The Pet Cockatiel

A loyal friend and playful companion

The Cockatiel is the second most popular pet bird in the world, and rightfully so!

Cockatiels are sweet, personable, easy to care for, intelligent, fun, and all around great family pets. They are great whistlers and the males can actually learn how to talk. They are easy to train and are quiet enough for apartment living. They can be very cuddly and are also independent and undemanding.

These birds come in a variety of colors and mutations, so there are a lot to choose from. Many become well bonded with their owners–I’ve known some that would follow you around like a puppy. What a loyal companion!

You really can’t go wrong with a wonderful bird like this. They are great for first-time bird owners and even families with small children. They can be a little nippy, but with some good training and a little TLC, you can have yourself a wonderful little feathery friend.

Some Color Varieties
Fast Facts
Name Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) or “tiels”
Origin Australia
Size 12″ (30 cm), 75-125 grams
Color Differences In the wild, they are gray with yellow heads and orange cheek patches. However, there are many color mutations that breeders have created including lutino, albino, pied, and cinnamon. Some mutations now available combine these mutations as well.
Owner Good for first-time bird owners.
Average Cost $50-150
Lifespan Approximately 35 years
Noise They are not very noisy, so they are a good choice if you live in an apartment.
Qualities Friendly, quiet, adaptable, easily trained, undemanding, playful, inquisitive, outgoing, delightful personalities, great family pets, may pick a favorite person, but are not one-person birds, intelligent, entertaining, most love head scratches, males are more vocal than females, can be nippy, cuddly, can learn tricks, good at whistling, clean, gentle.
Abilities Good – They are good at imitating sounds (especially whistles) and some have learned how to whistle entire songs. Males are more vocal than females and some males do learn to talk well.
Interaction/Time Requirements They do like a lot of attention and most love getting their head scratched. However, they are also very independent and do well on their own when necessary.
Diet They need a diet for small birds.
Supplies Needed They need supplies for small birds.
See How Cockatiels Compare to Other Types of Pet Birds!
Cockatiel Videos
“Sweet ‘Tiel Affection”

Video by dalsch‘Tiels are very affectionate and can be very cuddly. This video shows just how much they love to have their head scratched. 

“Happy Birthday To You!”

Video by MrSax1191‘Tiels are also great whistlers. One of the best, actually. I’ve seen videos of ‘Tiels whistling the Imperial March and the theme from Kill Bill. This video is a great demonstration of this particular talent. 
Cockatiel Training

‘Tiels are often seen as nippy birds. You definitely need to know how to train your ‘Tiel if you want him to be hand tamed and enjoy spending time with you. Yes, ‘Tiels can be very cuddly if trained correctly! However, if you don’t know how to train a ‘Tiel, you may have difficulty even getting your bird out of his cage.

For this reason, we highly recommend that you find an effective training program for your ‘Tiel. Whether your ‘Tiel is new to your home or you’ve had him for years, a training program will always come in handy. We personally recommend the Bird Tricks Parrot Training Course by Chet Womach. You can see many of his videos for free to get an idea of how much he knows about birds and how he can help you train yours.

Below is one of Chet’s videos that covers the first step to getting your ‘Tiel to step up instead of bite you. This video is a great example of how effective the training courses can be and how they are filled with a wealth of useful information for any bird owner. This video is only the first step in getting your ‘Tiel hand tamed. We highly recommend checking out Chet’s curriculum for taming your ‘Tiel even further.

For more information about Chet’s course, you can visit the Bird Tricks webpage here.
Cockatiel Education

Related Articles:

Have A Great Story About Your Cockatiel?

Share your experience with others! There’s no better way to learn about a pet bird than from an owner.

Some helpful information for potential owners can be: What is the species of your bird? Is he/she friendly? Loving? Cuddly? Talented? Messy? Loud? You get the idea!

Your comment may just help someone decide whether or not this pet bird is for them.



