Cockatiels are a favorite choice for house hold pets. First of all, they’re smaller than other parrots, so they are ideal for those who may not have the space for very large birds.
Cockatiels are also beautiful. With their diverse color patterns, and their inherent charm (they are vain birds that like to show off when they know there’s an audience!) they can have the entire household wrapped around their little feathers.
Cockatiels are also friendly. They are less temperamental and aggressive than macaws, and are quite easy to tame. Furthermore, many cockatiels are hand fed, so you more or less know that they are used to human beings.
Many people think that all parrots are talkers. However, some species are much more adept at mimicking sounds than speech. Cockatiels, for example, have difficulty learning words, and even when they do learn phrases, they don’t really enunciate as clearly as the African Gray. Nevertheless, they are very intelligent and can be taught how to whistle tunes, mimic sounds like the telephone, or do tricks.
The prices of Cockatiels will vary according to the color and the quality. Well known breeders who use “show birds” will definitely charge higher, especially since they take extra steps to keep the hatchlings as healthy as possible. They use premium seeds; they may even have had the babies checked by veterinarians—with papers to prove it! These extra guarantees are worth the higher price tag.
You need to check the health of the Cockatiel before buying it from the pet store or breeder. The bird must be alert, bright, and active. Never buy one that just sits in one corner—and puffed feathers are a sure sign of disease or a poor temperament. Instead, look for feathers that are shiny and lie flat and smooth against the body. Check the tail feathers for any signs of fecal matter or moisture, which can be an indicator of poor living conditions or health problems. You should also inspect the feet and nails, as well as the nostrils.
However, the most important consideration before buying a Cockatiel is to examine your own ability and willingness to care for it. Do you have the space for a cage? (Don’t buy a small one just because it can fit in your living room—birds need room to exercise and play!) Do you have the time to clean its cage, talk to it, play with it, and tame it? If you have even the slightest hesitation, postpone your purchase and do additional research.