Popular Pet Birds – Cockatiel

Popular Pet Birds – Cockatiel

Choosing a Pet Bird: A little bit about Cockatiels

Birds can make wonderful pets, but there are many different types of birds, so how do you choose the one that is right for your family? Like any pet, birds will require lots of love and care to help keep them healthy and well, so in this blog we are taking a look at Cockatiels, and what you can expect if you were to have a one as a pet.

Cockatiels makes a great pet. The males can very easily learn to whistle tunes and can even be taught to talk. They are capable of mimicking speech although they can be difficult to understand.

Types of Cockatiel

There are many different types of cockatiel, but some of the most popular breeds of cockatiel are:

Normal Grey Cockatiel

Normal female grey cockatiels have a fully grey body, with a grey face that has dull cheeks that are usually orange. Males have a fully grey body with bright yellow faces and orange cheeks.

Pearl Cockatiel

Pearl Cockatiels are a grey brownish colour, with markings on their body that look like pearls. Male pearl cockatiels lose their pearl markings after their first moult. Males usually have bright yellow face with orange patches while females, unlike the males keep their pearl markings, but have a greyish brown face.

Lutino Cockatiel

These Cockatiels are not grey at all, but pure white or yellow with orange patches on their cheeks.

How Long Do Cockatiels Live?

The average lifespan for a Cockatiel is 12-15 years.

Company for Cockatiels

It is advised to get a pair of cockatiels so they can keep each other company. They also need human interaction, therefore it is advised you try to pet them daily. Cockatiels are sociable birds and should be kept in the same breed and sex (e.g. pearl breed, female and female). If you put a male and female together they may breed, so be aware of this.

Where Cockatiels Like to Live

A wire cage with a climbing bar is perfect for Cockatiels. The size of the cage depends on the amount of cockatiels, if you are planning on getting one cockatiel the cage should be a minimum of (60cm x 40cm x 60cm), the minimum size cage for two cockatiels is (100cm x 70cm x 130cm).

The base of the cage should be rectangular, with sand sheets or wood chippings used as bedding.

A large perch should be provided to prevent the cockatiels claws from getting to long.

Exercise & Play

No matter how big a Cockatiel’s cage is, exercise is really important for them. They should be let out of their cage for at least one hour a day. Your house should be bird proof to prevent the cockatiel from flying away (i.e. close windows and doors in the house).

In addition, toys should be provided in its cage to occupy the cockatiel; for example, wooden ladders and swings.

Diet & Nutrition

A good Cockatiel mix is the main part of the diet; fresh fruit and vegetables can be used but must be put in a separate dish. The Cockatiel mix should consist of canary seed, white millet, naked oats, hempseed and flaked maize.

A cuttlebone is a good source of calcium and good activity for the Cockatiels, this helps maintain and prevent their beak from becoming overgrown.

Millet sprays, honey bells and seed bars can be used as a treats for rewarding your cockatiel. Fresh food and water should be provided on a daily basis.

Cockatiel Health & Hygiene

Your Cockatiel’s cage should be cleaned on a weekly basis using a bird safe disinfectant, along with any perches or decorations in the cage. Water and food bowls should be cleaned out on a daily basis.

Clipping Flight Feathers & Nails

Clipping a Cockatiels flight feathers is not necessary; but when done correctly can help prevent injury or escape. A Cockatiel’s nails should be cut, to prevent them getting too long.

Speaking with your vet about this is recommended.


Like most birds, it is difficult to sex a Cockatiel when they are young. When they are mating the males will whistle and the females will screech.

Take Me Home Checklist

When taking your Cockatiel home, you will need to make sure you have some things in order to help keep them healthy and happy. We’ve put together a simple ‘Take Me Home’ checklist for new Cockatiel keepers.

If you have any questions, or need any further advice, please drop in to your local Petmania and talk to our Petcare Advisors.

  • Wire cage (60cm x 40cm x 60cm for one Cockatiel, 100cm x 70cm x 130cm for two Cockatiels)
  • Food – Cockatiel mix not parrot mix
  • Bedding – sand sheets or wood shavings
  • Water & food dishes
  • Toys, like ladders, perches, & swings
  • Cuttlebone & holder
  • Bird safe disinfectant
  • Treats like millet spray & holder, honey bells & seed bars

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