  1. Anonymous April 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I don’t believe your supposed to ‘cuddle’ any parrot, as they end up getting sexually frustrated and aggressive. That’s just what I’ve found in research, though I have also found in research that on the neck, mostly on the back of the head part, is ok because in the wild that is the only place where preening isn’t reserved for the mate. So, I strongly recommend you don’t give people the wrong idea. I’ve listened to a professional say many times over that parrots are not the pet for ‘cuddling’. Sorry, not trying to be rude, I just want to share this with ya’ll as it could be very important in your future as a bird owner…

    • All Pet Birds April 17, 2018 at 7:24 am - Reply

      It’s generally safe to cuddle parrots – even if you have a territorial one – when it’s not mating season. When Spring rolls around, if you find that your parrot is becoming more territorial, restricting petting to the head and neck can help territorial behavior. Restricting access to dark areas and shredding material can also help. But many parrots love to be cuddled and can even safely be cuddled year round. It’s really only when you see it affecting their behavior that you may need to dial it back for a season. I hope this helps! 🙂

  2. Storm April 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Was told by the place I bought my birds from that one of them was very bitey and didn’t like to be touched. It’s been three months now and they absolutely love me and ask for head scratches constantly!

  3. Ellie Stringer April 11, 2018 at 11:52 am - Reply

    i am looking for a cockatiel, and i have been looking for a while now… if anybody has any suggestions in the TX area, please notify me

  4. rıza February 28, 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply

  5. Buttercup tanner February 7, 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    i want a cockatiel but my mom wont let me have one. how can i convince my mom that a cockatiel would make a good pet?

    • Anonymous August 17, 2018 at 10:30 am - Reply

      first show your mum that you can be trusted with a bird second show her what a cockatiel requires third show her videos of cockateils then she can really decide if she likes it

    • Emma September 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      well, they’re generally quieter birds, they sing and tweet and don’t really scream. they also are a really good learning experience for a child. learning how to care for an animal like this is something that could be really good for a child.

  6. imran January 15, 2018 at 11:34 am - Reply

    hi i want to know the age of my cockatiel birds and how to train them. this is the first time i have purchased n i have no idea about it please help me. am from India…

  7. Nicholas December 8, 2017 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Are Cockatiels good with other pets?

    • Nicholas December 8, 2017 at 1:30 am - Reply

      If so are there other birds that are good with other pets? That are good for first timers?

      • Nicholas December 8, 2017 at 1:41 am - Reply

        Sorry so if a Cockatiel isn’t good with other pets than which bird is?

  8. Nicholas December 8, 2017 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Is a cockatiel a bird that can be kept with other pets?

    • Charles October 7, 2019 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      do you know if its best to get 1 or 2?

  9. Ghostly November 30, 2017 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Do cockatiels do ok when moving. As in if I end up moving to a different state would they be ok to come with me?

  10. Karen October 27, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I have two cockatiels one male one female and they’re mean they won’t let me go nowhere near them I’m thinking it’s because it’s is her mate I was told the female may be pregnant but I’m not sure.

  11. Allie August 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Im trying to get a Cockatiel but my dad is blaming me saying he will have to feed it.

    How can i get my dad to buy a cockatiel?!

  12. Alio June 23, 2017 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Is it necessary to buy them in pairs?

    • All Pet Birds June 26, 2017 at 8:54 am - Reply

      Hi Alio, No you do not have to buy Cockatiels in pairs.

  13. Lily April 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    I have a very sweet 8 month old tiel Ollie. I take her everywhere. She has never once voluntarily left my shoulder. She is potty trained and extremely loving. When I leave her sight for too long she calls me back. She likes learning new tricks and music. I highly recommend cockatiels to anyone considering a pet bird.

  14. Wendy brown October 8, 2016 at 2:19 am - Reply

    When an egg is laid who sits on it male or female

  15. Bhuboy Villanueva June 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Glad I found this site, I just purchased a pair of cockatiel today

  16. Vivi (Georgia) March 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    When I was little I was always begging my parents for a pet bird. Finally they caved in and brought me to the Norcross Exotic Bird Fair, my mom saw a booth with Cockatiels on top of the cage playing on a wooden playground. My mom wanted to have a hand tamed bird so we went over and we chose a pearl mutation baby Cockatiel. After we had brought him home my brother had suggested we name him Dexter, so now his name was Dexter. After a few weeks of handling, a lot of TLC, and a lot of love our family was giving him… He turned evil, nipping at us, screeching, he even attacked my baby cousin! I thought Cockatiels were suppose to be good for children. He might have been going through a temperamental phase but I wasn’t taking chances so I gave him over to my aunt who now is a Cockatiel breeder and lover. But only a year after I had handed him over to her, he had flew away. I’m sure not all Cockatiels are like this, but this is just my experience.

