Cockatiels are in the Cockatoo Family and hail from Australia. Unlike their larger cousins, they are not as prone to screaming behavior. Cockatiels have the propensity for large vocabularies and a talent for learning whistle light hearted tunes.
The bird pictured above is a Normal Gray Cockatiel (the original coloring of a wild Cockatiel, but; nowadays, numerous color mutations have been developed and not all Cockatiels have the benchmark orange ear (check) patches. These little fellows make excellent first birds and are, by nature, very gentle and affectionate. They are not as fragile in stature as a Budgie (Parakeet), so they are able to be gently handled by children, under supervision of an adult, as always is the case with any pet. They are extremely easy to care for and eat a primary diet of pellets, grains and small seeds.
Many Cockatiel food mixes come with various shaped pellet food mixed in. They should be served fresh vegetables each day such as shredded carrots, broccoli, snap beans and peas, in addition to the Avian Veterinarians Recipe for “Birdie Bread”. Their average life span in captivity is 12-20+ years. They do not have a lot of health issues, but; are prone to fatty liver disease so keeping sunflower seeds to a bare minimum is important along with other fatty nuts and seeds.
Commercial mixes may be purchased without sunflower seeds because of this. The other most common health issue is egg binding in females. It is important to supply your Cockatiel with mineral and calcium blocks to help prevent this (Absolutely NO Cuttlebone, Oyster Shells or Grit). Their houses (Cages) should be constructed of as many horizontal bars as possible because they are climbers and enjoy climbing as high as they can and then flying back to a lower level and doing it all over again. Cage Bar Spacing can be NO LARGER THAN 5/8 to 3/4 Inch. These little fellows love to chew on bird-safe wood and will often shun other types of toys for wooden ones.