Cockatiel 101: A Guide to Your First Tiel and The Best Toys to Buy!

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The cockatiel bird has easily become one of the most loved pets around the world! Loyal, playful, and affectionate, cockatiels are the type of bird that can suit anyone who’d love a break from dogs and cats. So, if you’re new to cockatiel pet ownership then you’re just in luck! In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the cute cockatiel.

Chirpy, Cute, and Playful: What is a Cockatiel Bird?

Also known as the “Tiel bird”, the cockatiel is truly a pretty little package. At first glance, you’re probably going to notice that cockatiels have a very distinctive look. These lovely little birds tend to have an upward crest similar to the cockatoo.

Now, although, the crest of the Tiel is quite a common feature, another eye-catching trait is the orange markings on their cheeks!

Apart from their appearance, cocktails are often 11 to 14 inches in length and can weigh anywhere from 80 to 90 grams. These little birds often have a curved hookbill and zygodactyl feet.

Cockatiels are Native to Australia!

Have you ever wondered where your pretty little cockatiel came from? Cockatiels are a bird native to Australia, in the wild they are found predominately in wetlands and scrublands! In other words, they really love being around warm, humid conditions, where there’s a lot of water!

Cockatiels are also quite social little birds, in the wild wetlands of Australia, cockatiels are often seen with a group of buddies! This means that they prefer the company of either a single cockatiel or a bunch!

But, are they Just Smaller Versions of Cockatoos?

There’s a big misconception that cockatiels are simply a smaller version of cockatoos! With that being said, many people may often get a cockatiel in the hopes that it will be a lot similar to a cockatoo. However, this is not true!

Firstly, the cockatoos is the taxonomic name actually given to a bunch of birds who are sorta slightly genetically related. The scientific name for the family Cockatoo is Cacatuidae, and under the family cockatoo, you will see various other bird species—21 to be exact! Some of the bird species that fall under the cockatoo family include the:

  • Cockatiels
  • Galah Cockatoo
  • Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
  • Long-Billed Corella, and
  • Black-Palm Cockatoo

They’re Pretty Little Fellas! Cockatiel Colors

Lutino cockatiel bird looking at owner

One of the coolest things about owning pet cockatiels is that they can come in an array of colors and patterns. These parrot species often have various mutations in their genes that allow them to come in colors and patterns like:

  • Greys
  • Lutino
  • Pied
  • Pearls
  • Lutino Pearl
  • Pearl Pied
  • Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon Pied
  • Cinnamon Pearl Pied
  • Pearly Lacewings
  • White-faced

Lutino Cockatiel

Lutino cockatiels will have bright yellow plumage and vibrant orange cheeks. Depending on their parent breeding pair, a lutino cockatiel can come in a pearl or pied combination. It’s important to note that a true lutino cockatiel will have red eyes and may likely develop inherited alopecia behind their crest.

Pied Cockatiel

The term pied is often used to describe a pattern seen in cockatiels as opposed to a color. Pied cockatiels are often quite hard to distinguish from lutinos. These birds tend to have distinctive grey or dark yellow “blobs” as markings. And, unlike lutinos, a pied cockatiel will not have red eyes.

Pearl Cockatiel

Similar to pied, the term pearl denotes to a type of pattern seen in cockatiels. This mutation often results in these parrots developing a lace of pattern (white or yellow) around the back, tail, and wing feathers.

Cinnamon Cockatiel

The cinnamon mutation seen in cockatiels is actually pretty to understand. To put simply, these tiels tend to inherit a slightly brown, cinnamon color. For example, a cinnamon cockatiel will have slightly faded brownish/orange cheeks as opposed to bright orange!

5 Facts You Need to Know About these Types of Pet Birds

  1. Although they aren’t as talkative as other large parrots. Cockatiels are members of the parrot family!
  2. These birds are considered parakeets because of their long tail feathers!
  3. Cockatiels are prone to night frights! Which means, that sometimes at night, they may get a slight scare and will fly hectically around the room
  4. Cockatiels can get along with other birds like a budgie!
  5. Unlike most parrots, the cockatiel is considered a quiter pet!

So, do Baby Cockatiels Make Good Pets?

Pearl cockatiel singing to owner

Yes, they do! Cockatiels are fairly low maintenance birds that can be super interactive. Most cockatiels who have had tons of interaction with humans tend to love the company of people.

The Personality of the Sassy Tiel!

Cockatiels are affectionate birds! If cared for properly, both male and female tiels will bond closely to their humans. These birds are not only friendly, but they can be quite adaptable to a new environment.

Are Tiels Easy to Care for?

No animal is easy to care for! If you choose to get a cockatiel then know that you will need to provide adequate time, patience, love, and training to make sure they are kept happy. Cockatiels who are free-flight ( free to roam and fly around the home) may be a lot messier to clean up after.

Cockatiel Lifespan: How Long do Cockatiels Live?

Before you decide that a cockatiel is a bird for you then hold on! These animals can live really long lives. Unlike dogs, cats, and bunnies. A wild cockatiel may live anywhere from 10 to 14 years, but of course, that’s taking into account various factors like predators, starvation, and disease. However, a pet cockatiel in captivity can live much longer… over 20 years to be exact!

Fun fact! According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the oldest cockatiel bird is currently 32 years old!

Health Problems Common to the Tiel

Now, just because your little tiel lives at home, does not mean they’re free from health problems! Yes, just like dogs and cats, cockatiels can suffer from a range of health problems. Some of the more common medical issues seen in tiels include:

  • Night Frights
  • Obesity
  • Liver and Kidney disease
  • Nutritional disease
  • Psittsvodid
  • Respiratory disease

Habitat Talk! Enriching your Tiels Habitat will Make them Happy!

