The average length of a cockatiel can range from 12 to 18 inches, most are around 12 inches long. It's closest relation is

the black cockatoo. Another close relative to the cockatiel is the Galah (rose breasted cockatoo).

A cockatiels average life span is 15 to 25 years but there are reports of them living in to their 30’s.

The cockatiel is and always was commonly known in Western Australia as a weero or weiro. It had been once known in the Eastern States as a quarion but is more commonly known as the cockatiel now.

Our wild cockatiels are found throughout Australia, mainly in the drier in lands.  They can be found in large groups and live in dead tree branches, near rivers and creeks and their movement as flocks is controlled by the availability of water.

Wild cockatiels are ground feeders, feeding on seeds, grasses, leaves, tree bark as well as other vegetation. They also eat grubs and various insects and some various grits.

Cockatiels come in many mutations these days. Many mutations cannot be visually sexed as the males are identical to the females. The normal grey cockatiels are the easiest to sex as the males develop a bright yellow face and females have a washed look about their face. Cockatiels mature around 6 months of age. Before then, the juveniles look identical to females so cannot be visually sexed.

Some other mutations that can be visually sexed are Pearls and White face normal greys.

When warmer weather approaches your male cockatiel can often become quite grumpy and aggressive towards you. When hormones kick in all the cockatiel wants to do is find a mate and reproduce which is influenced heat and humidity. As unbearable as it may sometimes be, your cockatiel is just behaving in a natural way, preparing to raise a family.

Cockatiels can start to behave this way when they mature for the first time at around 12 months old. Some cockatiel mature a little later and others earlier in life. Regardless of when the cockatiel matures, it should not be encouraged to breed until 12 to 18 months old. Before then they’re still too immature to raise young successfully.

Extra daylight hours, abundance of foods and humidity can tempt cockatiels to into wanting to breed. Male cockatiels can sing, serenade into shiny objects as well as their owners, strut around showing off with their wings ½ out, bowing and they can often end in the bird hissing and biting you suddenly but it’s coming from their need to reed and frustration. The tamer the bird, the less fear it has and more likely you will be attacked.

Mature hens can also appear grouchy, looking for nesting sites, shredding paper.

A natural diet consists of a variety of:




fruit & Veg


Star fruit (seeded)

Capsicums, all colours (red is higher in vitamin A)

Snow peas or snap peas

Broccoli (broccoli leaves are very high in Vitamin A)


Pumpkin & seeds (Japanese & butternut are the sweeter ones)



Apple (sparingly)

Pears & seeds (different colours & varieties)

Citrus fruits such as mandarin, orange

Rind of lime, lemon or orange or squirt of these juices.

Bok choy, red lettuces



Grapes (sparingly)

Any nut (except peanuts) about once a month or as a treat

Ground nutmeg


Celery (sparingly)


Paw paw & seeds



Silver beet

Spinach (sparingly)



Generally, foods that are seen to be eaten in the wild are said to be safe for your pet bird. While this is true we tend to forget that wild parrots also have access to certain types foods and grits that they regularly consume to remove any toxins from their bodies. Captive parrots don’t have these resources available to them unless we know how to get them ourselves and offer them. Some foods, unless prepared properly can be considered toxic to the captive parrot. If in doubt, leave it out.

For more information on Cockatiels visit Totally Tiels Forum


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