The Cockatiel

Here we want to deal with one of the most popular birds, which is also suitable for beginners in bird keeping due to its uncomplicated nature. We’re talking about the cockatiel! Find out everything about the cockatiel and its keeping.

May We Introduce: the Cockatiel

The cockatiel is a small parrot and is one of the most popular birds for keeping at home, which is mainly due to its friendly nature. This is also responsible for the fact that the cockatiel trusts its owner so quickly and is very people-oriented afterward. In addition, it can be socialized well with other bird species. That is why he is the ideal large aviary resident.

The pretty small parrot, like many other cockatoos, originally comes from Australia. It reaches a body length of around 30 cm and a weight of around 100 g. The elongated body ends in a slender tail about twice as long as the wings of the parakeet. The beak is rather small.

The characteristic feature of the cockatiel is the feather bonnet typical of cockatoos. The mood of the birds can be read from it. The closer the hood is to the head, the worse it is for the bird’s well-being.

The basic shape of the cockatiel, the wild type, has gray plumage, which is complemented by white wings and a yellow head. The bird has a red-orange dot around its ear. In general, the colors in the male are stronger. The female has additional black and yellow feathers on the tail. Especially in the last 50 years, targeted breeding has resulted in many varieties of color that are very popular today. The most common ones are pearled yellow, silver, and cinnamon-colored cockatiels.

Finally, two more characteristic features: Cockatiels are very good singers and live monogamously.

What to Consider Before Buying

In the following, we would like to briefly address a few points that you should carefully consider if you want to bring a cockatiel into your home.

First and foremost is the birds’ large space requirements. Since they are long-haul fliers in nature, they naturally have to live out this need somehow when they are kept at home. In addition to the daily free flight, the bird, therefore, needs generous accommodation. If you can’t put it in a bird room or in a free-flight aviary, it has to be at least a large indoor aviary. If the bird does not get enough exercise, it will visibly wither. In the process, the muscle tissue breaks down and, due to the lower level of activity, it gains weight. In addition, many parakeets also develop behavioral disorders such as plucking feathers or constant screaming.

Due to the fact that cockatiels live in swarms in the wild, they should not be kept individually. Serious behavior disorders can also result here. Therefore, keep at least one couple of different sexes together.

The cockatiel is very alert and lively. In addition, very intelligent; he wants to be employed in a varied way. If you invest a lot of time and empathy, you can teach him melodies and even single words by imitating repetitive notes at some point.

Another important point is the cockatiel’s longevity. If kept in a species-appropriate manner, it can live up to 30 years. If you’re not sure that you want to allow that length of time for a pet, then don’t get a cockatiel.

Finally, it remains to be said that it is good for the bird when it is exposed to as little stress as possible. Therefore, strict spatial separation of dogs, cats & Co. and a regular daily routine with fixed rituals are mandatory.

The Creation of the Aviary

Now we want to give some advice on how to keep the cockatiel in a species-appropriate manner. If, as I said, accommodation with free flight cannot be implemented, the parakeet needs a spacious aviary that must not only be high but also wide: Since it is not a high flyer, upright aviaries do not bring it much in terms of free flight. The aviary must be in a sheltered and dry place, as drafts and excessive solar radiation can negatively affect the bird’s health.

For litter: Classic bird sand is suitable, but also hemp litter, beech, or corn granulate. In specialist shops there is also special bird soil that is untreated and low in germs: This is suitable for rooting and can also be used as a seed for your own green fodder cultivation (e.g. cat grass). On the other hand, sandpaper (risk of injury!) Or commercially available potting soil from the hardware store (often fertilized) is unsuitable.

Next, we come to the facility, which mainly consists of branches of different thicknesses. Those of deciduous and fruit trees such as hazelnut, maple, or willow are particularly suitable. Of course, all branches must be untreated and have a diameter of at least 2 cm. These are often used for sitting and sleeping, but seat plates are also welcome. Ropes, suspension bridges, and bird swings, which swing freely and thus promote and challenge the dexterity and balance of the birds, can also be used as additional seating and at the same time occupation.

A bathing option is also one of the elementary furnishings, for example, a large, flat clay bowl is ideal as a bathtub. Of course, there are also furnishings such as bowls for water, fresh and grain feed: stainless steel bowls are recommended here.

The Cockatiel’s Diet

Finally, we want to briefly deal with how you can feed your parakeet in a balanced way. The main component of the forage should be a versatile grain mix that includes various seeds, kernels, and grasses. Whether you mix these together yourself or use commercially available food is of course up to you; you should just pay attention to high quality. Another important point of criticism is that the food does not contain too many pumpkin and sunflower seeds, as these can quickly lead to obesity due to their high-fat content. Better to feed them as a treat in between.

You should also supplement the main food with fresh food, for example with fresh twigs and vegetables such as peppers, carrots, lettuce, carrots, or apples. Sprouted or cooked feeds are also suitable for supplying valuable nutrients. If you want to pamper your bird in between, you can offer it millet or millet.

Since the birds have a high energy requirement due to the high level of movement, their food should be permanently available to them. Incidentally, this energy requirement is even higher during the moult and in and just before the breeding season.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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