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All About Cockatiels - Information and Tips
Super fun, shreddable palm rope swing will provide tons of chewing and nibbling for maxium beak exercise!


The scientific name for cockatiels is Nymphicus Hollandicus, which means "Goddess of New Holland." Australia is the native homeland of cockatiels. Our pet cockatiels are bred domestically because Australia banned exportation of all native birds in 1894.

They are social and intelligent companion birds. Cockatiels are exotic birds known for their beautiful crests, the orange patch on their cheeks and their long sleek tails. These charming birds provide us with lots of entertainment, affection and companionship.

Cockatiels are extremely social birds. They have a need for social interaction. A single bird will get more attached to its keeper but if you are not at home a lot it is best to get two birds. It is a fact that two birds of the same sex get along just as well as a mixed pair. Even more so if the cockatiels were introduced while they are still young.

Always try to purchase a hand-fed baby or a young bird when possible. Hand-fed chicks are already hand tame so you won't have as much training and socializing with hands to do. A young chick can be easy to train but may take a bit longer. Chicks should be weaned at seven to eight weeks old. If you purchase a cockatiel younger than that you should hand feed it until it is eating completely on its own. If you have no experience hand feeding, I recommend not purchasing an unweaned baby. A weaned chick will bond easily to its new owner as soon as it is comfortable in its new surroundings.

If you are purchasing an adult cockatiel it may already be tame and even have some tricks under its feathers! If not, an adult cockatiel can be hand tamed but takes much time and patience. It may be a challenge but is very rewarding to give an adult cockatiel a chance to become bonded to its new owner.


  1. A happy bird is a busy bird. If you aren't going to be able to spend a lot of time with your cockatiel it is best to get two. They will have each other to eat, play, preen and sit with.
  2. Whenever approaching or dealing with cockatiels, act calmly and quietly. Fast movements and loud noises alert the bird and make it nervous. Do not approach a cockatiel unexpectedly with quick movements as this will scare it.
  3. Get your cockatiel used to your hands and fingers. When you are trying to get the cockatiel to step onto your hand or finger raise your hand to the abdomen from below and encourage it to step onto you. Putting your hand over its head will make it nervous as if you are trying to catch it.
  4. A cockatiel cannot be housebroken. But if you pay a lot of attention to your bird you can get an idea of when it will do the business. Cockatiels usually move their tail up a bit and move back. A damp cloth or tissue usually takes care it.
  5. Never leave a cockatiel alone with another pet or a child under the age of 12. Even if a dog is gentle and calm it could hurt the cockatiel by trying to play with it.
  6. A busy bird is a happy bird. Provide lots of toys and things to chew. Rearranging the inside of the cage and rotating toys keeps cockatiels alert. The same perch arrangement and toys can lead to boredom. New things are appreciated.
  7. Offer a variety of foods. Seeds, pellets, millet all are a great start. Learn all the different fruits and vegetables your cockatiel can have. Then offer them to your bird and watch it enjoy its favorite ones.
  8. Cockatiels need time outside of their cages. Regular free flying is important. If you do not clip your cockatiel's wings then it will enjoy flying around and up to the high places in the room or house. If you do clip its wings then it will still flap its wings like it is flying but stay on the perch. They also like to fly down to the floor to explore the bird-proofed room!
  9. Clean your cockatiel's cage regularly. This prevents disease. Don't use regular house cleaning products around your cockatiel. Hot water and apple cider vinegar work great. Change the paper everyday. Wipe down the cage and dry it once a week. Then once a month take everything out, scrub and wash it all very well then dry it. This is a great time to arrange the perches and food dishes differently. Add some new toys and both you and your cockatiel(s) are happy.
  10. Be patient with your cockatiel. It may need time to get used to new things and new people. Observe your cockatiel. You will then become accustomed to their behavior patterns and see their personality develop. Cockatiels can become lovable, tame and trusting companions.


It is best to purchase the cage and supplies before the bird. This way it can all be washed, set-up and ready for the new arrival. The cage should not be any smaller than 24 x 16 x 24 inches for one cockatiel. An easy thing to remember is that each bird has to have enough room to spread out both wings without touching anything and that the tail cannot constantly touch the cage bars. The cage should be rectangular with a lot of horizontal bars. One with two doors is ideal and the bigger the better. This will make cleaning easier and more comfortable for you as well as your cockatiel!


