Petwise Aquatics

Everything You Need to Know About Cockatiels

These birds might be small, but they have big personalities! Your pet cockatiel will be a lively addition to your home. They're entertaining and friendly, and their small size makes them perfect for smaller homes and apartments, too.

Cockatiels aren't your only option when adding a bird to your home. Other common pet birds include Macaws, crested parrots, budgies, lovebirds, and parakeets - but the cockatiels are a favorite pet, and for good reason. Here is everything you need to know about these little birds, from cockatiel lifespan to vocalizations and more.


Originating in Australia, the cockatiel is the smallest breed within the cockatoo family and the second most popular breed to keep as a pet. Wild cockatiels have since been domesticated and they're popular pet birds today, thanks to their friendly nature and tendency to be quieter than some of their parrot counterparts. Their small size is also ideal - as caged birds they require minimal space. The cockatiel lifespan is another benefit, since this little pet may be around for many years.

Cockatiel Characteristics

These little birds grow to an adult size of just 12 inches, half of which is accounted for by their long tail feathers, and weigh between 75 and 125 grams.

The most distinctive feature of the cockatiel is the feathered crest on their heads. By looking at this crest, you can get a fairly good idea of the mood that the bird is in:

  • Vertical: startled or excited
  • Neutral: comfortable and relaxed
  • Flat: angry or defensive
  • Flat, but protruding outwards at the back: flirting with a potential mate.

The Cockatiel Personality

One of the reasons they have grown in popularity as pets is due to their friendly personalities. Cockatiels love spending time with their owners and are happy to engage in play with them or independently.

Cockatiels are also highly trainable. They do not have the capacity for speech that some other bird breeds have, but they can still learn to mimic words and phrases. Male cockatiels tend to be more talkative than females, however. In addition to speech, cockatiels can be trained to whistle tunes as well as be happily handled or pet.

How Long Do Cockatiels Live? 

According to the Cockatiel Foundation, Cockatiels have an average life span of between 10 to 15 years if they're given good care. While 15 years is the average life expectancy, these birds can and do live much longer. Some birds have lived for more than 30 years. The oldest cockatiel with a confirmed age lived a long life of 36 years.

Overall, cockatiels make great pets for first-time bird owners or children who are looking for a feathered friend to spend time with. They are also quieter than many bird breeds, making them perfect apartment pets. With quality cockatiel care, these birds can live for years as delightful household pets.

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