If you prefer a small bird that is just as loveable and affectionate as a larger parrot, yet requires less space, then a cockatiel might be an excellent choice. Cockatiels are prized throughout the world because of their lovable nature. They are easy to breed, gentle, and love to be handled and stroked. Cockatiels make a soft chirping sound and are less noisy than other parrots. Cockatiels are easy to tame, inexpensive and simple to maintain, and thus make an excellent choice for a beginner.

Biological Facts

  • Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)
  • Weight: 80-120 gm
  • Sexual maturity: 6-12 months
  • Avg. life span: 6 years
  • Maximum recorded life span: 32 years
  • Origins: Australia


  • Relatively quiet bird. Better known for whistling ability than for talking.
  • Cockatiels that are parent-raised, but also exposed to regular human handling through weaning, grow to be tamer and better adjusted than those that are entirely handfed or parent-raised.
  • Tamed birds readily adapt to new surroundings and activities – expose early to daily activities in your household as well as to other pets
  • Are intelligent, curious, and easily amused with simple toys. They love to explore their surroundings
  • Cockatiels are very social and require regular interaction with people in order to satisfy their sociable nature.
  • Cockatiels may bond with humans, cage mates, toys, or other cage furnishings. Courtship, mating behavior and egg-laying commonly result.
  • Foraging stations, puzzle-feeders, and “busy” toys provide necessary environmental enrichment and reduce the chance of feather picking, aggression, or other problems
  • Birds with unrestricted access in the home will encounter numerous dangers: drowning, toxin ingestion, electrocution, injuries, etc. Cockatiels should be confined to their cage or housed in a “bird friendly” safe room when not under direct supervision.


  • Seeds are high in fat and low in many essential nutrients. When offered a seed mixture, cockatiels usually chose the seeds with the highest fat content, and selectively pick those from the mix.
  • “Vitamin enriched” seeds have a coating on the hulls, which is usually discarded by the bird.
  • Formulated diets, on the other hand, are complete. Each pellet contains balanced nutrition, preventing a bird from feeding selectively.
  • Cockatiels should be fed a diet consisting of 70-80% formulated pellets
  • Dark green vegetables or fruits can be 10-30% of diet
  • Treats (including seeds) should be limited to only 5% of the diet
  • Clean, fresh water should be provided daily


  • Enclosures should be as large as possible, with the bird able to fully extend it’s wings and flap without touching the sides of the enclosure
  • Cage should be clean, secure, safe and constructed of durable, non-toxic materials, with perches of various sizes
  • Avoid placing perches directly over food or water to prevent contamination
  • Access to natural light is preferred, drafty areas should be avoided.
  • Some birds will require a night light in order to prevent episodes of “night fright” - frantic flapping and vocalization that can occur without provocation
  • Birds outside of cages need constant supervision to avoid access to other pets, small children, and hazards in the home.

Preventive Care

  • Physical examination every 6-12 months
    • Consult a veterinarian with experience in avian medicine if you have any questions or concerns about your bird’s health.
  • Annual fecal examination for parasites, yeast, and bacteria
  • Vaccination for Polyomavirus, as directed by your veterinarian
  • Blood work annually, as directed by your veterinarian
  • Wing or nail trimming as needed

Common Medical Disorders

  • Obstetrical problems (excessive egg-laying, egg-binding, egg-related peritonitis, yolk emboli)
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Internal parasites
  • Bacterial and yeast infections
  • Obesity
  • Feather picking
  • Broken blood feathers