Skip to main content - The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids



Cockatiel Pet Bird Profile

Size 11.8-12.6 inches (30-32 cm)
Origin Australia
Color Yellow, gray, white; multi-colored
Lifespan 10-20 years
Personality Attentive, likes to chirp, intelligent, easy-going
How to keep them At least in pairs (one of each gender)
Hand-tame bird
Talking bird
Bird Noise

Cockatiel Photo: Stephaniellen/Shutterstock


Cockatiels are funny souls: they’re friendly, intelligent, cheerful, lively, active, curious and love to play. These birds are incredibly popular among experienced bird keepers as well as beginners as they’re so easy-going, loving and affectionate.

Cockatiels like to be near people. They like to sit on your shoulder or hand, cuddle up to you, play with your hair, give you little nose kisses and gently nibble your ear. If they trust you, you can even pet the back of their heads. But watch out: cockatiels don’t like to be cuddled and petted like cats and dogs. After all, these animals are delicate. Cockatiels are very clear about what they want, whether they want to be left alone or would like some company.


Cockatiel Photo: Nipa Noymol/Shutterstock/Shutterstock


Do They Talk?

Yes and no. Cockatiels aren’t known for their ability to mimic speech. But there are exceptions. So it depends on the individual bird. Some have a natural talent, while others simply don’t. Cockatiels are good at mimicking sounds, like alarm clocks or telephones. Sometimes they even mimic songs on the radio. Their song, and their chirping, is lovely to hear. If you want your birds to be able to say lots of words or even full sentences, you’d be better off with budgies or parrots.

Are They Loud?

Cockatiels might chirp and sing often but they aren’t as loud as parrots.


You can tell a cockatiel’s mood by looking at what its crest is doing! When these birds are curious, their crest points up. If they’re very worked up or shocked, the crest will bend forwards over its head. If the crest is halfway and lies against the head without tension, the bird is relaxed and calm. But watch out! If it’s very flat against the head, it means “I’m scared” or “I’m angry” and “leave me alone”!


Cockatiels have two unmistakable characteristics: the feather crest and the orange spots on their cheeks. These are on the cheeks, below the eyes. Males have a yellow “mask” on their faces, while young birds and females don’t.


Cockatiel Photo: Nick Beer/Shutterstock

How to Keep Them

Cage size: at least 78 x 40 x 40 inches (200 x 100 x 100 cm) (W x H x D) for two animals

Cockatiels cannot be kept alone. These animals are so social and suffer incredibly when left alone in their cages. No matter how much time and love you give them, people cannot replace their fellow birds and never will. Lonely cockatiels develop strange habits. They can start to scream or even pluck out their own feathers. These pets should ideally be kept in pairs of one male and one female.

How Much Time Do They Take Up?

Cockatiels need a whole lot of attention and as much time outside the cage as possible each day! If you’re often out of the house or you know that you will be over the next few years (university, time abroad, job, hobbies), you should not get cockatiels.

Fun Facts

Cockatiels were discovered in 1170.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Sunshine is officially the world’s oldest cockatiel. He turned 32 in 2016!

Cockatiels come from Australia, where they fly through the sandy outback and open forests.


See all topics on