understand that you may be your pet Cockatiel's favorite “perch.” These highly social birds can spend hours on your shoulder just hanging out with you. I don't recommend wearing jewelry, because they can become fascinated with shiny earrings and necklace clasps, and they can't seem to resist removing your gold jewelry. I lost a gold necklace that way, and lots of women have reported that their Cockatiels attack or try to remove earrings. I thought my first Cockatiel was just kissing my ear. But some Tiels get rather nippy and aggressive when over-stimulated by your jewelry.
The Cockatiel, a tough bird of the dry Australian interior, evolved to eat a seed-rich diet. Its ability to survive and thrive on seeds is one of the reasons that this species became such a successful species in captivity. Too many Cockatiel owners struggle to convert their birds to pellets, a struggle often doomed to failure. Instead, provide a high-quality seed-based diet that includes fresh sprouted seed and home-baked Cockatiel bread. Ask your vet or breeder about whether they recommend vitamin A or multi-vitamin supplements. Tiels may deign to eat some of the food off your plate, and you may permit this in the interest of adding some variety to your bird's diet, but never allow any parrot to eat avocado or chocolate.
Written by Elaine Radford
mimic sounds, beautiful singing voice, best beginner bird, fun little personalities
cage cleaning, cage escapee, mood swings, annoying screeching, feather dust
consistent gentle handling, natural cockatiel pellets, doesnt actually talk, natural seed eaters
She Sang and Sang and Sang
Our Cockatiel, ChiChi, was quite the character. She had a beautiful whistle and knew how to sing the Andy Griffith Theme song with me. She was very easy to train and a friendly little bird. She wasn't able to vocalize or mimic actual words, but she could repeat songs and whistle a tune very easily. She was easy to care for and lived for a long time. This bird is a great starter bird for a beginner. They are sweet, if cared for and handled correctly, and a lot of fun to train. .
From annieanalaigh Jan 23 2019 10:05PM
My rescue older cockatiel often eats this
My cockatiel, now 20, was already 19 when I adopted him. One concern with cockatiels is that they can be set in their ways about food, and maybe doubly so when they're older. He does a good job eating this food though, although if left to himself he would probably eat millet sprays and honey treat sticks all day long. .
From peachfront 1357 days ago
Stress reduction is part of the process
Since I have adopted several older or rescue birds over the years, I maybe take stress reduction for granted. Calming the bird, letting the bird have a look around the place, etc. is a pretty natural process. The vet check and the actual travel to the new home may seem quite stressful to the bird, but I follow up with 30 days of "quarantine." This gives you the opportunity to observe and work with your new bird one on one, as well as allowing additional time for any health problems to crop up. The quarantine area should be a quiet, uncluttered area where you can work with your bird, or, at times, maybe just work on other things or read a book while the bird observes you from nearby. Don't force yourself on the newcomer. Keep the active training sessions short, a few minutes at a time, and let a lot of the time just be hanging out. It goes a long way toward getting the new relationship off to a good start.
From peachfront 1352 days ago