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Cockatiel As Pets: Best And Worst Things About Owning It

Cockatiel As Pets

A cockatiel is a medium-sized parrot belonging to the cockatoo family. This bird is prized as a good household parrot and companion because of its friendly and intelligent nature. But what are the best and worst things about owning a cockatiel as pets, you ask? 

The best thing about owning a cockatiel is its extended lifespan compared to most pets. Even better, the bird is easy to tame, entertaining, easy to care for, and less noisy. Some negative aspects about owning a cockatiel include the bird producing a lot of dust, getting bored quickly, and being messy.

So then, is it a good idea to own a cockatiel? We suggest you read this blog post before making your decision. 

Best And Worst Things About Owning A Cockatiel as Pets: At Glance

Best And Worst Things About Owning A Cockatiel as Pets

If you are having a hard time deciding whether or not to get a cockatiel, here is what you need to know. 

Best ThingsWorst Things
Loving, friendly, docile, and affectionateMessy inside and outside the cage
Easy to tame and train when youngProduces a lot of dust
Incredibly intelligentGet bored easily
Long lifespanDemands a lot of attention
Very entertainingGood at hiding signs of sickness
Can eat a wide range of foodsSensitive respiratory system
Less noisyLacks extensive vocabulary
Not a high-maintenance birdProne to night frights

What Are The Best Things About Owning A Cockatiel?

Cockatiels are lovable birds, just like most parrot species. Now, if you are considering getting a cockatiel as a pet, here are some reasons to buy one.

What Are The Best Things About Owning A Cockatiel

1. Loving and affectionate

A cockatiel has one of the best personalities. Besides being gentle, this pet bird is also loving and affectionate towards its owner. As such, it will enjoy being around you. It also likes to be held and have its crest and head rubbed.  

2. Small size

A cockatiel is a small-sized bird, measuring 12 to 14 inches in length from head to tail. Therefore, a 24 by 18 by 24-inch minimum cage should be enough for one cockatiel. Thus, even if you live in a studio apartment, you can keep this bird since its cage does not take up much space. You can even travel with your bird thanks to its petite size.

3. Highly intelligent

A cockatiel has over 400 million neurons in the brain. This makes it a brilliant bird. The bird is intelligent enough to learn tricks like shaking hands, turning around, bowing the head, and somersaults. In addition, a cockatiel can quickly learn to sing and mimic complex phrases, words, and songs.

4. Long lifespan

The lifespan of a cockatiel in the wild is approximately 10 to 15 years. But in captivity, this bird can live for up to 25 years. This is as long as you provide your cockatiel with proper care, a healthy diet, and enough exercise.

5. Less noisy

All parrot species are noisy. However, some, like the cockatiel, are less noisy than others, especially when tamed. For this reason, you can keep this bird in an apartment without worrying about disturbing your neighbors. Generally, a female cockatiel is quieter than its male counterpart.

Cockatiel Less noisy pets

6. Eats a varied diet

Another good thing about a cockatiel is that it has a varied diet. Besides seeds, your bird can eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, pellets, berries, and grasses. The best part is that a cockatiel is not a picky eater. This is especially true if you introduce your bird to these foods when young during the weaning stage.

7. Makes many sounds

A cockatiel can make different sounds to express its emotions. For instance, your bird may produce high-pitched screams to get your attention when scared, upset, sad, or lonely. Sometimes, your bird will chirp when happy and content. Other sounds your bird can make are whistle, hiss, squawk, and beak grinding.

See also:  Cockatiel Health Concerns: Common Illnesses and Preventive Measures

8. Entertaining

A cockatiel is very charming and entertaining. Sometimes, the bird may dance to your beloved song and steer around your shoulder happily. Your bird may also master beatboxing and making funny faces to keep you entertained. 

9. Not overly high-maintenance

A cockatiel is relatively easy to maintain, making it an excellent pet bird for beginners. All it needs is a spacious cage with lots of toys, food, and freshwater to stay happy. You will find it even easier to maintain once you have potty-trained the bird. 

What Are The Bad Things About Keeping A Cockatiel?

Although there are many good things about owning a cockatiel, this bird also has some downsides. These include:

What Are The Bad Things About Keeping A Cockatiel

1. Messy

Like other parrot species, a cockatiel creates a lot of mess when eating. The bird usually scatters food everywhere, including in their water bowl and outside.

In addition, if not potty trained, your bird will leave its droppings anywhere. Therefore, you must be ready to clean the cage regularly before owning a cockatiel.

2. Dusty

The feathers of a cockatiel are known to produce significant amounts of fine powder white dust during preening sessions. This helps keep the feathers silky and soft.

Unfortunately, if you or someone in your household has a sensitive respiratory system, you may have to deal with allergic reactions. The good news? You can reduce the dust by giving your bird regular baths.

Cockatiel Dusty

3. Need lots of attention

A cockatiel is a social bird and enjoys companionship and affection from other birds or the owner. Ideally, you must let out your bird from its cage for at least 2 to 3 hours daily. So, if you have a busy schedule, you might not want to adopt this pet bird.  

4. Easily bored

All captive birds quickly get bored, and the cockatiel is no exception. Therefore, you must provide your bird with many different toys to keep them entertained. If not, your cockatiel may engage in destructive behavior like feather-picking, screaming, and self-mutilation.