Before you purchase the cockatiel you should find a perfect place for the cage. A cockatiel likes to know its surroundings so avoid moving it a lot. The cage should be placed by a window. This way the cockatiel can see the world and the natural rhythm of the day. Cockatiels should get a chance to get some sun but they must always be able to retreat to a shady part of the cage. Cockatiels can get overheated quickly and need a place to sit and cool off.


Perches should be thick enough that the cockatiel's toes cannot touch all the way around. They cannot be put too closely to the sides of the cages as the tail feathers will become broken and fall out. A variety of perches are important. Natural untreated wood perches are best. The irregularities provide a kind of massage for the feet and cockatiels enjoy nibbling on the bark and wood. Cotton rope perches are soft for their feet. They are great to rest on. Calcium perches provide minerals, which are important to the cockatiel's health. There are new perches that help with wearing the nails down so you don't have to trim them as often. They are great, just make sure the bird has other perches in the cage as well. Some are made from cement or sand products and can dry the cockatiel's feet out. Put the softest perch up in a high place. Cockatiels tend to sleep and sit there the longest. Cockatiels like to sit high up in order to have a good view of their surroundings. Too many perches can interfere with the cockatiel's movements. Make sure each one is spaced far enough away from the other so that the cockatiel's tail does not touch it. Swings are another great place for cockatiels to sit. They can sit with a friend or swing alone with a toy.


It is important to give cockatiels fresh, clean water everyday. You may not see them drink water a lot but they need to have it available to them at all times. You should consider using bottled water for their drinking water. You will need a dish for both seeds and water. Another for fresh foods but that can only be left in the cage for as long as the food is still fresh. Wash the dishes with hot water and a little apple cider vinegar often. Check the seed daily. It may look like the seeds are still fresh when they are actually eaten through. Dishes can be made from a number of things. It is important that they are easy to clean. Also, the dishes need to be the correct size. Cockatiels cannot go very long without food. They eat many times in one day.
This tasty toy is stuffed with peppers.  Your cockatiel will love it!Peanut Cruch provides a fun toy with peanuts inside for a tasty treat!


A seed mix for cockatiels is great. Not only does it provide them with nutrition but also they enjoy nibbling and breaking seeds apart. Pellets contain the complete amounts of nutrients for a cockatiel but alone they are boring as they require no work. A mixture of seeds and pellets work best. Millet is another great food for cockatiels. They enjoy picking it off the spray and munching on the little seeds.

Offer your cockatiels fresh fruits and vegetables. Learn which ones they can have and give them some daily. Make sure cockatiels only receive unsprayed plants. Remember to take any fresh foods away when they are not so fresh. They can make the cockatiel sick. It may take your cockatiel a few times before it will eat any new fruits or vegetables. Give them a chance to learn what they like too. A cockatiel eating only seed will end up unhealthy or overweight.

Offer some of the following vegetables daily: asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, corn on the cob, green beans, kale, peppers, romaine lettuce or spinach leaves(in moderation). Iceberg lettuce has little nutritional value. Make sure everything is thoroughly washed. When eating greens cockatiels may get diarrhea. Make sure they have a mixture of seed and pellets available so they do not over do it with the vegetables as too many can act as a laxative.

Fresh fruits you should also offer are apple, apricots, banana, cantaloupe, cherries, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, mango, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums and watermelon. The seeds from apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, pears and plums are toxic, do not offer them to the bird. Make sure everything is thoroughly washed. Cockatiels also benefit from well-cooked scrambled eggs, especially during breeding season.

Never give cockatiels the following: avocado, chocolate, coffee, lima bean sprouts, milk, soda, sugar or tea. They all may be toxic to your bird. Offer your cockatiel a cuttlebone. It provides calcium, which helps the cockatiel develop strong bones.


When keeping cockatiels or any bird it is important to check everything it could possibly get into, especially plants. Cockatiels love to nibble and plants are perfect for them to shred.

