Those of you who are new to pet birds are probably wondering just what a cockatiel is and what all the fuss is about. Let’s meet one of the world’s most popular pet birds, the cockatiel.
Cockatiels are long-tailed small parrots from Australia. They have been kept as pet birds for more than 160 years, since the first live birds were brought to Britain from Australia, and are second in popularity as pet parrots only to their Australian cousins, parakeets. The cockatiel is about twelve inches long, when you count those fabulous tail feathers, and comes in about a dozen colors and feather patterns.
Cockatiels make wonderful pets for individuals or families. Their size makes them appealing and approachable for children and adults. Cockatiels offer their owners all the charm and personality of their larger cockatoo cousins without the inherent noise, biting, and other problems that come with the larger birds. Cockatiels are long lived (twenty years is not an uncommon life span), easy to maintain, and affordable to keep.
Although they are not particularly noted for their talking ability, most can learn to whistle simple tunes (the theme from The Andy Griffith Show seems to be a particular favorite for owners to teach their birds). Thirty-four percent of bird-owning homes in America have a cockatiel, and these birds keep their owners entertained with their whistling ability and their comical antics. Through the years, cockatiels have helped educate school children about basic pet care in a classroom setting and brightened the lives of seniors and others in pet therapy programs.