Cockatiel Profile

COCKATIEL 
Nymphicus hollandicus

» From most of Australia in arid or semi-arid areas near some water.
» May be closely related to the 
Calyptorhyncus cockatoos
» Sexually dimorphic with the males being more colorful than the hens.
» Populations are 
stable. Occurs in small flocks and family groups although large flocks whith hundreds of birds can be seen near bodies of water.
» Considered an agricultural pest in Australia.
» Because they have been bred in captivity for so long, there are many mutations. I believe that a well-bred and socialized normal grey is still the healthiest and best companions. 

These mini cockatoos are too often 'production-raised" which includes no early socialization and the birds being weaned to a seed or pellet only diet. If you want to buy a cockatiel, try and find one from a breeder who cares about the physical and emotional health of the babies. 
» Cockatiels are a slender bird about 12 to 13" in length 


Next to the budgerigar, the cockatiels is the most popular companion bird. I mention the cockatiel here because this ubiquitous bird is the smallest member of the cockatoo family and is certainly common as a human companion. These friendly little birds can be so personable that many people would not even consider a larger parrot. When taught words by using them in context, cockatiels can become excellent talkers. They are also talented whistlers.


A sudden decrease in attention can really upset these gregarious little birds and they often respond with repetitive noises that can be irritating. I have found that paying more attention to them again will usually stop their negative behavior almost immediately. 


Unfortunately many cockatiels have been production-raised and seriously over-bred and early socialization can make a big difference. These production birds usually sold at the chain pet shops are weaned to a seed only diet which will considerably shorten the cockatiels' lives. Cockatiels that have been weaned to a narrow diet can be difficult but not impossible to switch over to a healthy fresh food diet with whole grains. There is a helpful article on switching birds to a better diet on this website.


I lived with a wonderful cockatiel for several years. His name was Rosie and he was a clever little companion. He loved to whistle and “sing” the William Tell Overture. My favorite story about him involves a time he put two of his favorite expressions together. A friend of mine was watching Rosie while I was out of town. Her neighbor came in and told Rosie what a pretty bird he was. He replied, “I love you, you’re pretty. Do you want to go to bed?” I had him back when we didn’t know about nonstick cookware being toxic to birds. Sadly, I am quite sure that is how he met his demise.


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