Scientific name: Nymphicus hollandicus
Life span: 15-20 years (Recorded up to 30 years in captivity)
Country of origin: Australia
Pet owner knowledge required: Beginner/Intermediate/Advance
Breeder knowledge required: Beginner/Intermediate/Advance
Description: The cockatiel is a small parrot of the Cacatuidae (cockatoo) family. They are about 32 cm in length (including tail). Adult cockatiels usually weigh between 80 and 100 grams, however some mutations, particularly lutinos, are often lighter. Cockatiels are dimorphic (males differ to females in appearance), however some mutations (such as lutinos and cinnamons) are monomorphic and require DNA or surgical sexing. The colour of the 'normal' mutation is grey with an orange cheek patch and a white blaze on the wings. Hen cockatiels (and juveniles) have yellow and grey barring on the underneath of the tail feathers. Both the cock and the hen have yellow facial feathers, however the hen has only a yellow flush around the beak and eyes, whereas the cock has a brilliant yellow covering most of the head and the forefeathers of the crest.
Cockatiels as aviary birds: Cockatiels make great aviary birds for the beginner aviculturalist, they do not require a huge amount of space and are easy to provide with the correct nutrition. The various mutations also make them a desired species for the more experienced breeders. They are not very loud birds compared to many parrots. They can be very prolific breeders, laying around 3-7 eggs, and nest boxes may need to be removed from the aviary to prevent stress on parents that wish to breed all year round.
Cockatiel Mutations: Various mutations (or colours) of cockatiels are available these days and it is quite hard to come by pure grey birds that are not split to (do not show) a mutation. The colours vary from the more common cinnamons, fallows, lutinos,whitefaces, pieds and pearls to the rarer olives, platinums, silvers, pastelfaces, yellow cheeks and spangles. There are many beautiful birds that display combinations of these mutations, such as the whiteface lutino (often called an albino cockatiel) and the platino (combination of the lutino and platinum genes). Many breeders take a lot of joy in selecting particular parents with genes of interest to produce chicks of a desired colour/mutation.
Pastelface Grey Cockatiel Platinum Pearl Cockatiel (hen) Reverse Cinnamon Pied Cockatiel Whitefaced Clear Pied Cockatiel
Cockatiels as pets: Cockatiels are the best pet for the novice all the way through to the more advanced parrot owner. Handreared and well-socialised cockatiels can form very strong relationships with their owners. They are mostly quiet birds, but can make calls that can be reasonably loud, particularly if their favourite person/s is/are out of veiw. They make popular pets because of their calm and friendly nature. However, because of this they can be quite submissive to other species, including small parrots like budgies and lovebirds. It is highly recommended that if you want to have more than 1 bird with a cockatiel, pick a bird of the same species or get a separate cage for another species and always watch their interactions to avoid unwanted injuries. Males are often prefered for their talking/whistling ability, however females tend to be more loyal pets and many love being patted or getting head rubs more than their male counterparts. We always say pick the bird for its personality not for talking ability. Wouldn't you rather a pet that makes a great companion and likes to spend time with you rather than a bird in the cage that talks but doesn't want to spend time with you? Also it is important to note that not all males are fantastic talkers...our Peewee is the perfect example of that!
Contact us to see if a cockatiel is the right pet for you!