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Cockatiel Information

Cockatiels originated in Australia and are a small sized bird about 14 inches long including the tail. The average lifespan of a healthy cockatiel is 15 - 18 years, but they have been known to live longer. Cockaiels are now available in a variety of mutations and colors. Pied, Cinnamon, white-faced and Lutino are a few of the mutations available.

Cockatiels have a crest on the top of their head similar to that of the larger cockatoo. This crest can tell a caregiver a lot about how a bird is feeling at any particular moment. If a cockatiels crest is straight back on its head he may be feeling aggressive or angry. If the crest is straight forward he may be startled or scared. If the crest is somewhat relaxed but still raised he is alert and careful of its surroundings. A relaxed crest is a content bird.

They are very social birds that require interaction and attention from their caregivers. Most love to be scratched around the head and some will gladly bow down to make this available. My cockatiel would fly to me from his cage, land on my shoulder, and rest his head there. This was my queue to scratch the back of his head. When he had enough he would stand upright again.

Cockatiels have been known to thrash in their cage in the darkness. These episodes are known as "night frights" or "the flight response", and can cause injury to a bird. It is recommended that a night light should be used so the birds surroundings are visible. Should you hear your bird thrashing in the middle of the night, turn on a light and slowly walk towards the cage and calmly talk to your bird to settle him down.

Male cockatiels can become excellent talkers if the time is taken to train them. They can learn a variety of words and small phrases. Their vocal ability is amazingly clear and they can be easily understood. Repetitiveness and patience is the key to having a talking cockatiel. Females usually mimic sounds and whistles and they usually do not produce words, but this does not mean they can't. I have known females to talk, just not as clear or as plentiful as the males.

If a cockatiel is not receiving the attention it requires, it may let out a "screaming" sound. This can be very disturbing and overwhelming to some as it can be quite loud if you are in close proximity, but the regular sounds of a cockatiel are beautiful to listen to.

Cockatiels need to have a nutritious diet to keep them healthy. Fresh vegetables and fruit should be given to your bird daily and pellets kept in the cage at all times. Seed should be kept to a minimal amount, but not omitted completely. When feeding your birds fresh foods, do not leave in the cage long enough for it to spoil. I like to give my birds fresh foods outside the cage, that way there is no chance of forgetting to remove it. It is very important to change the water at least once a day, more often if your bird likes to drop things or bath in his water.

Cockatiels require a decent sized cage with enough room to move and exercise. The biggest cage your room can accommodate is always the best for any bird, but I would suggest nothing smaller than two feet square for keeping a single cockatiel because of the wing span. For the birds safety, the bar spacing should preferably be about 1/2 inch apart, and no more than 3/4 of an inch. I prefer to use natural branches of various sizes in all my cages, they are great exercise for their feet and legs, are readily available, and can be easily replaced when needed. Always be careful of the type of wood used for your pets cage, as some trees and plants are poisonous to birds. It is recommended all wood be thoroughly washed with hot, soapy water and baked in the oven at a high heat to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Toys are an important part of your birds happiness. All cages should have a variety of toys for your bird to play with as they stimulate the natural behaviour in birds. While in the cage you will need to make sure there are no small parts of toys that can be ingested, and no part of a toy that can trap the head, beak or the feet. I always suggest having extra toys, and changing them once in a while so they don't get bored. All toys need to be free of zinc and lead as these are poisonous to birds. Leather is the best for toys, but 100% cotton is fine as long as the loose ends are no more that 1/2 long, as they can trap the toes if longer.

Cockatiels are wonderful birds to have as pets. If given love and attention they can become a wonderful addition to your family.