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Learn more about the Cockatiels

by Felipe Leon
Learn more about the Cockatiels

The cockatiel is one of the most popular pet birds.  Cockatiels are known for being cuddly as well as curious and sometimes feisty.  They are also known for being very audible with chirps and whistles.  Male cockatiels are known for their various whistles which are mostly sung to their favorite person or even their reflection in the mirror.

Cockatiels are members of the Cockatoo family.  They are native to Australia and were first classified in 1793.  They are related to cockatoos.  Pet cockatiels come in all kind of different colors including yellow and pearl as well as with whiteface and some are even albino.  Cockatiels are easy to breed in captivity which makes them available at a lower cost as pets.

Since in the wild they native to a large area of Australia, as a pet they need a cage large enough to house a number of perches, toys, food bowls and room to be able to open up their wings unobstructed.  Toys that include paper, cardboard or non-toxic rawhide are perfect for cockatiels.  They also like toys with hard-plastic elements.

The cockatiel is known as foragers so it would be wise for in their cage to sprinkle seed for your bird to find.  The cockatiel’s diet includes bird pellets, fresh vegetables and seed.  A well-fed well-cared cockatiel can live for more than 20 years.

You can learn a lot from your bird’s personality and behavior from their feathers.  Straight-up crest feathers can mean your bird is afraid or curious.  If they are flattened it might mean the bird is defensive and if it hisses, the cockatiel might be stressed.  A relaxed cockatiel will have its crest feathers held back as well as its cheek feathers fluffed out.  It might also be grinding its beak. 

Female cockatiels seek out dark, enclosed areas to nest in like a corner of a cabinet or behind furniture.  Male cockatiels often look for mirrors to whistle to.  Cockatiels can be taught to whistle back to you but generally aren’t known for many tricks.  Cockatiels are more inclined to whistle than to talk.  Males are known to whistle more than females.  Some males are even known to learn some words and phrases.  They chirp more than screech so it makes them great pets for small living spaces such as apartments.      

The cockatiel is very sociable and like to spend their time on the shoulder of their favorite person.  They love opportunities to be with you even if it means only a pet on their face, talked to or just being in the same room.   

Pet cockatiels can be acquired at large pet stores, bird-specific pet stores, direct from bird breeders or a rescue organization.  If you acquire a young bird, make sure it is fully feathered and fully weaned.  Signs of a healthy bird include alertness, clean feathers, bright eyes and nares that are clean and free of discharge. 

by Felipe Leon

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