A Cockatiel is a type of bird that belongs to the parrot group. Its most basic color is gray with both the male and female having gray bodies, beaks and feet. Mature males will have solid yellow heads and black feathers on the underside of their tails while mature females will have more of a grayish head and barred yellow with black feathers on the underside of their tails. However, there are many different color mutations in Cockatiels.
Cockatiels as Pets
Lutino bodies are those that are white to creamy yellow with orange cheek patches. Females will have yellow barring in the tail feathers while the males will have none. The pied mutation has blotches of color on their bodies which can be any color that occurs in a solid-colored Cockatiel. The difference between male and female is almost unnoticeable that a DNA test has to be done to determine the sex.
The pearl mutations are those with pearl marking over the back and wings. The male usually loses his marking over a period of years while the female retains hers. Cinnamon mutation occurs in Cockatiels that looks like a regular gray Cockatiel but only with a warm brown cinnamon color. White-faced Cockatiels lack the yellow coloration and cheek patches. The Albino mutation would have no pigment whatsoever and will have pure white feathers.
The fallow mutation has red eyes but looks like a cinnamon Cockatiel with a heavy suffusion of yellow. Silver mutation occurs in either recessive or dominant silver. The rarer mutation consists of the yellow-faced and pastel Cockatiel.
Cockatiels need more than seeds. The right Cockatiel diet should also include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the acceptable foods include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, apples, pear, pineapple, guava, mango, fresh corn and cottage cheese. Foods that should be avoided consist of avocados, chocolates, ice creams, cakes, cookies and high fat seeds. A bowl of unsalted and unbuttered popcorn can be sometimes given to Cockatiels as a special treat.
A Cockatiel’s cage should not be too large. A preferable cage would be one that is longer in length than in height. The bars of the cage should be such that the Cockatiel cannot get its head through the bars.
The basic requirements for a pet Cockatiel aside from a suitable cage includes feed and water dishes, perches, cuttlebone and chew toys. The cage needs to be cleaned out at last once a week, including everything that’s in it. Food and water dishes however, should be cleaned everyday to help prevent bacteria growth.
Not all Cockatiels will learn to talk. Male Cockatiels tend to whistle and talk more than their female counterparts. Cockatiels learn best by imitating other birds. A bird clock with different bird whistles placed near the cage will be a source of enjoyment for the birds while enabling them to learn the different whistles.
Breeding of Cockatiels is not especially difficult but would require time and commitment. It is best to delay breeding until the birds have matured both physically and mentally. This should be sometime from 12 to 18 months. A nesting box would be required for this purpose.
Short and frequent sessions are the way to go for training and taming a Cockatiel. The aim is not to end the session until some progress has been made such as a reduction in nervousness. Petting or using one’s hand to pick the bird may be a long time coming but it is possible with persistency and constancy.