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Cockatiel Bird: Traits, Facts & Care Guide (Updated: )

The cockatiel appears charming, little, and shy, yet it is a powerful parrot that enjoys receiving attention and satisfying its curiosity.

These birds are intelligent, interactive, and somewhat trainable. They may or may not communicate with you or whistle.

Continue reading "Cockatiel Bird: Traits, Facts & Care Guide (Updated: %year%)" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) to learn everything there is to know about the cockatiel's personality and care requirements.

Species Overview

  • Common Names: Cockatiel, quarrion, weiro
  • Name scientifique: Nymphicus hollandicus
  • Adult Size: 12-13 inches in length, 75-125 grams in weight
  • Expected Life Span: 16-25 years

Origin and History

Cockatiels are indigenous to Australia, where they are typically known as weiros or quarrions. They were found as the smallest subfamily species of cockatoo in the 1700s. These little to medium-sized parrots inhabit the Australian Outback in the wild, yet they are kept as pets all over the world.

Cockatiels are regarded as simple to breed, hence there is an abundance of them on the pet market. These birds were given their genus name by the first Europeans who observed them in their native habitat. The Europeans gave the birds the genus name Nymphicus hallandicus after mythological nymphs owing to their beauty and enigmatic behavior, thus the name.


The cockatiel is both inquisitive and docile, independent and loving. They have no problem occupying themselves for hours at a time by chatting to themselves in the mirror and playing with toys.

But, they also like being held and petted by their human family members on a regular basis. They like to perch on a shoulder or finger instead of being caressed, making them too picky for small children to regularly handle.

Without adequate socialization, these birds can become aggressive and bite anyone they see as approaching too closely or posing a threat. Cockatiels are intelligent and eager to please their owners, making them simple to educate from a young age. They may be trained to wave, whistle, and even ring a bell.

These little parrots flourish while conquering obstacles, thus they require new hobbies and toys on a regular basis.


  • They are intelligent, making them enjoyable to teach and play with.
  • They are little and require little space to live comfortably.
  • They form strong bonds with their human families.


  • They cannot be entirely house-trained like cats or dogs. They can be needy if left alone for too long.
  • They live up to 25 years, which necessitates a significant long-term commitment.

Speech & Vocalizations

While some cockatiels adapt to chatting and whistling as if it were second nature, others need time to adjust. Some, though, are unmovable when it comes to uttering a phrase or whistling a note. You will not know if your new cockatiel will speak or whistle until you get it home and begin training it.

Several experts believe that most cockatiels will learn to speak or whistle with time and effort, but not both. Others people feel that men are more likely than women to speak or whistle. If your pet cockatiel speaks to you, you will easily comprehend what they are saying. But, if they merely make noises and whistle, you may not understand what they are attempting to say. Below are the sound and vocalization patterns you must be familiar with:

  • The Scream Whistle â€” is when a cockatiel produces a sound that is a combination of a screech and a whistle. The majority of cockatiel owners do not find this call entertaining or pleasurable, yet it is a crucial form of communication utilized by the bird when it is aroused, lonely, or terrified. Getting to know your bird will enable you to determine why it is “scream-whistling” at any particular moment.
  • The Untypical Whistle — Cockatiels that enjoy whistling will learn to imitate a variety of sounds, from the catcall to television theme songs. Cockatiels that whistle are often attempting to communicate with their human family by imitating human noises. You may decipher what your cockatiel is attempting to say by paying great attention to their intonation and the context of their whistling.
  • The Hissing Sound — When certain cockatiels become frightened or feel threatened, they may emit a hissing sound that alerts anyone nearby that they are prepared to bite or nip. Humans and other animals should maintain a distance of one arm’s length until the hissing ceases.

Cockatiel Colors and Markings

There may be pigmentation mutations in ockatiels that result in color and pattern diversity. Pigment mutations may be transmitted across generations, therefore many breeders are able to predict the colors and markings that their birds would show as adults. These are the most common color and marking variations:

  • Grey: This is the most frequent cockatiel species that has not undergone pigmentation alterations. They have gray bodies, orange cheeks, and yellow hair on their heads.
  • Pearl: These birds have varied markings on their bodies that resemble tiny pearls.
  • Pied: They have white patches randomly distributed over their bodies.
  • Blue: These parrots are all white, yet their wings have black patterns and their tails are blue.
  • Lutino: These birds generate no melanin and are entirely white, with the possible exception of a little yellow hue on the wings.