    • Melayna October 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      I am terribly sorry to hear about your experience, cockateils can be such an enrichment in life. I brought my first bird, a cocktail, home on rather an impulsive decision. Theodore and I were doing really well at first, he was such a gentle and sweet soul. And then, as you mentioned happened to you, he turned aggressive. When this happened, I took away his freedom. I only let him out if he was with me, and when he got aggressive I put him away. He quickly learned that if he wanted to be out he had to be nice and social. This training has lasted, and he is a very social and sweet boy.

    • Cynthia November 11, 2016 at 3:23 am - Reply

      You need patience. Your cockateil was going through “puberty” at that time, I hate when people like this don’t do enough research about birds and the bird ends up getting hurt.

  17. Isabela Abreu (Brazil) March 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    The fluffiest cockatiel in the world!
    This is not a picture from google it’s my own bird!
    Since I was 4, I wanted a pet. My parents wouldn’t let me have a dog or a cat because of the mess they would make and they wouldn’t let me have a fish because they would have to take care of it. When I was 10, I asked my parents if I could have a pet and they said I could have a bird. At the store, the bird I chose was the only bird in the whole store that wasn’t sleeping. She was biting another cockatiel’s tail! I think I chose the right bird because now I’m 20 and I still have her and LOVE her. She’s the BEST thing that has ever happened to me. You should choose a cockatiel if you like a fun, cute, smart, beautiful, lively, fluffy and playing around bird!

    • Brady September 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      I had the same life has you but I had a parrotlet

    • Sophia Gonzalez January 20, 2020 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      BRUH. I just looked up on google “The fluffiest cockatiel in the world!” and the second picture that came up was the one you said “wasn’t from google” Nice try.

      • Margaret January 21, 2020 at 2:12 pm - Reply

        Sophia – the image that comes up in Google is actually Isabela’s image from this page…

  18. Ariana (New York) January 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Cuddly, Indecisive Perry
    Perry On My Knee
    I have a little tiel named Perry and he is just wonderful. He’s so affectionate and loves to cuddle. He has never bitten anybody, but instead will just nibble on them and pretend to bite them. He’s clipped so he loves to climb and his very quick on his feet. He isn’t as much for toys as other parrots, and prefers to climb all over me and cuddle instead.

    Perhaps the funniest part about Perry is how he goes from angry to cuddly in a split second. One moment, we’ll be arguing and he’ll be threatening to bite (or at least a pretend bite) and I’ll be lunging at him with my finger, and just out of nowhere he lowers his head and asks for a head scratch. Talk about forgiving! Then when I scratch the wrong spot or accidentally touch a pin feather we go back to bickering, and then ten seconds later he’s ready for more snuggling. He loves to nuzzle his head under my nose and he loves getting and giving kisses. He always kisses me in the corner of my eyes.

    He doesn’t talk or whistle and he knows no tricks whatsoever. He’s my first bird so I was really hoping to get some songs out of him, but he made up for it in his cuddliness and the way he’s always around and makes me laugh.

    • Anonymous March 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      That’s exactly like my pet bird!

    • maiyonna13 May 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      That’s so sweet…i hope my cockatiel is like that im getting my first one.

    • Anonymous October 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      thats so cute I’m getting a cockateil I hope mine does that!!!!!!!

  19. Shawn Sherrill (Moulton, AL, USA) March 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Paris is a intelligent Cockatiel Bird
    I own a Cockatiel Bird named Paris. He has his own room called the HAPPY ROOM. This happy room is my sunroom I use as an exercise room. He will brighten my entire day when I feel sad. I will be exercising and he will do his own work-out I call cage crawling. He has a large inside cage filled with toys, perches, bells, foods, water, and music. I try to provide much activity to keep him active and eager to learn new methods of communication.

    He loves to adventure outside in his little outside cage. I hang his cage beside me in the gazebo. He will do his little foot phone act. He holds his foot up beside his head while he sings and talks. Paris is so cute when he is doing his imitation.

    Age five
    Cockatiel Bird

    • Anonymous May 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      ya! you are right.Cockatiel birds are very intelligent.It capable to mimic the sounds to compete for a mate.I love this bird.Nice blog.

    • Gabby November 9, 2014 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Wow that so cute he sounds very fun to have. But for his music u said do you only play 1 song so he will memorize it or 2.

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