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
"A few years back I owned a pied cockatiel, Charlie, which I had since fledging – pied referring to the color and wasn’t she beautiful? I decided to go with a cockatiel because of the amount of interaction I wanted – you see some birds are just happier in a cage being left alone to sing and add some cheer to a quiet home. Finches and Canaries are these - more introvert birds – happy to be unaccompanied and unencumbered. Parrots, on the other hand, are the socialites of the group, wanting attention and company. As I live in what you would call a condominium – a very big, demanding, loud bird was not the best option for me so I opted for the smaller species - because isn’t smaller always cuter anyway? I guess not always, nonetheless, I opted for a cockatiel out of the mix of lovebirds, cockatiels and small parakeets – of course I needed a bit more chirp without the demands of the pernickety and particular parrot. So after deciding on the right bird, I got a beautifully large cage – I mean don't you want a big, spacious home? Then we had to accessorize – gravel, cuttlefish bones, a perch and we just had to go with the birth bath and water mister – a lady must have the options of both bathing and showering. Charlie and I spent much time together grooming and chatting, playing in the water mister and she had the run the house – my house and hers! Unfortunately, Charlie got out of the house one day and I don't know if she flew away but I'm going to believe that she spread her wings and flew far away to a beautiful island that she now calls home and I hope that she thinks of me from time to time. ."
From ChantelleSchwartz Jan 12 2017 5:23PM
"Zeke joined our family 20 years ago, when he was very young. He had been hand raised and was tamed when we adopted him. We all hit it off pretty quickly, the kids just adored him. Zeke loves attention, he especially likes when you rub the back of his neck. He never learned to mimic words but will whistle tunes, mimics the dog barking, and learn to imitate kissing sounds. He is quite a charming character. This special little guy needs fresh water every day and his cockatiel mix seeds. We also give him green veggies; a great source of calcium. Zeke also enjoys fruits and occasionally loves a few pieces of rice and pasta. His cage needs to be cleaned once a day. He likes being out of his cage and stretching his wings. He eventually ends up perching on your shoulder. Cockatiels do have a fine and dusty dander that can cause allergies in some people. Luckily our family has not experience any allergy symptoms. Occasionally Zeke can get a little loud, especially in the morning. I think Zeke is part rooster, lol. We love Zeke very much, he is an awesome pet. ."
From Martha Oct 14 2016 3:36PM
"This bird was a handful. When I was eight years old, my parents bought me a Cockatiel; and while he looked beautiful and was pretty easy to feed, we were not prepared for the work that it took keep the bird happy.<br><br>The Cockatiel was very noisy, and despite our best efforts we simply could not get him to be quiet. The worst part, however, was keeping the birdcage clean. This bird laid its droppings everywhere in the cage, and cleaning it on a regular basis was difficult and time consuming.<br><br>If we would have known about this we probably wouldn't have gotten one. I would only recommend this type of bird if you can train it properly and have the time to keep it, and its cage clean.."
From animalcrazy83 Sep 9 2015 10:35AM