You can edit almost every page by Creating an account. Otherwise, see the FAQ.

Cockatiel (aviculture)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

15-year-old hand-reared and socialized wild type (normal grey) female cockatiel

Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are an Australian parrot that are generally regarded as gentle and friendly pets or companion parrots. The cockatiel is the second most popular pet parrot species. Cockatiels can be gregarious or shy; however, the manner in which the animal is handled has a profound effect on temperament, becoming tame very quickly if handled well.

Human Interaction[edit]

Cockatiels and their owners often develop shared rituals such as petting, scratching and preening. A cockatiel will often lower its head or nibble at the owner's fingers to indicate that it wishes to have its head and neck scratched (two places it cannot easily scratch on its own), and will emit a low squeak to show its pleasure. Cockatiels which are hand-fed from a young age often enjoy physical contact. Once bonded with their owners, they will often cuddle and play, pushing their head against hands or faces, tossing small items about for the owner to retrieve as a form of "reverse fetch", or whistling a favourite tune. Like all parrots, cockatiels of either sex can grow to see their owner or a toy as a mate, engage in courtship and mating behaviour including territoriality.

Cockatiels are not perfect pets because they startle easily, and may bite if frightened by sudden movements.[1] Some birds will emit a distinctive "hiss" when irritated, retreating or defending with pecking bites. This hissing may be coupled with the bird tapping its beak on a hard surface to generate additional attention while lowering its head and spreading its wings in a display of aggression.

Petting the back, stomach or underwing area of the female cockatiel may inadvertently sexually stimulate her, promoting egg-laying; owners seeking to avoid egg-laying should avoid this particular form of bonding.[2] Laying can be prevented by keeping the cockatiel in more darkness per day by covering it earlier in the evening and leaving the cage covered longer in the morning and by rearranging/replacing cage fixtures and toys or moving the cockatiel's cage in order to make the cage appear less suitable as a nest site.[2]

Material Destruction[edit]

Cockatiels, like almost all other parrots, love to chew and may chew objects (like cardboard, books, magazines, wicker baskets, etc.) when left unattended.

Bird Interactions[edit]

A cockatiel and a budgerigar fighting in captivity.

Cockatiels can be bullied by more dominant smaller birds such as budgerigars (budgies) and most particularly parrotlets (Forpus), not uncommonly creating lifelong disabilities and potentially life-threatening injuries. Friendly budgerigars may over-preen the cockatiel's plumage, causing bald spots.[3]


Alcohol, avocado, chocolate, caffeine, products containing lactose, garlic and onions present a danger of toxicosis and should not be used as food.[4] Amaranth leaves, beet leaves, carambola (starfruit) leaves, chards, parsley, spinach and turnip leaves all feature high oxalic acid content which induces production of calcium oxalates (crystals/stones) by binding calcium and other trace minerals present in foods and goods with which they are ingested – possibly leading to calcium deficiencies and/or hypocalcemia in minor cases, liver and other internal organ damage or failure in more severe cases. Uncooked potatoes, uncooked onions, all mushrooms, citrus seeds and drupe pits must be not be fed either.

Although cockatiels in their natural-habitats of Australia eat mainly grass seeds, a diet of only dry seeds is inadequate for cockatiels.[5] Avian veterinarians recommend pet birds' diets be supplemented with foods such as:

