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.