Cockatiel sounds, cockatiel singing to each other

Your cockatiel bird will be most happy in an enriched environment. These little birds require a lot of mental stimulation in order to prevent behavior problems. One of the biggest problem pet cockatiels face is boredom and loneliness. Combine the two, and you can get a bird who may be depressed, nippy, or simply aggressive.  Pet owners who are interested in getting a cockatiel need to provide:

  • Plenty of toys that allow their bird to chew and destroy things!
  • Various perches, both soft rope perches and wooden
  • You should try and provide toys designed to encourage their foraging behavior
  • Consider getting more than one cockatiel to stimulate them to play

Ropes and Perches

  1.  Jusney Bird Rope Perches: These colorful and flexible rope will not only excite your bird! but they’ll ensure your cockatiels feet don’t get sore.
  2. A Colorful Wood Bird Perch Platform: One thing cockatiels love to do is chew on everything! this wooden bird perch is a platform that allows your tiel to chew on the wood block and release all that pent-up energy.

Colors! Colors! Colors! and Toys of course!

If there’s one thing cockatiels love then it’s colorful and exciting toys. Not only will these toys provide tons of excitement, but it will also allow your bird to do what’s natural to them,

  1. Super Bird Creations Seagrass Foraging Wall: Cockatiels are foragers! they love to pick and chew on things in the wild. The Seagrass foraging wall is not only colorful, but it also provides an array of textures and levels for your bird to forage on. If you’ve got a cockatiel then this is a MUST!
  2. Super Bird Creations Pickin’ Pocket Bird Toy: Super Bird Creations did it again! They’ve made an awesome new toy with seagrass. The Pickin’ Pocket toy allows cockatiels to shred and destroy to their heart’s content. Another MUST BUY if you’ve got a bird who loves to destroy your wires!

What’s the Best Cockatiel Cage for my new Feathered Friend?

cockatiel bird alert

Before getting a new cage for your tiel, you have to consider two factors. How many cockatiels do you have and the length of the cockatiel? While these birds are considered small to medium in size. It is highly recommended that owners always go for a large cage which allows the cockatiel to fly.

As a rough guide, cages can be 20 inches deep, 20 inches wide, and 24 inches in height.

What’s the Best Food for Your Feathered Friend!

If you’re new to the whole cockatiel care then you’ve probably wondered about what to feed your feathered friend! For most new owners of small birds, it’s only natural to reach for that packet of seed. But, stay away from this! Remember seed diets can cause a lot of long-term health problems!

So, what in the heck would be considered a well-balanced diet for these little-feathered pets? Well, it’s simple! a well-balanced diet for these small birds should include:

  1. Pellets: because they are nutritionally balanced!
  2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: because in the wild, cockatiels are constantly foraging for fresh foods!
  3. The occasional seeds and spray millet: because who doesn’t love a treat!
  4. Sprouts!

Feeding Your Tiel some Top of the Line Pellets!

  1. Harrisons Adult Lifetime Super Fine! An organic, veterinary approve line. Harrisons bird food is ideal for any cockatiel who not breeding or molting. Harrisons is free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and it even has a non-GMO Verified Seal.
  2. Roudybush Crumbles and California Blend! Both these delicious pellets are great for fussy birds. Roudybush Crumbles is specifically designed for cockatiels. However, the California Blend is enriched in dried fruits and vegetables.

Baby Cockatiels are Soo Cute! But Should you get a Male or a Female Cockatiel?

Both male and female cockatiels can make great pets. But, there’s still a big difference, especially when it comes to personality.

Male cockatiels are a lot more vocal! with training, these little fellas can learn to talk and mimic words said by their owners. Some male cockatiels can also pick up tunes quite well. Check out the cockatiels on youtube singing to the classic  Queen song, Another One Bites the Dust!

Female cockatiels, on the other hand, aren’t considered much talkers! rather, you’ll hear females simply communicate through their cockatiel tweets!

White cockatiel mix birds preening each other

So, Ready to find a Cockatiel for Sale?

If you’re ready to get a cockatiel then you should start by looking at a bird breeder or rescue. Often, breeders will offer you three types of cockatiels:

  • A hand-reared
  • Parent fed, but human interaction
  • Aviary

A hand-reared cockatiel is one that has been taken from its mother and has been hand raised by a human. These cockatiels tend to associate themselves as a “human”. As such, hand-reared cockatiels are really friendly birds! However, be warned, that they can imprint on people.

A parent fed, but human interaction is simply a cockatiel that knows its a bird but still loves to be with humans. It is always recommended to get birds like these as it will prevent behavioral problems in the future.

Finally, an aviary bird is one that has been raised by its parents and has had little to no contact with humans. An aviary bird will not be friendly, and will not adapt to living in a cage.

Cockatiel Price Tag!

Depending on what type of cockatiel you choose, the average price of one will vary! Often hand-reared and parent fed, human interacted birds can cost upwards to over $120. Cockatiels with rare colors and coat patterns can cost even more!

A Little Yellow Angel! These Little Birds will Keep You Entertained!

Watch out dogs and cats! You’ve got competition…

Cockatiels are easily considered one of the more affectionate birds out there, so it’s no wonder why people are falling in love with them. But, before you decide to get yourself a tiel, make sure you do all the research you can, as these guys are a 20-year commitment.

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