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All About Cockatiels

Updated on June 13, 2016

Did you know that cockatiels are the second most popular bird pet after the parakeet? Cockatiels are cute, intelligent and social birds. They're known for their bright orange cheeks and long feathers. Above their head is a "crest," which is a unique indicator of the species. Their lifespan is 15-20 years....longer if they're happy!


Diet and feeding of Cockatiels

Be sure that your cockatiel is fed a well balanced diet. The best diet for your cockatiel consists of:

  • Pellets that are made for cockatiels. This should make up 60-70% of their diet.
  • Clean, fresh water. Water should be changed every day. Sometimes water should be changed several times a day during hotter months.

Do NOT feed cockatiels these food items:

  • Avocado
  • Fruit Seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

Also avoid sugar containing foods and high fat foods.

Always remember that fresh water should be available to your cockatiel. This should be checked throughout the day.

If feeding your cockatiel fruits and vegetables, any that is not eaten in a few hours should be discarded to prevent it from getting old.

Baby Cockatiel being fed


Cockatiel Poll

Do you own a cockatiel?

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Normal behavior of a Cockatiel

  • They're known to mimic repetitive sounds and noises
  • They bond easily with their human companions and pet parents
  • Cockatiels tend to make a grinding or gritting noise with their beaks. This indicates that they're comfortable with you (content), and can also mean that they're getting ready to fall asleep.

Cockatiel housing and habitat

  • Cockatiels do very well in household settings. Be sure, though, that the temperature of the home does not exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cages or habitats should be placed off of the floor in an area with proper ventilation and that is well lit.
  • An ideal home for your cockatiel should be approximately 18" in width, 18" in depth, and 24" high. The metal bars should be spaced no greater than 1/2" apart. These are only guidelines. The larger the habitat, the better.
  • Perches in the cage should be at least 5" in length or greater. Those perches should be a variety of different sizes so that the cockatiel's feet can exercise properly. This helps prevent arthritis.
  • Be sure there is a metal grating over their droppings. This keeps them away from eating and pecking at it.
  • Do not place food or water under perches.
  • Other cockatiels PAIRS can be kept together. You may choose just one so that you can bond with your pet. However, never combine other different types of birds with your cockatiel.
  • You should socialize DAILY with your pet cockatiel.

Cockatiel cage & habitat maintenance

  • It is important to clean and disinfect their habitat (this includes the perches and the cage) regularly (at least twice a week). You may clean more often if needed.
  • Replaces perches, dishes, and toys when they are worn or broken.
  • Ensure that there are no parts or toys that contain lead and zinc. This can cause serious medical issues if your cockatiel ingests them.
  • Use natural cleaning products. Excess fumes and chemicals are not safe for your bird.

Cockatiel Grooming & Hygiene

  • Your cockatiel may bathe in chlorine-free, lukewarm water. Just remember to remove the water when he/she is finished. As an alternative to this, you may mist the bird with water.
  • It is not necessary to clip flight feathers, but if it is done correctly, can help prevent injury and escape when the cockatiel gets out of its cage.
  • Nails should also be trimmed to prevent injury to the bird.

Signs of a Healthy Cockatiel

Healthy Animal Signs
Cautionary behavior
Active, alert, & socializes
Swelling of the beak
Eats & drinks throughout the day
Fluffed, puckered feathers
Bright, dry eyes
Always sitting on the floor of habitat
Beak, legs and feet are normal in appearance
Wheezing or coughing sounds
Clean, dry nose
Runny nose
Smooth, well groomed feathers
Tending to favor one foot
Eye or nasal discharge
Red, swollen eyes
Loss of appetite

Health Issues of Cockatiels

Health Issue
Symptom or Cause
Loss of appetite, fluffed feathers, nasal discharge
Seek a veterinarian immediately
Red, tearing, closed and puffy eyes
Consult a veterinarian and wipe eyes with warm water
Fecal portions not formed adequately; more liquid than solid
Consult a veterinarian and check diet of the cockatiel

Cockatiel Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size

© 2013 jaydawg808


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    • Amanda6868 profile image

      Amanda M 

      4 years ago from Unknown

      I once had a cockatiel. They are such beautiful birds and are so sweet and loving.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      My female cockateel has suddenly stopped talking. Is this normal? She used to talk all the time but now will not say anything, she is healthy, but just won't say her name, woulf whistle or anything.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I have a beautiful girl, named Selena. She does TALK. Not a lot, but SHE does. She lays eggs frequently, especially in the fall. Not as much in a well lit room. She's 11years old. My only concern is that she no longer has hair on her back, when she spreads her wings. Its been this way since she first started laying eggs on Thanksgiving 2008. I called my little boys (Tiny Toy Poodle) vet. He said its normal. I truly hope he was telling me the truth.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am worried about my bird I have moved to another place. And since we moved my bird has not talk to me now for a week and a half . Can anyone tell me why and will he talk again after he gets used to the new place thanks

    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      6 years ago

      I had a pet cockatiel years ago. We adopted her from a family giving her away. She was such a sweet bird. She often liked to sit on my hand and let me scratch her head. She didn't talk. She lived a long happy life with us.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I have pet birds, but I've never owned a cockatiel. Thanks for all the information. Cockatiels look like lovely birds.


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