Non-Toxic Plants
African daisy African palm African violet Airplane plant
Aloe plant Arcadia Asparagus fern Aster
Baby's tears Bachelor Buttons Bamboo Birds Nest Fern
Blood Leaf plant Boston fern Bougainvillea California Poppy
Camelia Chickweed Christmas Cactus Corn plant
Cotoneaster Crab apple Creeping Charlie Creeping Jennie
Croton Dahlia Daisies Dandelion Dogwood
Donkey Tail Dracaena Easter Lily Echeveria
Eugenia Ficus Fuchsia Gardenia
Geranium Gloxinia Grape Ivy Hawthorn
Honeysuckle Hoya Impatiens Jade plant
Kalanchoe Lipstick plant Magnolia Marigold
Monkey plant Orchid Palms Peperomia
Petunia Piggy-back plant Prayer plant Purple Passion
Pyracantha Rose Rubber plant Salal
Sanseverieria Schefflera Sensitive plant Spider plant
Swedish Ivy Tulip Umbrella Tree Violet
Wandering Jew Wax plant Yucca plant Zebra plant

Toxic Plants
Amaryllis Anemone Angel's Trumpet Arrowhead
Avocado Azaleas Bird of Paradise Cactus
Caladium Calla Lily Castor Bean Chinese Evergreen
Crocus Daffodil Daphne Delphinium
Devil's Ivy Dieffenbachia Elderberry Elephant's Ear
Eucalyptus Foxglove Heliotrope Holly
Hyacinth Hydrangea Iris Ivy
Jack-in-the-pulpit Jerusalem Cherry Jasmine Jimson Weed
Lantana Larkspur Laurel Lily-of-the-valley
Lobelia Lupine Marijuana Mayapple
Mistletoe Moonseed Morning Glory Narcissus
Nightshade Oleander Peace Lily Periwinkle
Philodendron Poinsettia Poison Hemlock Poison Ivy
Poison Oak Poppy Pokeweed Privet
Red Maple Rhododendron Rosary Pea Tobacco
Tomato(except fruit) Water Hemlock Waxberry Wisteria


Many things in your home will look interesting, new and exciting to your cockatiel. It is best to know which can be hazardous and deadly to avoid a bad situation.

Your cockatiel will enjoy time out of its cage, especially spending time with you. Do not let your cockatiel out unless you can supervise it. Turn off all fans when your bird is out of its cage even if its wings are clipped. Always make sure all doors and windows are shut and will not be opened until your cockatiel is back in the cage. Your cockatiel will fly out without any reason or if it is startled. But once cockatiels realize they can keep flying they will. Check your local lost and found section in the paper, bet there are a few ads for lost cockatiels! Even if you keep your cockatiel's wings clipped, if one flight feather has grown in they can still fly.

Watch out for open containers of water. Cockatiels like water but cannot swim and can drown easily.

Avoid using air fresheners, aerosol sprays, candles, cleaners, perfumes, potpourri, and other fumes near cockatiels as these can be toxic. Even new carpet and non-stick cookware can let off fumes that can kill cockatiels in minutes. Put cockatiels in their cages when you are cooking. They could fly into a pan of boiling water or other hot items and really hurt themselves with a nasty burn.

Cockatiels rarely get mites. Do not use the mite protectors as they have been proven to be carcinogenic. By keeping the cage and surrounding area clean you should not be susceptible to insects.

Never feed a cockatiel food from your month or give them kisses. Human saliva contains a bacterium that is harmful to cockatiels.

Never hit a cockatiel. Once you use your hands in a bad way to a cockatiel they may never forget. You could also hurt them as they are so delicate. Tapping them on the beak is also a no, no.

Watch out for electrical cords. Birds will find them and chew on them. Do not let cockatiels chew on paint or treated wood. Houseplants are another favorite thing to chew. Make sure they are not toxic or important to you. Once cockatiels start nibbling they can wreck a plant in minutes!

Avoid placing their cage in a drafty area. Fresh air is great but make sure the weather is right. A cold draft can be a bad thing and cause your cockatiel to get sick. Cockatiels enjoy sunlight. Do not put the whole cage in the direct sun though, the cockatiel could become overheated. Always supply cockatiels with fresh, clean water.


Some cockatiels prefer to bathe themselves in a shallow dish. Others like to be sprayed with the fine mist of a hand sprayer. Try both and see which your cockatiel prefers.

It is easiest to let cockatiels bathe themselves by placing a shallow bowl or purchase one that fits your cage. Make sure the water is lukewarm and don't forget to remove it and clean it daily. This allows your cockatiel to decide when to bathe.

Another way to bathe your cockatiel is to purchase a special shower perch and place it in a sink or tub. Purchase a new plant sprayer. Do not use one that has had anything toxic in it, like fertilizer. Fill the new bird sprayer with only clean warm to hot water. Put the sprayer on the fine mist and spray the bird for a few minutes. The mist from the sprayer is like a rain shower cockatiels would get in the wild.