Caring for the Cockatiel

The cockatiel likes spending time on outdoor and indoor perches, but they require a designated enclosed location to spend time in when they are alone or when there is a lot of noise in the house. Their enclosure must be spacious enough to enable various perches, a few hanging toys, food and water bowls, and much wing flapping.

A cage with a large entrance is excellent so that the bird may return to its natural environment when the time comes. These birds enjoy foraging, thus newspaper and hay should be placed at the bottom of their cage for this purpose. To make foraging enjoyable, crumbled millet or a sprinkling of seeds can be sprinkled over the ground cover.

Kids should be permitted to engage with other home members on a frequent basis. Cats can be given several resting locations throughout the home where they can lounge without damaging furnishings. A shoulder to periodically lean on is also required.

Cockatiels are simple to care for when it comes to grooming. Their nails should be clipped often to reduce scratching. Their cage environment should be cleaned numerous times every week to maintain the cleanliness of their feathers.

In addition, they should be equipped with a bathing dish for personal hygiene. If these birds become soiled, they may be washed gently under running water or with the aid of a moist sponge.

Common Health Problems

The cockatiel can acquire several common health issues at any age, such as dietary deficits. For instance, birds given a diet rich in seeds might develop vitamin A deficiency. In this instance, the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and commercial pellets should be increased. Some frequent issues include:

  • Fatty Liver Disease â€” Cockatiels can develop fatty liver disease if they are obese or if they are exposed to hazardous substances, such as cleaning solutions and pesticides. Fatty liver illness can cause issues such as sluggish beak growth, irregular feather coloration, and the appearance of black patches anywhere on the body.
  • Psittacosis — Produced by an accumulation of Chlamydia psittaci bacteria, the Psittacosis illness can exist asymptomatically. Cockatiels are extremely susceptible to psittacosis and may readily transmit the disease to other birds. If symptoms do manifest, they often manifest as watery eyes, ear and sinus infections, dehydration, and fatigue.
  • Respiratory Disorders — Cockatiels are susceptible to a variety of respiratory disorders. Owners may observe their birds coughing, sneezing, and wheezing prior to acquiring a serious condition like pneumonia. Due to the fact that inhaling tiny food particles while eating might cause respiratory difficulties, their food should never be ground.

Diet and Nutrition

Commercial meals containing seeds, grains, and actual fruits and vegetables should be provided to cockatiels. They should also get pellets composed largely of grains.

Their diet should be specially formulated for their kind. Wherever feasible, artificial additives should be avoided. At snack time, owners may supplement their cockatiels’ diet with fresh fruits such as cantaloupe, pineapple, and oranges as well as vegetables such as carrots and beets.


The quantity of daily activity required by these birds varies on the personality and temperament of each individual bird. Some cockatiels are satisfied to sit in their cage near a mirror so they may observe their own reflection. Others like traveling and do not appear to remain in one spot for extended periods.

In either case, cockatiels should be given with a variety of toys to play with while they are caged. Also, they should be routinely permitted to wander freely in an enclosed porch or room.

For outside activities, such as a stroll around the block or a trip to the local farmer’s market, a harness can be purchased.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Cockatiel

Cockatiels are so popular and simple to breed that they may be found in virtually all pet stores, both large and small. These parrots are also sold directly to consumers by their breeders.

In addition, these birds are occasionally discovered at animal shelters, where they frantically seek a new home.


The cockatiel is an interactive and entertaining pet. As long as they receive the attention, engagement, and affection they seek, they can adapt to a variety of circumstances.

They enjoy the company of other birds, be they parrots or songbirds, making them an ideal addition to families that already have other birds.

We believe the article “Cockatiel Bird: Traits, Facts & Care Guide” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has provided you with an overview of the cockatiel’s personality and care needs.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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