Cockatiel Birds – Some Interesting Facts

April 26, 2018 in Articles

Cockatiel Birds

Happy together


Also known as quarrions or weiros, the cockatiel birds are the smallest and most popular member of the cockatoo family (which also has the Corella, White Cockatoo, and Galah).  Cockatiel birds are generally kept as household pets or companion pets, and because of their attractiveness, gentle nature, easy maintenance and breeding, they are widely available at most pet bird stores and are one of the most popular pet birds in the world.

In the wild, cockatiel birds are generally grey in color with white, yellow and orange accents. Due to captivity which led to inbreeding, cockatiel birds now come in twenty-two different types of colors, ranging from grey, brown cinnamon, emerald/olive, to brilliant lutino.

Cockatiel birds have an average lifespan of 25 years and they can grow from between 11-14 inches long from head to tail. They are a native of the Australian wetlands, scrublands, and bushlands.


Cockatiel Birds: Behavior and Interaction

Love birds

The position of a cockatiel’s distinctive crest determines its mood or emotional state. A straight-up, vertical crest means the cockatiel is excited, startled or curious; a slightly-slanted crest signifies a neutral or relaxed state.  And, when the bird is agitated or defensive, the crest is usually flattened close its head accompanied by a loud, hissing

Cockatiels are very intelligent, social, and active birds. They easily get attached to their owner and are able to mate for life. Because of this, they require a lot of attention and social interaction to stay healthy and happy.

Caged cockatiel birds need to be actively engaged so as to prevent boredom which triggers health issues and severe behavioral problems.  Toys which can be easily destroyed with their small beaks and, foraging toys to
sharpen their avian instincts, are great for cockatiels.

Male cockatiels are known to be more social and active than their female counterparts. They are capable of both whistling and speaking. Although learning how to talk takes a lot of training and constant repetition of words by the owner. Some of the male cockatiels are more inclined to whistling since it’s a more natural behavior than talking, and so, they might even end up not learning how to speak at all.

The females are more gentle, solitary and overprotective of their personal spaces. The majority of them hardly whistle or speak — or even show interest in learning it — but they do have the ability.


Cockatiel Birds:  Housing

The bigger the cage, the better, and the more convenient for the bird. Although cockatiels are not exactly large birds, they still need a spacious cage that can accommodate toys, food and water bowls, multiple perches, their head crest and a long tail.

The shape of the cage is also important — either a square or round cage with large door front will be appropriate. The cage should have horizontal bars for climbing and exercise, and a couple of perches — evenly spaced at different levels. The perches can be of different sizes and materials such as rope, wooden dowels, bonded sand/concrete (for manicuring and should not be kept in sleeping area), natural stem wood and manzanita.

Suggested size of a cockatiel’s cage:

Length:  24 inches

Width:    18 inches

Height:    24 inches

Bar Spacing:  1/2 – 5/8 inches

If it’s a busy household, the birdcage should be kept in a quiet room off the floor to help it sleep at night, but if it’s a quiet household, covering the bird’s cage is advised. Having multiple bird cages can be convenient — a play cage and a cage for sleeping.

Proper care should be taken when choosing a place for the cage; the placement area should be at room temperature, hot or cold areas can affect the bird’s health.

Cage Suitable for Cockatiels – CLICK IMAGE


Here is one that I would choose because of the non-toxic and lead-free powder-coated paint, its sturdy frame, and 4 casters so that you can easily transfer your cockatiel from one room to another.

This is a sturdy cage for your Cockatiel.  It has 4 noise-free, swivel casters.  To get all the details, click the image below.

Cage Suitable for Cockatiels – CLICK IMAGE



Diet of a Cockatiel

CLICK IMAGE – No Artificial Colors or Preservatives

Cockatiels’ diet consists mainly of seeds, millets, insects, nectar, fruits, and pellets. To maintain a balanced diet, the bird’s feeds should include a variety of food and not exclusive to pellets or formulated foods which can cause health and behavioral problems. 

This Cockatiel food (image to the right) has NO preservatives, NO artificial colors and is enriched with DHA, contains Omega Fatty Acids and also Digestive Probiotics for good health.

The cockatiel should be given a regular supply of clean and fresh water.

Fruits and vegetables such as carrots, mango, broccoli, squash, dandelion leaves, apple, cooked sweet potatoes, and berries should be added to the cockatiel’s diet.

To ensure a healthy bird, their food and water bowls have to be changed regularly.

The cockatiels can also be fed human’s food like cooked whole grains, unsugared cereals or multigrain bread in small in quantity.



The following foods are very TOXIC to your Cockatiel, so be sure to avoid giving these at all costs:

1.  Honey

2.  Avocados

3.  Mushrooms

4.  Garlic and Onions

5.  Chocolate

6.  Alcohol

7.  Foods High in Sugar/Salt/Fat

8.  Dried Beans

9.  Seeds from any fruits

10. Cabbage

11. Iceberg Lettuce

12. Parsley

13. Carbonated Drinks


Habitat Maintenance

The cockatiel birds’ cage and perches should be regularly washed with warm water and soap and disinfected weekly with a diluted chlorine solution. The cage should be carefully rinsed and deodorized after disinfestation, to remove the chlorine smell.

Worn out or damaged toys, perches, and dishes should be replaced, so as not to cause damage to the cockatiel. Ensure to rotate new toys to the habitat once it becomes disinterested, or on a weekly basis.

Materials or toys made of lead or zinc should be kept out the bird’s cage to prevent the cockatiel from ingesting them.

Mirrors should be kept out of cockatiels’ reach and sight to prevent them from bonding with their reflection.


Health:  What to Look For

Signs of a Healthy Cockatiel Bird

  •    Sociable, curious and active
  •    Does not skip meals and drinks regularly
  •    Clean and dry vents
  •    Well groomed feathers
  •    Dry nostrils and dry-bright eyes.
  •    Normal appearance of the beak, legs, and feet.

Red flags

  •    Runny or discolored discharge
  •    Loss of appetite
  •    Wheezing or coughing
  •    Inactivity and unsocial
  •    Eye or nasal discharge
  •    Abnormal behaviors such as favoring one foot when not asleep
  •    Fluffed, soiled or plucked feathers

According to, lots of fruits intake may be a cause of runny discharge as cockatiel birds are not tolerant to citric acid. The intake of fruits should be limited to once per day. If it persists after two days,  then the condition has become chronic and you need to take the cockatiel to the vet.

But if your bird does not eat any fruits at all, then it should be taken to a vet, as this can become a problem.

Changing cockatiel birds’ diet all of a sudden can also affect their health. When modifying their diet, the new feed should be introduced gradually, so it can get used to it over time.  This may take anywhere from days to months to modify their diet.  Be sure to never take away all the seeds before you are certain that he or she is eating the pellets, in addition to some veggie and fruits.

Since birds are stubborn, by nature, this may be stressful for you and your pet.  But do not despair because cockatiels can be trained.

What a beauty!


Cockatiel birds have a gentle and affectionate demeanor and their small size allows them to fit nicely into small rooms without occupying up a lot of space in your home.  Your house does not have to be huge in order to have a cockatiel as a pet. They are very active, and their ability to speak makes them entertaining creatures. Due to their amenable behavior and qualities, they are quite popular as pets and you can easily get one at most any pet store that sells birds.




Leave a Reply