The final way to bathe your cockatiel is to put a shower perch with suction cups on a wall in your shower. A place that is eye level and that isn't in the middle of the water shower is best. Cockatiels should only get mist from the shower, especially if you take longer showers!

If you are lucky your cockatiel will do a bit of a shower dance for you by spreading its wings and rubbing its beak along the perch. Pure water works best to keep its plumage in peak condition. This helps in repelling chills or drafts that can result in sickness. Bathing your cockatiel regularly triggers it to preen, helps with the powder down it creates and gives them something to do. The powder down is responsible for protecting the cockatiel's plumage also. Either way you choose to bathe your cockatiel, make it available in the morning so it will have the whole day to dry out and put its plumage back in order. Mist cockatiels atleast 2-3 times a week or offer a bath in their cage everyday.

We offer fun, unque bird toys and swings at great prices so you can get your bird both without breakin' the bank!


Owing a cockatiel will be rewarding. It is much different from having a cat or a dog. Cockatiels require a lot of attention. If you decide to bring a cockatiel into your life it will be a long commitment. They can live 20+ years. Cockatiels are great companions. You can teach them tricks, to talk and to whistle. Once you have a bond with your cockatiel it is a very rewarding relationship. Cockatiels are flock birds. They prefer to be around other cockatiels. Buying two birds of the same sex is best. They get along just as well as a mixed pair and you won't have to worry about breeding and what comes with it! If you do not have two cockatiels then it will choose you as its flock. Sometimes it will call out to you to see if you are around. Just whistling back reassures them that you are there and okay.

These hollow plastic lobsters are tons of fun for your bird!  Lobster Links provides shredding satisfaction!Cockatiels enjoy the Star Swing.  It provides a place to relax.  With wooden stars and cardboard layers there is so much to chew!Pony Laces Toy is a favorite of cockatiels. They love to nibble on the plastic laces!


Bird toys play a large part in the well-being of your pet bird. A bird without toys is deprived of the stimulation that it needs to stay psychologically healthy. Toys are not an accessory they are a necessity! Cockatiels love toys! They provide exercise and busy work to them. Cockatiels require many forms of social activity. Bored cockatiels will scream, pluck their feathers and can become depressed. Birds are very active and busy in the wild. So as your pet they depend on you to provide fun activities such as chewing and shredding. Providing such activities for busy beaks is a never ending challenge. Birds enjoy chewing and destroying things plus it keeps their beaks in good condition and also exercises their powerful facial muscles! Cockatiels enjoy colorful and fun toys to chew and shred. Toys with lots of color, chewable parts, knots to untie, and various textured parts work best. Always make sure the parts are all bird safe:
  • Cotton rope should be unbleached
  • Any coloring should be non-toxic
  • Metal parts should be stainless steel
  • Wood should be untreated
  • Leather should be vegetable tanned
Rotating toys is important. Move toys around in the cage to different areas to keep them interested. Adding new toys weekly keeps cockatiels stimulated. If they become bored with a toy they may move on to plucking their own feathers! A variety of shapes and materials should satisfy these inquisitive birds. Destroying a toy gives them something to do and deters them from becoming bored. Offer as many different types of toys as possible.

BUSYBIRD.COM provides toys that contain lots of different parts to shred and various parts to chew. Cockatiels toys sold in stores do not hold their interest. A lot of stores allow all their customers to touch their toys, so imagine how many germs are on those toys! Toys sold here are not around other birds and not handled very much at all. Cleanliness is best!

As toys are being rotated in your cockatiel's cage, they should be washed and cleaned before they are put in the new location. Also check your bird's toys daily. Since your cockatiel will be chewing and pulling on their toys, parts can change and may need trimmed or replaced. No toy is 100% safe so checking daily is the best way to keep your bird safe. Cockatiels enjoy swings also. They move like branches do in the wild. Most tiels like to take their afternoon nap on one!

Super fun, shreddable palm rope swing will provide tons of chewing and nibbling for maxium beak exercise!

Cockatiel Behaviors

A cockatiel may do many things to amuse you and even some things that are perplexing.

The Crest

Your cockatiels crest can tell a lot about its emotions. By observing the crest being raised and lowered you will know how your cockatiel reacts to certain things and in different situations. If the crest is almost flat with the tip pointing upward, the cockatiel is calm and relaxed. When the crest is vertical the bird is interested. By having its crest raised as far as it can go forward the cockatiel is showing it may be tense or concentrating. If it is afraid, anxious or upset the crest will be snapped back and the cockatiel may even hiss or try to bite you.


