The Cockatiel is the only species of parrot in its genus (nymphicus). Its scientific name is said to be derived from the mythic “nymph”, because of their beauty, and hollandicus is a reference to New Holland, as Australia was referred to during the time of the discovery of this species.
The cockatiel is a small bird, about 12- 13″ in length, weighing in the vicinity of 90 grams on average. They are an abundant species native to Australia and is distributed over a large inland range. They are found in pairs or small flocks in the wild, though large groups may gather at common water sources.
The cockatiel is best described as a dark grey parrot with white patches from their shoulders extending along the covert feathers on their wings. The tail is long and accounts for half of their body length. The males of the species have a bright yellow face with bold orange cheek patches. The females have similar characteristics, but their face plumage is duller and she has barring on the underside of the her tail. There are several color mutations available in today’s aviculture.
One trait all cockatiels have in common is a large, recurved crest which is erected during times of excitement or fear. Cockatiels share this trait with cockatoos and it has long been assumed that cockatiels must be biologically related to the cockatoo.
A cockatiel needs a cage spacious enough to accommodate multiple perches, toys, food bowls and have plenty of room to flap its wings without hitting them against anything. A cage with a large door front is ideal because it makes it easier to return a cockatiel to its cage, especially since cockatiels can be flighty birds. Cockatiels are natural ground foragers and will forage on the bottom of the cage if given the opportunity; cover the cage floor with newspaper and sprinkle crumbled treats or millet sprinkle seed for your cockatiel to find. Cockatiels are social birds and thrive when given opportunities to interact with you, whether it is gently petting their cheek feathers, being talked to or simply being in the same room as you.
A healthy cockatiel diet includes commercially balanced diets, such as Lafeber Premium Daily Diet Pellets, as well as other food, fresh vegetables and some seed. A well-cared-for cockatiel can live for more than 20 years.
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