The cockatiel is one of the most popular pet birds you can find today. This friendly and relatively easy to train Australian parrot is an all time favorite not only because of its personality but also because of its availability and affordable price. Cockatiels are second in popularity only to the budgerigar.
This bird's personality makes them easy to bond with their human caretakers, and if you are not careful, they can get very spoiled by demanding your attention all the time. Being lovable and affectionate with their humans is what has made this bird the number one pet bird in The United States.
In the science world they are known as Nymphicus hollandicus and in many countries they are known as miniature cockatoo, weero, quarrion, calopsita, and carolina.
It's very important to understand that this type of bird can live 20 years or more. Males are better at singing and whistling while females not so much. If you are looking for a parrot that talks and can learn a wide variety of words, then the cockatiel is NOT the right bird for you. While once in a while they might learn a word or two, whistling is much easier for them.
Caring for your bird is very important, choose a cage at least twice the size of your cockatiel's wingspan, a minimum of 18 x 22 x 18 inches. If you will be keeping more than one in the cage, increase the cage size accordingly. Cage should include at least 2 perches of different heights, thickness and texture. These variations help keep your bird's feet healthy. Don't put a perch directly above the bird's food or water bowl; droppings are likely to land there. Layer the floor of the cage with corncob, aspen or recycled-paper bedding, or a cage liner. Spot clean the bedding frequently and completely change it at least once a month.
A well balance diet also plays a very important role on your bird's health. The birds' food bowl should be three-quarters full of feed birdseed and refresh it daily. Be sure to remove empty seed hulls from the food dish. Offer your cockatiel fruit such as apple, banana or melon once a week. Offer your cockatiel a honey stick or millet spray once a month as a special treat. Your bird needs access to fresh, clean water at all times and it's important to clean the water bowl every day.
Make sure you have the time to interact with your cockatiel as they are very social and they love company and play time. Toys designed to be destroyed by small beaks are perfect for these birds and include pieces of paper, cardboard of soft wood or non-toxic rawhide to chew up. It's important to keep your bird busy but by all means, do not overcrowd the cage with all kind of toys, it could be harmful for your bird as they can get injured form not being able to extent their wings.
The average cost of a cockatiel is about $65-100, but the start-up costs for its cage, food and equipment can easily reach $300. Also remember that the cockatiel will need food and toys, and at least one veterinary exam per year. You can expect ongoing costs for your cockatiel to be at least $100 per year.
In the wild, cockatiels live for 10 to 14 years, but those in captivity can easily live for 20 years or longer. Guinness World Records lists Pretty Boy as the oldest confirmed cockatiel, who died in 2004 at the age of 29 years. With proper nutrition and exercise, your bird will be around for a long time.
Cockatiels are gentle, affectionate pets. They fit in small homes and are usually welcome in apartments. A cockatiel would need a cage that is spacious enough to accommodate multiple perches, toys, food bowls and have plenty of room to flap its wings without hitting them against anything.
Cockatiels have great personalities and are easy to tame. They are good whistlers and mimics and are generally good for handling. They make a good choice for beginners.
Cockatiels are very intelligent and easy to handle, but you will need patience and time if you want to train your bird right. Hand raised cockatiels are the best for training because they are already accustomed to humans.
Cockatiels are very sociable companion birds and they need to interact with you or another bird to thrive. A cockatiel will get lonely if ignored and left alone. They will become depressed, stop singing, playing, eating and will spend most of their life being lonely, hiding in a corner of the cage.
The Cockatiel was first discovered in Australia in 1770. It did not become popular until the Australian gold rush in the nineteen hundreds.
The fumes emitted from cookware coated with Teflon can kill your Cockatiel.
Cockatiel seeds, how do you know if they are good and nutritious? Sprout them! If less than 70% of the seeds sprout, they have died and also its nutritional value. Place some cockatiel seeds on a container covered with a paper towel. Soak the seeds with water. Make sure you keep the seed moist for the next few days by just spraying them, they should sprout in about 4 to 5 days. You can wash them and can give them to your tiel, they are very good and nutritious.
Do you know what a Galatiel is? Is when a cockatiel and an Australian bird named Gallah have chicks together.
In the wild, you'll see immense flocks of cockatiels circling the sky in search of large bodies of water where they can rest, breed, and escape from the Australian heat.
Cockatiels are very sociable birds and will get depressed if they are left alone for long periods of time. They may hit their heads against cages, pull their feathers, refuse to eat, or become angry. It's best to get a pair of cockatiels if you know you'll be out of your house for long periods of time.
Male cockatiels are better are talking and whistling than female cockatiels. In the wild the male cockatiel use sounds to attract females.
Cockatiels can be considered as the most widely kept parrot other than parakeet or budgie.
Hand fed cockatiels are more likely to talk than the parent fed ones.
If having a talking bird is your prime goal you might consider a larger parrot before getting a cockatiel. It's easier for a cockatiel to whistle than to talk.
Drafty areas in your house can be very bad for your cockatiel, it can even kill yout bird by making your it very sick. Don't place the cage where there might be a direct or indirect draft like air conditioning vents. If you want to find out if there is a draft you are not aware of, place a candle in the area you are thinking of placing the cage. It if flickers, there's a draft there, so find another area for your cage.
The cockatiel was first classified in 1793 as Psittacus hollandicus, then moved to its own genus Nymphicus, 1832. Nymphicus is a reference to mythical nymphs and hollandicus refers to New Holland, which was the name first applied to Australia in 1644 by the Dutch, who named it after Holland.
Lutino mutation cockatiels can develop a bald spot on the back of their head. Some aviculturists consider this to be a genetic fault, although it doesn't appear to affect their health.
It's best to have your cockatiel check annually by an avian vet. Make sure you allocate one before getting a cockatiel. Would you get a car if you did not know who could fix it for you? Not all vets are created equal. Birds are very different in anatomy and physiology to dogs and cats, so avian vets must seek out coursework and residencies that are beyond the scope of a standard veterinary school. For an Avian vet in your area you can Google your location or do a search from the Association of Avian Veterinarians.
As always the information offered here is to provide guidance and is not intended to be a substitute for the good advice provided by your own avian vet. When in doubt always consult your own veterinarian.