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Cockatiel                                                                            Return

Common Name:  Cockatiel
Scientific Name:  Nymphicus hollandicus 
Group:  Australian
Origin or Range:  Australia
Relative Size:  Smaller Than Average (as compared to other parrots)
Average Lifespan:  16 year(s)
Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive (as compared to other parrots)
Category:  Birds » Parrots

Animal Description:

            The Cockatiel is one of the best known and most loved of all the parrot family. They are cheerful, friendly, and easy to train; making them one of the most popular pet birds throughout the world.

            The Cockatiel is perhaps best loved for its wonderful disposition, intelligence and bright personality. They are much smaller (12.5 inches [32cm] at maturity) than a lot of the other parrots, making them much easier to care for. Another wonderful thing about Cockatiels is they are relatively quiet compared to their larger cousins: Macaws, Amazons and African Grey Parrots. They are also much more resistant to viral diseases than their larger relatives. In addition, some cockatiels have even learned to speak a couple words! While speaking is not the norm for cockatiels many have been known to whistle long, complex songs. One of the most notable physical attributes of the Cockatiel is his beautiful crest. The ideal height of the crest is three inches. Cockatiels are available for purchase readily and can be seen in many different color variations. Some of the most common variations are:

            The 'Normal' Cockatiel: This color variation is typical of Cockatiels in the wild. The primary color of plumage is gray. Gray is seen on the tail and chest with a paler gray color on the abdomen, the middle tail feathers, lower back and upper tail coverts are also a pale shade of gray. Occasionally there is some brown tinting as well. Yellow coloring is commonly seen on the lores, crest, throat and cheeks, with orangey-red markings on the ear coverlets. White is commonly seen on the wings, appearing on the foreword secondaries, and the greater wing coverlets. Their bill is gray in addition to gray feet. The iris is typically dark brown. The female has notable gray markings in the face and crest, with a duller orange coverlet. For show, the gray color of normals should be uniform throughout.

            The White Face Pearl and White Face Pied Cockatiels: These are the same as the Normal Cockatiel, but they lack color. The males will display a pure white mask.

            The Silver Cockatiel: The Silver Cockatiel is aptly named, as its plumage appears a dull metallic silver color. There are two types of silvers, the Recessive Silver which has red eyes, which is very unusual for a cockatiel, and the Dominant Silver which has black eyes.

            The Pied Cockatiel: The pied Cockatiel is perhaps the best known. Show standards dictate 75% yellow to 25% dark gray color variation in the plumage. Many different variations of this ratio can be seen in pet quality Cockatiels.

            The Fallows Cockatiel: The Fallows Cockatiel is quite lovely. It is seen in light cinnamon with yellow tinting all over his plumage. Unlike many other color variations its eyes are red.

            The Albino Cockatiel: These Cockatiels are missing all color. They are a pure white bird with red eyes.

            The Cinnamon Cockatiel: As the name would imply, this Cockatiel has lovely cinnamon plumage throughout.

            The Lutino Cockatiel: The Lutino Cockatiel can only be described as beautiful. The Lutino exhibits a striking deep buttercup yellow plumage. The color is consistent throughout; sometimes some wing feathers are seen in a lighter shade of yellow than the rest of the feathers.

            The Pearl Cockatiel: These Cockatiels have well defined heavy pearl markings. The markings are typically seen in buttercup yellow, with females having more pronounced markings than the males.

            In addition to these color variations, the cockatiel has also been seen in several different types of cross mutations. Some newer, rare mutations include Olives, Yellowfaces, and Pastels.

            The Cockatiel originates in Australia and is seen widely throughout the continent, except in some humid coastal areas. In their native land they are commonly called "Quarrion". The wild Cockatiel has a love of areas near water and is also commonly seen in a wide variety of open terrain areas. This bird is not only common domestically, but is quite common in the wild as well. Return

Specific Care Information:

            The Cockatiel requires much less specific care than many of its larger cousins. With a good balanced diet and regular veterinary care your cockatiel should do very well. As is true with most parrots, a Cockatiel's lifespan is directly affected by the quality of its diet. A seed only diet is insufficient. A good diet is a combination of pellets; there are several good commercial brands, as well as fresh dark leafy greens, fresh orange, green and yellow veggies, and a small amount of a high-quality seed mix. The average lifespan is between 10 and 16 years, but when fed a healthy, varied diet and given a safe, nontoxic environment, a Cockatiel can live 20 to 25 years - some will even live into their 30s!

            It is important to keep your Cockatiel's wings clipped. A loud noise or sudden movement can spook even a tame Cockatiel, causing it to frantically fly into windows or walls at speeds sufficient to break its wings or neck. Cockatiels do very well in large cages, with many toys to keep them from becoming bored. These birds require social interaction in order to maintain their emotional well being; place the cage in the area of the house where family members spend most of their time, such as a family room or den.

            If you have bird allergies, you may not want to get a Cockatiel. Like the African Grey Parrot and Cockatoos, Cockatiels produce a fine powder down. This powder dust may cause those with allergies to suffer.

Breeding and Propagation:            

The Cockatiel in the wild typically breeds between August and December. The hen typically lays between two and five eggs, which take an average 21 to 28 days to incubate. Incubation time can vary a lot. The young take 33 days to fledge but will often be fed for another three weeks.

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