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Cockatiels Care 101

Basic Information:

Commonly known as: Cockatiels, Quarians and Weiros.
Scientific name:
Nymphicus hollandicus
Origin: Australia
Average lifespan: 10 – 14 years (Wild), Up to 20 years (In Captivity)
Size: 30 – 33 cm (Adult)

So, What is a Cockatiel?

Known for their bright-colored peachy cheeks, crown feathers, beautiful voice, friendly, and very gentle nature.
These beautiful parrots come in as the second most popular pet birds world-wide, right after “budgies“.

These little cockatoos, seem to attract so many people to their homes.
However, they can be very messy. They need daily care and attention. And it is essential that they get to spend time outside their cage everyday.

Common Characteristics:

CockatielsCockatiels are a great choice for a beginner pet bird owner. Even-though i totally disagree with the term “starter pet”, but they are a great choice for beginners, since they are generally easier to train.

Cockatiels are very social, friendly, gentle and playful birds, specially if they were hand tamed. They have so many colors variations, and they can bond really well with their owners.
Moreover, they love lovee loveeee to chew (as most parrots are). In the wild, parrots most of their day searching for food, so you need to give them lots of foraging toys to keep them mentally stimulated, and give them toys they can shew on, preferably wood toys.

These amazing birds can live up to 20 years. So, if  you’re thinking about getting one, you need to make sure that you are up to such long-term commitment, and that you’ll be able to provide them with their forever home, and give them the best quality of life they deserve.

Shower these bird with love and attention, and you will get will have a bond that lasts for the rest of their lives ?

As a general rule, males tend to be more curious, vocal and easier to tame and train than females, since females instinct is more defensive.

Color Variations:

They have so many colors, but we can categorize them into 11 main color mutations:

1. Grey Tiels,
2. Pearl Tiels,
3. Pied Tiels,
4. Cinnamon Tiels,
5. Lutino Tiels,
6. Fallow Tiels,
7. Dominant Yellow Cheeck Tiels,
8. White Face Tiels,
9. White Face Tiels,
10. Recessive Silver,
11. Pastel Face Tiels.
However, each of these variations have multiple color mutations.


These parrots have such beautiful voices. They can mimic their owners tunes, and come up with their own.
However, males are the true singers of this specie, while females are more on, since males use their voice as a mating call. And it’s really amazing how much different tones can these birds create.
Although some can learn to mimic a few words. However, they are not very good talkers.

How to choose a Cockatiel?P_Cockatiel

Choosing your Cockatiel is very crucial. And finding a reliable place to get your bird is very important. Nothing is sadder than bringing home a new bird, just to watch him die a few weeks later. And it gets even more complicated if you have other birds.

If you are a beginner – Make sure your get a Cockatiel that is already tamed, and preferably hand-fed.

Here’s your checklist:

1. When you go to get your bird, make sure you go in the early morning, or at the evening right before the sun set. These are the times that birds are mostly vocal and active, so it makes it easier to choose a healthy bird.

2. Look for a young, weaned bird.

3. Make sure the bird is tamed, and observe how the breeder handles the bird. Cockatiels are very smart little cockatoos. If the breeder handles the bird too roughly, and the bird gets too scared. There’s a big chance that bird gets scared for life and it may take too long to get him used to you. This is really important, specially if it’s your first time handling a bird and you’re not very experience with taming them.

4. Check their activity level
Birds are really good at hiding their sickness. So you need to look for those who are active. If a bird seems to be lazy, sitting at the button of the cage most the time, puffed up, has trouble balancing and has ruffled feathers, there’s a chance that the bird is sick.

5. Check to see if the bird’s feathers has any bold spots.

6. Check out their beaks, and feat. Make sure that they don’t have any deformities.

7. Check their eyes – his eyes should be bright and clear.

8. Check thee cage, food and water.
Unhealthy diet, and dirty cages,  increases the potentials of having a sick bird.

9. Finally, once you purchase your bird, take him to the vet to make sure he is in good health.

If you have other birds; don’t introduce the new member to the flock before getting him checked at the vet. If he is carrying any illness, you don’t want the rest of your birds to catch it.

How to care for your Cockatiels?

1. Interaction:

Cockatiels need lots of time and attention from their owner since they’re very social… So you need to make sure you have enough time to spend with them daily.

You must spend at least an hour interacting with your birds every day, and not just being near them.
Your Cockatiel considers you a part of his flock, and sometimes his mate. And In the wild, flock members do everything together. For this reason, if you want to make your tiel a happy one, you should mimic the same behavior, by trying to engage them in everything you do.

Birds are really smart, and they will pick up on your daily routine very fast, and learn to adapt to it. But, If you don’t have enough time to spend with your Cockatiel everyday, then its better if you get your bird friend a companion.

2. Cage size and Bar spacing:

“The Bigger the Better”

The Standard rule for buying any bird’s cage is that: the cage has to be double the size of the bird with its wings spread.
You can never get a cage that is too big, but you can get one the is too small!


Birds hate these cages. You should never get this type of cage for any bird ever. They just don’t give them any sense of security. Hence, increase their stress levels enormously.

Minimum Cockatiels cage size as recommended by professionals is: 24″ (60.96 cm) long by 18″ (45.72 cm) wide by 24″ (60.96 cm) tall for 1 Bird.

However, as mentioned earlier, Cockatiels spend some time outside the cage everyday, to get the necessary exercise and stimulation, to keep them healthy and happy.

Bar Spacing:

Bar spacing is also very important. Because, if you get a cage with bar spacing that is too wide for your bird, there is the risk of the bird sticking his head out between the bars, which may injure the bird or even worse; he may actually choke.
For Cockatiels, Bar spacing should be about: 1/2″ to 5/8″ (1.27 – 1.5875 cm).

