Cockatiel – Care Guide – Types, Lifespan & More


Cockatiels are extremely popular pets, and they are perfect for beginners.

These birds are beautiful and friendly, but there is a lot to learn about them.


The cockatiel is a fairly small bird, measuring around 32 centimeters and weighing a little over 3 ounces when fully grown. These birds have a crested head with a grey, orange, and muted yellow coloration. Domestic cockatiels look the same as ones that are found in the wild.

Cockatiel Lifespan

A cockatiel can live up to 20 years with proper everyday care, though the average lifespan is 10 to 14 years. The longest living cockatiel in the world was 29 years of age.

two cockatiels

Types of Cockatiels

While there is just one type of cockatiel, they do come in a variety of colors, sometimes referred to as “mutations”.

  • Lutino: There is the Lutino cockatiel, which has a yellow head with dabs of orange on their cheeks. 
  • Whiteface: The Whiteface cockatiel has a mostly white head. The females look slightly different, with a white coloration on their face.
  • Peal: Pearl cockatiels have white and yellow feathers with a spotted pattern that can be made up of different colors.
  • Cinnamon: These cockatiels have a silver and brown coloration. The females also have a little bit of orange on their cheeks.
  • Pied: The Pied cockatiel features white and yellow colors where these birds usually don’t have them.

The Cockatiel’s Personality

One of the neat things about cockatiels is that you can tell what their mood is like by their crest feathers. If their feathers are completely straight, it means that they are curious about something. 

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When these feathers are pushed down flat, they are probably aggravated. This becomes more obvious if the bird emits a hissing sound.

There is no question that cockatiels can be very affectionate creatures that make great and loyal pets. They are also extremely playful and love to play with different toys. While these birds do not have a reputation for being very trainable, you can teach them to whistle back.

cockatiel close up

Natural Habitat

You can find wild cockatiels thriving in Australia. These birds inhabit the semi-arid regions, but they tend to go anywhere that offers food and water. Unlike many other birds, these ones do not travel in large flocks.

Cockatiel Care Guide

1. Cockatiel Diet

The cockatiel diet consists mostly of seeds and pellets. This makes up about 75% of the bird’s total everyday diet. Make sure that you buy seeds that have a high fat content so they get what they need. It is important that you keep their food bowl almost all the way full each day.

These birds also enjoy eating a variety of vegetables, including dark leafy greens. While you don’t want to feed your bird these foods every single day, every other day is acceptable.

There are certain fruits they like to eat as well, including melon, banana, and apple. You should refrain from giving your bird these foods more than once or twice each week.

It is perfectly fine to give your cockatiel the occasional treat, but you don’t want to make a habit of it.

2. Environment

You’ll want to keep your cockatiel in a cage that is at least large enough for them to stretch out their wings completely. If their wings are touching the sides of the cage, you need to get a bigger one right away.

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Keep in mind that these birds really enjoy spending time outside of their enclosures. You’ll definitely want to get yours a T-stand to hang out on sometimes. You should let them out of the cage for at least an hour every single day.

You might want to put a sort of night light in your bird’s enclosure to keep it from panicking at night. If your bird has this type of episode, it will begin flapping its wings and vocalizing loudly. You will definitely know if the night light is going to be necessary.

3. Common Health Problems

These birds are prone to kidney disease and internal parasites, both of which can do serious damage to their body. They can also develop bacterial infections fairly easily, which can become severe quite fast. You might also notice that your bird starts picking its feathers frequently, which is not a healthy behavior.

Some of the signs to look out for with cockatiels include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Sudden increase in thirst
  • Disoriented appearance
  • Drooping tails or wings
  • Odd sleep pattern
  • Abnormal droppings
  • Constant picking at feathers

If you notice your bird vomiting or falling off its perch, you’ll want to get it in to see a veterinarian quickly. These are both signs of serious problems that have to be addressed right away.

Make sure that you get your bird a complete examination by a vet every six to twelve months. It is also important to get them vaccinated for Polyomavirus.

4. Grooming

Cockatiels are not high maintenance birds, so regular grooming isn’t really needed. You can just give your bird a light misting of water each day. You may also want to occasionally put a small bowl of water in their cage that they can bathe in.

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Cockatiel Price

The average cost of a cockatiel is about $150, but you could pay up to $250. The price of these birds depends on numerous factors, including their age, health, and particular mutation.

Lutino cockatiels cost anywhere from $150 $250. Pied cockatiels can cost up to $170. Cinnamon cockatiels are more in the $150 price range. Peal cockatiels cost around $200. White cockatiels are usually the most expensive, priced at up to $300.


  • There are several different types of cockatiels, each of which have their own unique appearance.
  • You can usually tell how a cockatiel is feeling by looking at their tail feathers.
  • These birds are friendly animals that make for good and loyal companions.
  • Spend at least an hour each day with your cockatiel outside of its cage.
  • You should put a T-stand in your bird’s cage so it will have a place to rest comfortably.
  • Regular grooming is not needed, but you should put a bowl of water in its cage every other day to let it bathe.
  • Cockatiels are far from the most expensive pet bird, but they can cost up to $300.
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