The Cockatiel Parrot



  • Common Name:  Cockatiel
  • Other Common Names:  Tiel, Quarrion
  • Scientific Name:  Nymphicus hollandicus
  • Group:  Australian
  • Origin or Range:  Australia
  • Relative Size:  Smaller Than Average
  • Average Lifespan:  16 years
  • Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive

The Cockatiel is one of the best known and most loved of all the parrot family.  They are cheerful, friendly, and easy to train; making them one of the most popular pet birds throughout the world. 

The Cockatiel is perhaps best noted for its wonderful disposition, intelligence and bright personality.  They are much smaller, 12.5 inches (32cm) at maturity, than a lot of the other parrots, making them muchThe Cockatiel easier to care for.  Another wonderful thing about Cockatiels is they are relatively quiet compared to their larger cousins: Macaws, Amazons and African Grey Parrots.  They are much more resistant to viral diseases than their larger relatives.  In addition, some cockatiels have even learned to speak a couple words.  While speaking is not the norm for cockatiels many have been known to whistle long, complex songs.  One of the most notable physical attributes of the Cockatiel is his beautiful crest.  The ideal height of the crest is three inches.  Cockatiels are available for purchase readily and can be seen in many different color variations.

   The 'Normal' Cockatiel's color variation is typical of Cockatiels in the wild.  The primary color of plumage is gray.  Gray is seen on the tail and chest with a paler gray color on the abdomen, the middle tail feathers, lower back and upper tail coverts are also a pale shade of gray.  Occasionally there is some brown tinting as well.  Yellow coloring is commonly seen on the lores, crest, throat and cheeks, with orangey-red markings on the ear coverlets.  White is commonly seen on the wings, appearing on the foreword secondaries, and the greater wing coverlets.  Their bill is gray in addition to gray feet.  The iris is typically dark brown.  The female has notable gray markings in the face and crest, with a duller orange coverlet.  For show, the gray color of normals should be uniform throughout. 

The CockatielThe White Face Pearl and White Face Pied Cockatiels: These are the same as the Normal Cockatiel, but they lack color.  The males will display a pure white mask. 

The Silver Cockatiel: The Silver Cockatiel is aptly named, as its plumage appears a dull metallic silver color.  There are two types of silvers, the Recessive Silver which has red eyes, which is very unusual for a cockatiel, and the Dominant Silver which has black eyes. 

The Pied Cockatiel: The pied Cockatiel is perhaps the best known. The Cockatiel Show standards dictate 75% yellow to 25% dark gray color variation in the plumage.  Many different variations of this ratio can be seen in pet quality Cockatiels. 

The Fallows Cockatiel: The Fallows Cockatiel is quite lovely.  It is seen in light cinnamon with yellow tinting all over his plumage.  Unlike many other color variations its eyes are red. 

The Albino Cockatiel: These Cockatiels are missing all color.  They are a pure white bird with red eyes. 

The Cinnamon Cockatiel: As the name would imply, this Cockatiel has lovely cinnamon plumage throughout. 

The Lutino Cockatiel: The Lutino Cockatiel can only be described as beautiful.  The Lutino exhibits a striking deep buttercup yellow plumage.  The color is consistent throughout; sometimes some wing feathers are seen in a lighter shade of yellow than the rest of the feathers. 

The Pearl Cockatiel: These Cockatiels have well defined heavy pearl markings.  The markings are typically seen in buttercup yellow, with females having more pronounced markings than the males. 

In addition to these color variations, the cockatiel has also been seen in several different types of cross mutations.  Some newer, rare mutations include Olives, Yellow faces, and Pastels. 

The Cockatiel originates in Australia and is seen widely throughout the continent, except in some humid coastal areas.  In their native land they are commonly called "Quarrion".  The wild Cockatiel has a love of areas near water and is also commonly seen in a wide variety of open terrain areas.  This bird is not only common domestically, but is quite common in the wild as well.


STARescue, Inc.

Copyright 2004 [Southeast Texas Avian Rescue, Inc.]. All rights reserved. Revised: 12/10/11