Skip to Content

Pied Cockatiel

How To Care For A Pied Cockatiel

Native to Australia and now kept as pets to bird lovers everywhere, the pied cockatiel is the most popular species of the parrot family.  They are considered one of the fastest fliers in Australia and despite their many mutations; they are easily recognized by their erectile crests and curved beaks.

The crest of the pied cockatiel will become erect when it gets excited and then flattened if it is submissive, angry or defensive.  This may be a reason why they make such outstanding pets because their owners can easily read their moods and understand them.  Unlike other members of their family, they actually have quite long tails which gives them a parakeet appearance.

The genes that are behind the creation of the bird’s pattern actually have no visual influence over it but rather act as a disturbance.  The pied appearance is a stunning combination of grays and whites that fall in random patterns.  The most spectacular looking birds display symmetry with their blotch placement.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict what the outcome will be when you breed them though.

Care And Feeding

The pied cockatiel really needs a large cage and ideally, the bird will be let out daily for exercise.  Minimal cage requirements should be no less than 18 inches high by 18 inches wide and 24 inches in length.  This allows enough room for the bird to spread its wings completely without interfering with any toys that are hanging around.

Make sure your bird has a really nice quality perch because that is where it will be spending a good amount of time.  Your pied cockatiel will typically eat a diet full of seeds, sprouts, fruits, nuts, vegetables and bird pellets.

Always be sure that your bird has fresh drinking water every day.  Also, they do enjoy a bath so placing a shallow dish of water in the bottom of their cage will allow them to groom themselves.

Cockatiels are very active birds.  They love to play and climb so be sure to include plenty of toys in their cage as well as an abundance of exercise time outside of their enclosure as well.  Most people have great success training their bird to whistle and talk, especially the males.


The pied cockatiel is a breeze to train and tame.  Basically, all you need to remember is repetition, patience and of course, time.  Birds that are between 12 and 14 weeks old are ideal to train.  When you begin training, it is important to share the responsibility between all members of the household or it is likely to turn into a one person bird.  If you want you your cockatiel to talk, you should get a male because females are traditionally much quieter.  Also, if you find that your young bird likes to bite, begin your training with a stick before graduating to your finger.  A good thing to remember is that training is easiest done in a smaller room that has little distraction.

The initial training stage involves creating trust with the bird.  Always move very slowly and speak soft.  Holding a treat between your two fingers, try to coax it to perch on your hand.  This will not happen overnight.  Make sure when the bird actually does perch properly that you reward it with the treat so that it knows that it did what you wanted.  Although training can take place several times per day, you should limit the sessions to a maximum of 20 minutes each time.

When you are ready to move on to trick training, you will need plenty of food rewards.  Ringing bells and climbing ladders are good tricks to begin with.  Keep in mind that the species is much more successful at learning to do beak tricks rather than claw tricks.

Related Resources: