Cockatiel




The cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), also known as the Quarrion and the Weiro, is a member of the cockatoo family endemic to Australia.


Cockatiels are native to Australia, where they are found largely in arid or semi-arid country, but always close to water. Largely nomadic, the species will move to where food and water is available. They are typically seen in pairs or small flocks. Sometimes, hundreds will flock around a single such body of water.


To many farmers' dismay, they often eat cultivated crops. They are absent from the most fertile southwest and southeast corners of the country, the deepest Western Australian deserts, and Cape York Peninsula. They are the only Cockatoo species which can sometimes reproduce in the end of their first year.


The cockatiel's lifespan in captivity is generally given as 16–25 years, though it is sometimes given as short as 10–15 years, and there are reports of cockatiels living as long as 32 years, the oldest confirmed specimen reported being 36 years old. Diet and exercise are major determining factors in cockatiel lifespan.


Cockatiels, are generally regarded as good pets or companion parrots, having a sweet demeanor, though this is by no means guaranteed. Like most other pets, the manner in which the animal is raised, handled, and kept has a profound effect on the temperament of the animal. Some birds are quite gregarious and sociable while others can be shy, retreating to the back of the cage when an unfamiliar figure appears. If handled often and if they have a patient owner the cockatiel(s) will become tame very quickly compared to some of the other parrot species.


As a caged bird, cockatiels are second in popularity only to the budgerigar.


Although cockatiels are part of the parrot order, they are better at imitating whistles than speech. They may learn to whistle different tunes. Although they can learn words, the only understandable parts of the words are the inflections, while the consonants are not easily discernible. Their whistles and other mimicking sounds such as 'lip-smacking' and 'tutting' are almost perfect imitations of the sounds their owners make.

Some cockatiels do learn to repeat phrases, though males are generally better at mimicry than females. It is said that some females cannot "talk" simple words and this is true, it mostly occurs in males.


Cockatiel speech often comes out as a "whistle" when they do enunciate, the voice being soft in volume and difficult to make out. Cockatiels can mimic many sounds, such as the bleep of a car alarm, a ringing telephone, the sound of a zipper, the beeping of cell phones or microwaves, or the calls of other bird species such as blue jays or chickadees and loud weather like thunder. They can also mimic other pets such as dogs, occasionally barking back. Males have been known to mimic noises, words and sometimes other animals.


Cockatiels are a popular choice for amateur parrot breeders along with budgerigars. Compared to other parrot species they are relatively easy to breed and the costs for equipment are also quite low.

A clutch can consist of 4-7 eggs, each approximately the size of one's thumbnail. Eggs are laid once every two days and incubated for 18–22 days. Hatchlings fledge between 4–5 weeks old and wean between 8–10 weeks old.

Babies may often be gently handled while in the nest or removed for hand-feeding at 2 or 3 weeks old to help them become more tame and trusting. Puberty (adolescence) is reached around 9 months of age while adulthood is reached around 1 year and 9 months in males and/or 15–18 months in females.