The cockatiel is a beautiful, intelligent bird that enjoys the company of its owners and they are suitable for any bird owner, from the complete novice to the advanced bird keeper. Hereís what you need to know.
About the Cockatiel
The cockatiel is a small to medium size parrot that is native to Australia. They weight up to 120 grams and measure up to 33 centimetres in length from head to tail. Cockatiels are grey with a yellow head and crest and orange ear patches. You can distinguish the male from the females easily as males tend to be brighter in colour while females are duller. While grey is their native colour, cockatiels can be found in a range of colours and patterns including pied, lutino, albino, pearl, cinnamon, silver, whiteface, yellowface, and lacewing.
The cockatiel enjoys being around humans and can be patted. However, not all cockatiels make great pets so it is best to choose one that has been hand reared. The cockatiel is a very intelligent bird so responds well to training. They can be trained to whistle (they are not big talkers), to step up and down, and other things. Cockatiels do require regular attention and company from their owners and if they donít get these, behavioural problems can develop.
Caring for a Cockatiel
A cockatiel will live for around 15 years on average. They can be kept in aviaries or cages but they like to be in the household where they can see, and be part of what is going on. The cage should be large enough for them to comfortably spread their wings and get around and it should be located away from draughts as a cockatiel can easily catch a cold. The cockatiel should not be left in its cage all the time but be let out for regular exercise during the day.
As far as feeding the cockatiel goes, it is ideal to feed it with a small parrot or cockatiel seed mix and to supplement the diet with fresh fruits and vegetables such as corn on the cob, celery, carrots, beans, apples, and peas. A cockatiel will also enjoy native foods such as eucalyptus, bottlebrush, and wattle. Of course, the cockatiel should always have plenty of fresh water, and it is also ideal to have a cuttlefish in the cage for them to chew on. You may also want to supply calcium or iodine bells for your bird.