In the wild, cockatiels are normally grey in color, but with the advent of the pet trade, this little bird has been bred to have a variety of colors. Primarily, this pretty little bird is known for its rosy cheek patches. As with many of the parrot family, a cockatiel can be taught to “talk” when its owner repeats the same phrase over and over. Pet cockatiels have been known to live 25+ years.


Nymphicus hollandicus

Habitat: Australia. Prefers open country near water

Diet in the wild: Seeds, especially from grasses and grains. Fruits and berries. Will raid crops, especially sorghum

Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Apple, orange, carrot, spinach, corn, bread, cockatiel seed mix and millet seed

Size: 12-13 inches beak to tip of tail; weighs 2½-4¼ ounces

Family: Usually live in pairs or small flocks. Clutch of 4-7 eggs incubated about 3 weeks. Both parents incubate eggs. Young leave the nest at about 4-5 weeks of age.

Status: Least concern

Did you know? That pretty crest on the cockatiel’s head can be a barometer for just how the bird is feeling. When startled or excited, the crest will be vertical, but when defensive or angry the crest can be flattened against the head.

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