The cockatiel is one of the smallest members of the parrot family. They are native to Australia's deserts. 


This bird is small, only about 6 inches from beak to tail-tip. They, like other parrots, have zygodactyl toe arrangements. A crest of feathers, similar to that of a cockatoo, top their heads and can be raised or lowered. Eyes are dark brown to black, or red in some color mutations.

Male on right; female on left.

The cockatiel is incredibly varied in colors. The "classic" cockatiel - what this bird naturally appears as in the wild - is mainly gray with a white wing patch. Females have a yellow-and-gray-striped tail, yellow-tinged face, and orange cheeks, while the male has a black tail, bright yellow head, and red cheeks. However, in captivity there are numerous variations. Maincolor mutations include -

  • cinnamon, a brown to gray-brown
  • emerald, a green-gray
  • lutino, a yellow and-or a white

Pattern mutations, which compliment the main-color, include -

  • pearled, where the feathers are rimmed with yellow or white
  • pied, where the feathers have patches of white or yellow
  • whiteface, where all yellow, red and orange is replaced by white
  • peach-, yellow-, or gray-cheek, in which the cheek is the color mentioned

All of these patterns and maincolors can be combined (ie, emerald-pearled whiteface, where a green-gray tiel would have white-rimmed feathers and and white markings).

Behavior and DietEdit

Cockatiels are omnivorous; though they eat mainly grains, nuts, fruits and some vegetables, they will eat insects as well, especially during brooding.

Cockatiels are flock birds, and travel in large groups. They are gentle and known for being great pets. 


  • When whiteface and lutino combine, the result is "albino" - all white with pink or red eyes. However, cockatiels don't have the lack of color genes required to be a true albino.
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