Preening is the act of cleaning and aligning a bird's plumage. A cockatiel will spend hours of each day preening. It will draw each of its feathers through its beak, removing all the dust and dirt. The cockatiel then oils and smoothes out each of its many feathers. A cockatiel has a gland hidden in its feathers on its lower back above the tail. The beak extracts a substance from this oil gland and applies it throughout its plumage. This oil is used to keep the feathers supple and waterproof. A cockatiel's feathers must be clean, dry and free of raggedness for it to function properly. Feathers regulate their body temperatures.

Mutual Preening

Two or more birds may preen each other if they live in pairs or groups. This act reinforces bonds and helps preen feathers that are out of reach. It is very cute to watch as they roll their heads on each other to clean their crests. If you are the one your cockatiel would like to preen with it will want to preen your hair. This shows that your cockatiel considers you worth while.

Lowers Head at You

A cockatiel will lower its head at you if it trusts you. It means that the cockatiel is allowing you to pet its head. Pet your cockatiel softly. Cockatiels enjoy their feathers to be gently ruffled upward, not smoothed down. Cockatiels enjoy having their cheeks, ears, head and crest preened by you. Figure out which is your cockatiel's favorite spot and it will love you even more!

Standing on One Leg

If you see a cockatiel standing on one leg it is a good sign. Only a healthy cockatiel can stand on one leg, so it indicates good health. When cockatiels are comfortable and content they will sleep or stand on the perch with one leg and tuck the other up close to its body. Resting on one leg relaxes the other by taking the weight off. It's a bird's way of being cozy while resting. At night their body temperature is lower so a cockatiel brings its foot up into the warmth of its belly to conserve heat.


A cockatiel will stretch when it is finished with an activity. It may be after a nap or when it is finished preening, either way it means the cockatiel is feeling relaxed. This is the perfect time to spend with your cockatiel. When the bird stretches it will stretch one leg and one wing and then repeat on the other side.

Beak Grinding

If you hear your cockatiel grinding their beak it is a good sign. Beak grinding is something they do to get ready for a nap or sleep for the night. It means they are content.


Cockatiels hiss and bite into the air when they feel threatened or are very scared. You should leave your bird alone for awhile so it will calm down. If you are doing something to cause your cockatiel to do this you should stop or it may end up being scared of you all the time. Try not to put your hand near a hissing cockatiel as it may bite. The more frightened it is the harder the bite. Your cockatiel may also fluff up its feathers to seem bigger than it actually is. It is trying to scare you away!

Shaking Feathers

After a cockatiel preens it will shake vigorously to get rid of dust that may still be left. This gesture also returns each feather to its proper place. You can hear a rustling sound if you listen close enough! Fluffing up its feathers then shaking them may mean your cockatiel is relieving tension.

Fluffing Feathers

A cockatiel's fluffed up feathers trap heat close to its body. It locks the air inside the spaces between the feathers. The trapped warm air and the feathers preserve the cockatiel's body temperature by not allowing cooler air to get to its skin. It is not normal for a cockatiel to be fluffed up for long periods of time unless it is sleeping at night. If a cockatiel is ill it may try to keep its body temperature high by remaining fluffed up. Consult a vet if your cockatiel stays fluffed up during the day for a long period of time. Avoid using a space heater as they release fumes that may be harmful to your bird.


When a cockatiel sneezes it is clearing its nasal passages. It may do it several times a day. If you see discharge from its nostrils consult a vet.


A cockatiel will yawn because it has an oxygen shortage. Cockatiels kept indoors are exposed to home air pollution and stale air. Provide fresh air when possible. It is a very good idea to purchase an air cleaner for your cockatiels room. This will help in many ways!

Night Frights

Cockatiels are known to have night frights more than any other bird. They become afraid of a noise or vibration and jump off their perch and thrash around the bottom and sides of the cage. Feathers can get broken and begin to bleed. They can also hurt their wings, legs, feet and etc. The loud thrashing can be frightening for an owner also. But as soon as you hear your cockatiel have a night fright you should get up and quickly turn on a light in the bird's room. Speak softly to your cockatiel and look over its body for any injuries. Purchasing a night-light is the best way to prevent night frights from happening. An automatic night-light is the perfect choice, it is always plugged in and comes on automatically when it is dark. Giving them a night-light will help them see what is going on it the room and not freak out!

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