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Budgie vs cockatiel | Find the bird for you

gray and white bird on black textile

There are a lot of different kinds of birds these days, and choosing the correct one isn’t always simple. Cockatiels vs budgies: which species is best for you? You’ve probably heard that they’re two of the most popular pet birds on the market, but how do you know which to choose between them?

Let’s talk about budgerigars vs cockatiels and hopefully assist you in selecting the right bird for you and your family.

Budgie vs cockatiel: Similarities

Budgies and cockatiels have several things in common. To begin with, they actually live in the same nation. In fact, on occasion, they’ve been observed foraging and drinking together in the wild. You may be able to find videos of this online.

The two species are found in Australia, where they dwell in harsh and arid regions. It’s possible that this is why both have become so popular: they can live under difficult conditions that aren’t always ideal in captivity. In addition, both budgies and cockatiels are small birds who love human attention. They’re also very social creatures.

Some other similarities include:

  • Noise levels. Both are relatively quiet when it comes to pet parrots. In most situations, they should be suitable for city living.
  • Color varieties. Budgies and cockatiels have been bred to produce a wide range of colors, although the variety is greater in budgies.
  • Intelligence. Both species are bright, can be trained, and have shown the ability to learn tricks.
  • Social needs. They’re highly sociable creatures that need a lot of care. They can form a strong friendship with their owner.
  • Talking abilities. Budgies can learn to imitate sounds and whistles, but talking budgies have a larger vocabulary than speaking cockatiels.

Cockatiels and budgies are frequently confused. Because they’re so common, people mistake them for throwaway pets or easy pets who just need a small cage and some seed to thrive. But these birds require more than that. They need a lot of attention and care, just like any other pet.

Unfortunately, literature frequently classifies cockatiels (N hollandicus) and budgies as “beginner birds”—birds for individuals to acquire their first, so that they may learn enough about living with psittacines. It is assumed that the individuals will subsequently advance to obtain a “real parrot. This attitude is a great disservice. (…)

Wilson, 1996: The appropriate bird for the appropriate owner


Budgie vs cockatiel: Differences

Cockatiels and budgies are similar in many ways, but there are also significant differences. It’s critical to think about both before making a decision and choosing the bird that’s right for you.

Psittacology is the home of both budgies and cockatiels. Both species are lively, full of personality, and add their own unique flavor to the house. However, they do so in significantly distinct ways, and here are a number of the reasons why.

  • Size. The ‘tiel is larger than the cockatiel, in terms of size. Budgies from the wild type (also known as American budgies) are significantly smaller. A huge English budgie, on the other hand, can be nearly as large as a tiny cockatiel!
  • Cage size. A cockatiel cage will thus need to be larger than a budgie cage in most cases. In any case, both birds require adequate area to extend their wings and plenty of out-of-cage time.
  • Noise levels. Cockatiels are noisier than budgies, but they make noise for a shorter period of time. The continual stream of budgie chatter is constant, especially if you maintain several, while cockatiel conversation usually varies by occasion.
  • Activity level. Budgies are notorious firecrackers. They go flying all over the place at Psittacology, taking off unexpectedly and scaring the cockatiels in the process. Cockatiels are a little more subdued.
  • Cuddliness. Although some budgies enjoy head scratches, they aren’t as cuddly as cockatiels. A budgie will generally prefer to sit on you and do nothing else, but many ‘tils love a good long scritch session.
  • Biting. Cockatiels are known for being feisty. If we can call it that, they’re a little sassier than your average budgie. They enjoy their neck scratches but can also be irritable, sometimes screaming and giving you a warning nip for no apparent reason.
  • Allergies. Cockatiels are part of the cockatoo family, which contains birds with a powdery layer of down feathers (read more about cockatiels vs. cockatoos). This may be uncomfortable for people who are allergic to it. BUDGIES do not have a powdery layer of down feathers.
  • Lifespan. Cockatiels and budgies can live a long time, so you must be ready. Budgie life expectancy is usually around 15 years, although cockatiel lifespans can reach up to 25 years. Your mileage may vary, however!

Did you know? An English budgie may be an excellent compromise if you’re searching for something in between. They are larger and tend to be more serene than wild-type budgies. However, they are more expensive and prone to health issues.

Who is a budgie better for?

In the end, it all boils down to your bird’s activity levels. A budgie is ideal for people who want to add life and chatter to their home but don’t mind that they will not be able to cuddle with their bird. Cockatiels are ideal for individuals who need a more laid-back pet, but still want to have that unique bond that comes with having a chatty, smart bird.

The best owners of budgies are those who want an active companion who will not require too much attention and can be left alone most of the time. They must enjoy the company of others in the family. Cockatiels are best for those who want a bird that is interactive, playful, and loves to be around people. These birds do not like to be left alone for long periods of time.

Budgies are suggested for children and cockatiels for the elderly, but I’m not sure if I agree. A pair of budgies would make a wonderful companion for an older person, as they constantly keep you on your toes with their antics. And children love the high-energy nature of budgies.

Who is a cockatiel better for?

If you’re searching for a more chilled-out bird that will sit fluffed up and happy on your knee the whole time in a film, you’ll probably want a cockatiel. Sure, these birds may be noisy and fly about from time to time, but they aren’t as high-energy as a budgie.

Because cockatiels tend to have a slightly shorter fuse than budgies, they might not make the ideal pet for children.

Cockatiels are also better for those who want a bird that is friendly, playful and able to form a strong bond with their human companions. Budgies can be lovable too, but they can be independent and prefer to stick close to their flock (the family).


People frequently inquire whether I love my cockatiel more since I spend more time with him.  But I love my budgies too. They’re just more active than Houdini!” If you like an active and often-chatty bird, a budgie would be best for you. However, if you prefer a calmer and cuddlier type of pet, then a cockatiel is your best choice.

The problem is that, while it’s great to have a more cuddly bird who likes to sit on my shoulder for hours, I adore the budgie flock just as much. I enjoy their energy level; their pranks and their mischievous behavior. I also appreciate the continual murmur of gentle, pleasant voices. They’re simply so joyful and cheery, and tell me everything about their day.

Whether you go for a budgie or a cockatiel, if you do your homework and supply your bird with everything it needs, I think you’ll be pleased with your choice. They’re both wonderful buddies, and they’re lots of fun. In the end, it all comes down to what you’re looking for in a pet bird.

If you have any more questions about budgie vs cockatiel or want to share your own experiences with these famous Australian pet bird species, please leave a remark below and share your thoughts!


Wilson, L. (1999, October). The appropriate bird for the appropriate owner. In Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine (Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 165-173). WB Saunders.