Quick Tips Before Buying A New Cockatiel

As the smallest members of the Cockatoo family, cockatiels are considered the ideal pet for first-time bird owners. They are gentle and docile, do well around children, and make great companions for retirees.

Cockatiels originate from the land down under, and can be found in almost any lightly forested or grassy areas throughout most of the continent of Australia. They look like a smaller version of the cockatoo, sharing the characteristic crest and broad head, and they range in size from 10″-14″, unlike the larger members of the Cacatuidae family.

Many are drawn to cockatiels as pets because of their beauty, manageable size, and their flexible and adaptable nature. They tend to adjust well to a working family’s busy schedule and absences and are available in many color variations, including gray, lutino, pearl, pied, cinnamon, fallow, and charcoal.

They must be handled from a young age to prevent aggression, but are very affectionate once tamed. Males are generally more vocal and can be quite protective of their mates, and they can be taught to whistle songs and talk around 8-10 months. Females, though quieter and less vocal, tend to be more affectionate.

Though the cockatiel is a smaller bird, it still requires plenty of space and adequate exercise. Our motto for cage size is always “the bigger the better.” Plan 1/2″-3/4″ bar spacing and enough interior space to comfortably accommodate toys and perches. Cockatiels enjoy climbing, so horizontal cage bars and ladders are ideal for encouraging this behavior.

If you’re considering a cockatiel, they have a lifespan of about 10-17 years, and the average cost of a cockatiel is between $80-$100 for grey’s and about $150-$175 for a mixed color cockatiel.

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  2. Martha Grieashamer   April 16th, 2012

    When I had to move from my house to an apartment, until I could find out where I was going and if they allowed pets, I gave my cockatiel Lightning to a friend with the understanding I could have him right back if my landlord agreed. When the landlord said “yes” I politely asked for my baby back. I was refused because the keeper pro temp said he had bonded with him. In the meantime, the keeper died uexpectedly and my cousin took Lightning home with him. Again, I asked for my pet and was refused.

    I was in the apartment less than four months when my cousin and a friend showed up with a cockatiel in a new cage with a supply of food and a mouthful of advice on how to “care” for it. I resented the advice because I had had cockatiels before this and knew how to care for them – but I kept quiet until I took a better look and could see that ths wasn’t Lightning. Not only did he not talk, nor say the words I had taught him (his all-time favorite was “cat” for everything from a baby on television to a domestic animal), and the markings were different – his tail was white, his wings had a white blaze longer and wider that Lightning’s had ever been. When I objected, my cousin insisted that this was my bird and that was the only one
    ever. When he was leaving, my cousin turned and asked me, “What’s his name? We called him ‘bird’ or ‘Ricky’ (the name of the deceased caregiver) because we didn’t know what it was.”

    For three weeks, I continued to try to try to believe this bird was mine – but I didn’t believe it and changed his name to “Bear”.

    It’s eight months later, and Bear seems to have adjusted. He’s not as vocal as Lightning, but there’s certain programs on television he adores (Cheers, Andy Griffith, and Harlem Globetrotters theme music, plus anything that has whistling ) and he carries on happily with any of these. He talks to the point of where he goes to the mirror in his cage and makes kissing noises at the bird in it, then comes to the center of his uppermost perch and informs anyone who’s listening, “PRETTY bird” with the emphasis on “pretty”. He’s a sweetheart, and he knows it, too. It doesn’t bring Lightning back, but Bear is a fair substitute.

  3. Sarah   November 4th, 2009

    Nice post!

  4. Dr. Cockatiel   October 7th, 2009

    Thanks for visiting and I hope you were able to find helpful information here.

  5. pattie   October 1st, 2009

    i agree with you on this, cheers!