5. Prone to night terrors

Your bird will quickly get scared if it spots shadows at night or hears sudden noises. This is because the bird lacks good eyesight in the dark. But if you cover your bird’s cage at night, you don’t have to worry about the night frights. You must also ensure there is no light source in the room.

6. Not good talkers

A cockatiel is not a good talker compared to species like the Amazon parrot and African Greys. Sure, this bird is capable of talking. However, it does not have an extensive vocabulary like other parrots.

7. Delicate respiratory system

The respiratory-system of a cockatiel is very sensitive. It cannot tolerate fumes, smoke, and other airborne irritants. This means you must do away with scented candles, air fresheners, harsh cleaners, perfumes, and Teflon non-stick pans in your house.

8. Expensive to maintain

If you are on a tight budget, you will find a cockatiel expensive to care for. This is because the bird requires a regular healthy diet and vet care, which is not cheap, without pet insurance. Besides, good food and toys can be a little pricey.

Cockatiel Expensive to maintain

9. Difficult to tell when sick

A cockatiel is quite good at concealing its illness to protect itself from predators in the wild. In captivity, your bird will also hide its initial signs of sickness for quite some time. Therefore, you must be keen to spot changes in your cockatiel, like lack of appetite, ratty-looking feathers, and tail bobbing. 

See also:  Cockatiel Puffed Up: Why Does It Puff Up? How to Help?

Is It A Good Idea To Have A Cockatiel?

Yes. Although there are several bad things about owning a cockatiel, this pet bird also has many good traits. For instance, this bird is very social. So, if you want companionship, getting a cockatiel would be a good idea.

Additionally, a cockatiel can give you endless hours of entertainment, preventing you from getting bored. It is also easy to care for once you master its routine and what to feed it.

Is It A Good Idea To Have A Cockatiel

However, if you cannot afford to buy a spacious cage for your bird, you should not get a cockatiel. Also, getting a cockatiel would not be an excellent idea if you cannot find time to interact with it. This is because this bird is very playful and demands attention. 

Are Cockatiels Aggressive Birds?

Cockatiels are generally gentle and friendly birds. However, like other pet birds, they can become aggressive due to previous traumatic experiences or fear. Sometimes, a cockatiel can become aggressive when protecting its cage, nesting box, or food.

Are Cockatiels Aggressive Birds

Additionally, adult male cockatiels are notorious for being aggressive toward a person that does not return their affection. This mostly happens during the breeding season due to hormonal changes. Your bird may also act aggressively when bored due to inadequate mental stimulation. 

Should I Get A Female Or Male Cockatiel?

Both sexes make excellent pet birds, each with pros and cons. For instance, you might want to get a female cockatiel because:

  • It is much quieter
  • Less aggressive
  • More affectionate

On the other hand, female cockatiels are prone to egg binding and chronic egg laying. Sometimes, an egg may get stuck inside your bird’s oviduct, which is life-threatening. This is called egg binding.

Chronic egg laying is when your female cockatiel lays unfertilized eggs every now and then. Consequently, this depletes the bird of its vital minerals like calcium from the body.

Should I Get A Female Or Male Cockatiel

When it comes to male cockatiels, these birds are known for:

  • Being the best talkers
  • Having brightly colored plumage than females
  • Being expressive for things they don’t like

Conversely, male cockatiels are a bit noisy because of their talkative nature. Also, the birds can be aggressive during the breeding season and are more attention seekers than their female counterparts. 


Before we conclude our guide about the best and worst things about keeping a cockatiel, let’s check out frequently asked questions.

1. Are cockatiels difficult pet birds?

No. The birds are friendly, like to be touched, and are easy to tame when still young. However, you must be patient when taming them. Even better, the birds don’t have many needs and are easy to keep entertained with various toys.

2. Are cockatiels suitable for beginners?

Yes, despite the many negative things associated with owning a cockatiel. A cockatiel is suitable for any first-time pet bird owner because of its small size, sweet nature, and ease of care.

3. What should I know before getting a cockatiel?

Cockatiels are very playful and need diverse toys, including ladders, swings, perches, bells, and ropes. Also, you must schedule at least half an hour daily to interact with your bird.


The pros of owning a cockatiel are many. Therefore, it can be a good idea to get one whether you are a beginner or an experienced pet bird owner. Besides being loving, this bird boasts a long lifespan; it is easy to tame and entertaining.

However, before getting this bird, you must also be aware of its cons. For instance, you should know the bird needs attention, quality food, and vet care. More so, you must be ready to clean its mess after eating. 


Peter Kaestner

Hi there, my name is Peter Kaestner and I am the owner of As a avid bird watcher and enthusiast with a passion for ornithology, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other bird lovers through this blog. As someone who regularly participates in bird-related forums and groups online, I am dedicated to helping others learn more about these amazing creatures. However, it's important to note that while I am happy to share my expertise and advice, it is always crucial to consult with an avian veterinarian before making any decisions that could potentially impact your bird's health or well-being. Your bird's health and happiness should always be your top priority, and consulting with a professional is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions on their behalf. I hope that through my blog, I can help make a positive difference in the lives of birds and the people who care for them. Whether you are an experienced bird owner or just starting out, I encourage you to use this resource as a way to learn more about these fascinating animals and how to provide them with the best possible care.View Author posts