The Pet Cockatiel

Cockatiels are loyal friends and playful companions


Cockatiel Color Variety

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


Cockatiel Color Variety

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.

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”

Cockatiels 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!”

Cockatiels 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

Cockatiels are often seen as nippy birds. You definitely need to know how to train your Cockatiel if you want him to be hand tamed and enjoy spending time with you. Yes, Cockatiels can be very cuddly if trained correctly! However, if you don’t know how to train a Cockatiel, 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. Whether your parrot 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 Dave and Jamieleigh Womach. You can see many of their videos for free to get an idea of how much they know about parrots and how they can help you train yours.

Below is one of Dave’s videos about teaching your parrot to step-up without biting. This technique is perfect for Cockatiels as well and is a great example of how effective these 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 Cockatiel hand tamed. We highly recommend checking out the BirdTricks Training Course for taming your parrot even further.

For more information about Dave and Jamieleigh’s courses, you can visit the Bird Tricks website HERE.

Cockatiel Education

To learn more about your pet Cockatiel, we recommend these books:

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Cockatiel Gifts

Have a friend of family member who loves Cockatiels? Gift them something that will truly spark joy!

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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.

38 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    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
      All Pet Birds says:

      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
    Storm says:

    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
    Ellie Stringer says:

    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. Buttercup tanner
    Buttercup tanner says:

    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
      Anonymous says:

      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
      Emma says:

      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.

  5. imran
    imran says:

    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…

  6. Karen
    Karen says:

    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.

  7. Allie
    Allie says:

    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?!

  8. Lily
    Lily says:

    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.

  9. Vivi (Georgia)
    Vivi (Georgia) says:

    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
      Melayna says:

      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
      Cynthia says:

      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.

  10. Isabela Abreu (Brazil)
    Isabela Abreu (Brazil) says:

    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!

    • Emma
      Emma says:

      Hi! So I reallyyy want a pet bird, and I’ve been doing research and quizzes and this is the best bird for my family, but my parents don’t want a pet. I don’t know how to convince them that have a firm no….They said I can Have e one when I move put. I’m only twelve all it would be a long time from now.

      • Misya
        Misya says:

        Hi Emma, this is a very lengthy comment, but this is what I honestly think.
        First of all, I completely understand how you feel! I had wanted a pet for years and practically begged everyday. Now, I have two dogs and used to have a cat (she passed away in 2020). Second, I think you should try talking with your parents again. Explain; why do you want a pet? If it’s only because you want it and think it’s cute, you’ll only get a no from your parents and myself included. Having a pet of any kind is a BIG responsibility and I believe they should be consider as part of the family. Also, taking care of an animal entails doesn’t only entail providing affection, but feeding and sometimes medical care; which can cost A LOT. I would also converse with your parents that you can be trusted to take care of said animal. This might mean taking on a routine of daily chores to prove yourself. If you want something, you got to work for it. If they still don’t agree, respect that decision and unfortunately, you’re going to have to be patient and wait until you are older. I hope this helps, wishing you all the luck!

  11. Ariana (New York)
    Ariana (New York) says:

    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.

  12. Shawn Sherrill (Moulton, AL, USA)
    Shawn Sherrill (Moulton, AL, USA) says:

    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
      Anonymous says:

      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
      Gabby says:

      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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