  • Whole cereals and whole grains: amaranth, barley, couscous, flax, whole-grain pastas, oats, quinoa (fruit but used as a cereal), whole wheat, wild rice, whole rices.
  • Edible blossoms and flowers: carnations, chamomile, chives, dandelion, day lilies, eucalyptus, fruit tree blossoms, herbs' blossoms, hibiscus, honeysuckle, impatiens, lilac, nasturtiums, pansies, passion flower (Passiflora), roses, sunflowers, tulips, violets. Note that the leaves of some of these plants are poisonous to cockatiels.
  • Greens and weeds: mainly bok-choi, broccoli or cauliflower leaves, cabbage leaves, collard greens, dandelion leaves, kelp, mustard leaves, seaweeds, spirulina, water cress.
  • Fruit: all apple varieties, bananas, all berries varieties, all citrus varieties, grapes, kiwifruit, mango, melons, nectarine, papaya, peach, all pear varieties, plum, starfruit. Pits and seeds from every citrus and drupe species must always be discarded as they are toxic. However, achenes and tiny seeds from pseudo and true berries (bananas, blueberries, elderberries, eggplants, persimmons, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes) are all okay.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, hazelnut, walnut, pine nut, pistachio, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seed, pumpkin seed. millet which is relatively low in fat
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, tofu.
  • Grains, legumes and seeds sprouts: adzuki beans, alfalfa beans, buckwheat, lentils, mung beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds. Caution with lima and navy beans' sprouts which are toxic.
  • Vegetables: beet, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, all cabbage varieties, fresh beans, fresh romaine lettuce, fresh peas, parsnip, all pepper varieties, all squash varieties, sweet potatoes, tomato, turnip, yams, zucchini.
  • Pellets specifically formulated for cockatiels, for Platycercinae (Australian grass parakeets) and small parrots are all healthy additions.
  • Other fat-free, healthy and nutritious human foods.

Cockatiels learn mainly by mimicry and thus most adult cockatiels will be easily encouraged to try new foods by observing another bird eating the food (or human pretend), or by placing the new food on a mirror.


Mating in an aviary
Cockatiel egg
Cockatiel chick

Cockatiels are a popular choice for amateur parrot breeders along with budgerigars, and all cockatiels available in the pet trade are captive-bred.. Compared to other parrot species they are relatively easy to breed and the costs for equipment are also quite low. A clutch can consist of four to seven eggs, each approximately the size of one's thumbnail. A cockatiel is getting ready to lay eggs when she makes her mating call, short chirps repeated rapidly. The bird will also get low to the ground, slightly spread her wings, and bounce as she chirps. Eggs are laid once every two days and incubated for 18–22 days. Once the cockatiel has laid her eggs she will believe the egg holds a bird, therefore she will sit on it and protect it for about a week. Even the most even-tempered hen will attack to protect her egg. In the case of unfertilized eggs, after about a week the cockatiel will realize the egg is empty and stop sitting on it. Cockatiels are the only members of the parrot family that do not feed their partner, therefore both male and female cockatiels incubate the eggs and raise their young together. Hatchlings fledge when between 4 and 5 weeks old and wean between 8 and 10 weeks old. Babies may often be gently handled while in the nest or removed for hand-feeding at 2 or 3 weeks old to help them become more tame and trusting. Puberty (adolescence) is reached around 9 months of age while adulthood is reached around 21 months in males and 15–18 months in females. Colour variations are natural and occur in both captivity and the wild, although most colour morphs are due to selective breeding. The cockatiel has been shown to be capable of hybridising with the galah, producing an offspring described as a "galatiel".[6]


  1. McCaffrey, Eleanor (2002). "Life with a Cockatiel". Cockatiel Cottage. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 McCaffrey, Eleanor (2002). "Cockatiel Egg Laying, Egg Laying Process and Chronic Egg Laying". Cockatiel Cottage. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  3. McCaffrey, Eleanor (2002). "Frequently Asked Cockatiel Questions". Cockatiel Cottage. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  4. Margaret A. Wissman, D.V.M., D.A.B.V.P. (2006). "Medical Conditions and Diseases of the Budgerigar and Cockatiel". ExoticPetVet.Net. Archived from the original on 2018-08-18. Retrieved 26 April 2006.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. McCaffrey, Eleanor (2002). "Cockatiels, Diet and Research on Cockatiel Nutrition, A Healthy Cockatiel Diet, Avian Nutrition and Research". Cockatiel Cottage. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  6. Marshall, Lloyd (2006). "World first, galah breeds with cockatiel". Talking Birds. Retrieved 2009-07-30.

External links[edit]

This article "Cockatiel (aviculture)" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Cockatiel (aviculture). Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.