3. Perches:Cockatiel Perches

There are so many types of perches on the market that you can choose from. However, you need to make sure that; the perches are comfortable, and that you get them in different sizes and textures.
If all the perches are of the same sizes and textures, it can cause sores and deformities in your bird’s legs.

Next, Make sure you place the perches in a way, to give your bird enough space to jump and possibly fly between them.

4. Toys:

Cockatiels ToysCockatiels LOVE toys that they can CHEW

If you decide to get a Cockatiel or any other parrot really, expect to get lots and lots of destructible toys for your birds. Because they just LOVE to chew.

Make sure you give them lots of mind stimulation with foraging toys.
And don’t bother getting them fancy toys because, we all know how expensive birds toys can be, specially when you need to replace them all the time.
There are so many D.I.Y. (Do it Yourself) toys that are very cheap, safe, and easy to make.

And remember, smart birds like Cockatiels can get bored with their toys very quickly. A good way to outsmart them, is to rotate their toys weekly, and mix them up. That way you could keep your birds interested in the same toys longer.

However, whether you are buying a toy or making one yourself, you need to be very careful and to make sure that the toys are safe for your birds. Check that there’s nothing toxic for your birds in there, and that there’s no small pieces that your bird could swallow or choke on.

5. Cleaning:

Cages must be cleaned regularly.
Place a nice bedding at the bottom of your cage, that you can easily change-up everyday or as needed.
Water bottle and food bowls or hangers, should be cleaned and refilled daily to prevent Bacterial infections.

Birds can be really messy, and they do need a lot of work.

Deep Cleaning the cage:

Deep cleaning the cage is really important, for you and your birds. And you must do it every couple of weeks.
I Personally deep clean my birds cages once a month (or more as needed)…
So, you can do it more or less depending on your birds and how much the cage is messed up.

How to deep clean the cage?

Never use soap – Birds are very sensitive. Soap and other cleaning products leave chemical residues that are toxic and may harm your birds.
To deep clean the cage; you can either use vinegar or lemon juice. Those 2 help in killing bacteria.
Personally, I prefer filling a spray bottle with water, vinegar and 1 lemon to give it a fresh smell;

1. Remove everything from the cage: Food plates, water bottles, perches and toys, and clean them thoroughly, using the same mixture above.

2. Get a new scrub, and deeply clean everything, using the spray bottle you prepared earlier. Or you can simply wash it under the sink with water first, then use a clean scrub or towel while spraying with the vinegar/Lemon juice mix.

3. Leave them to dry, then put everything back in its place

Note: If your birds are nesting, deep clean with a wet towel without touching the nest, or moving the cage.

6. Bathing:

How much should I shower my Cockatiels?

Cockatiels are very powdery birds, and they just Love showering, as it helps them

groom themselves, and get rid of excess powder. Needless to say, if you have any sort of allergies, showering your birds will be good for you too, and you’ll just love enjoy watching them have a blast and enjoy the water.

Ideally, you should shower Cockatiels every 4 days. However, this varies depending on the weather, and your bird’s personal preference. Hence, if it’s really cold, then normally you shouldn’t shower them as much.

Different ways to shower your birds:

Every bird have his or her own character, unique personality and personal preferences… Just as we as “people” do.
So you need to figure out what each of your birds love, and what makes them happy.
Not all birds enjoy showering the same way, so these are 4 different ways you could shower your birds.

1. Using a Spray Bottle:
Most birds love spray bottle baths. Fill a Spray bottle with water, and gently spray your birds.
If you find your Cockatiel rolling around, grooming herself and moving closer to the bottle, this means she’s enjoying it. But, If she flies away, its your sign to stop.

2. The Classic bowl of water bath:
Just fill up one of their larger bowls with water, and watch them enjoy their baths.
But, be careful; don’t leave the water for too long, so they don’t get bacterial infections. And don’t fill it in a deep bowl because accidents may happen, and the bird may drown.

3. Open Faucet: ?
I’ve never personally tried it, but i have seen so many videos on YouTube of bird owners opening the water tap, and the birds just love it. They fly around, pass under the water, jump in and out, and they seem to really enjoy it.
Some even advice showering with your birds, but again while making sure that you don’t use any shampoos or anything with chemicals that could potentially harm them.

4. Rolling in wet greens:
This is really nice specially on hot summer days.
Many birds love rolling around in their wet greens before eating it. It’s so adorable.
Place some wet greens like parsley and cilantro on top of your birds cage or stand. And if they like it, they will roll around in their greens like crazy… They really love it.

So just observe your birds, and that’s how you really get to know them.. The more time you give them, the more you learn and understand what makes each of them happy. And it shows in the simplest things like; Taking a Bath…

7. Sleeping?

Cockatiels need a 10-12 hours of undisturbed sleep everyday. Lack of sleep will affect your bird’s overall health. And they can get really cranky just as a sleepy toddler does.
Ideally, birds should be sleeping by sun set, and waking up with sunrise, just as they do in the wild. However, most the time we want to spend more time with our birds at night. So it’s okay as long as they are getting their 10-12 hours of sleep.

And when it’s sleep time, place your birds in their cage, and place the cage in a quiet, dark room where there’s no TV. sounds or anything that could disturb your birds.
Moreover, it is advisable to cover up your birds cage at night to help them get a good night sleep. But some birds hate covering up their cages, so in this case; don’t freak out your bird. Just place them in a dark, quiet room.

You May Also Like:

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Budgies Care 101
Cockatiels Care 101

Hope you found that useful.. I’ll See you next time ✌️