Cockatiel Lifespan: How long do cockatiels live? These highly intelligent little birds from Australia are a type of parrot. In the wild, they live in flocks, mate for life, and live 10 to 15 years. How long do cockatiels live in captivity as pets? The truth is that you have the power to extend their longevity by giving them special care. Read on and we’ll tell you about the longest cockatiel lifespan recorded so far.

What Is The Average Cockatiel Lifecycle & Daily Routine?

In their native habitat, cockatiels are nomadic, traveling in pairs or flocks following the food supply. They prefer open areas like grasslands, open woodlands, and farmlands near bodies of water. Although they forage on the ground, they sleep and nest in trees.

Spring rains trigger mating behavior. After a romantic courtship of dancing and chirping, the bonded couple will set up the nursery in a hollow tree cavity. It takes about 20 days for the five or so eggs to hatch.

Both parents care for the fast-growing hatchlings who are ready to leave the nest after five weeks. Growing just over a foot long, they’re ready to start their own families after a year and a half.

How Long Do Cockatiels Sleep & What Are Night Frights?

how long do cockatiels sleep

Cockatiels are diurnal, becoming active when the sun rises and going to sleep when the sun goes down. Their night vision is poor so they easily startle at night. Disturbances in the dark such as sudden noises or bright flashes can cause them to panic, especially if they feel trapped.

You’ve heard of people dying from heart attacks caused by terror: this happens to birds. Always keep a soft light in the room where your birds sleep and leave some openings in the drape over their cage so they can see out. Birds in a new environment are especially prone to night frights, so if you hear sudden thrashing or screaming sounds, reassure them in a gentle, soft voice until they calm down.

Cockatiel Psychology: How Your Cockatiel Thinks & Feels

Cockatiels like bright colors, making a racket, exploring, climbing, and dismantling things. They’re mostly herbivores – vegetarians – and ever wary of predators such as eagles, hawks, snakes, and cats. Having a prey mentality means being alert, watchful, and more likely to flee than fight. In many ways tiels are like horses: curious, intelligent, and loving, but cautious and easily spooked.

When you have cockatiels as pets, you’ll want to introduce new situations, whether objects, sounds, or activities, gently and gradually so your birds won’t feel threatened. Since they consider you a member of their flock, they’ll observe everything you do. And copy you. For example, they’ll more readily accept new foods if they see you eating them.

You can demonstrate a new toy or a water sprayer to your birds by letting them see you enjoy it first. The importance of the flock in a cockatiel’s life means that birds live happier lives with a companion tiel.

Brainy Birds Vs. Birdbrains

Some studies show that birds have more neurons in their brains than mammals, including humans. They crave mentally stimulating activities, especially with food as a reward. Tiels love to learn tricks. They enjoy the challenge but they also enjoy making their humans laugh.

In addition to having good memories, they’re expert mimics and often learn to imitate whistles and chirpy songs. They quickly learn to understand some words and even say a few. Cockatiels demonstrate emotional intelligence by responding to situations with joy, grief, depression, and even humor. We’ll talk about toys and games for these brainy birds shortly.

Learning to Understand & Speak Cockatiel Language

Like humans, cockatiels use a combination of sounds and body language to express themselves and communicate messages. Their vocal language includes soft clucks and chirps, whistles, repeated sounds, complex songs, location checks, alarm calls, and danger screeches. They also hiss to indicate displeasure and make scritching sounds with their beaks to indicate contentment.

You’ll notice that the crests on their heads are always moving. An erect crest indicates alertness, whether from surprise, something interesting, or a disturbance. When flattened, the crest usually indicates preparation for a squabble. Similar to other flock animals, they have a variety of wing, tail, and body positions to communicate with each other. You can find hours of videos to see more.

Cockatiel culture: They usually do a morning and evening check-in, a roll-call repeated back and forth to make sure everybody’s okay. As a flock member, you should take part and respond appropriately. Social vocalizations and displays include companionable “conversation,” courting, squabbling, invitations to explore, and danger warnings. Asocial displays showing aggression are intended for intruders and predators.

Why Is Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness?

This proverb from ancient texts is as true as it ever was because hygiene is the key to health. In the wild, birds can fly to clean locations whenever necessary, but keeping them in a dirty cage will shorten their lives. ?

The cockatiel lifespan will be lengthened and the quality of life improved if you clean the cage often and give your birds the opportunity to bathe daily.

Bathing not only moisturizes dry skin but also conditions feathers. Keratin is the protective fibrous protein substance that helps make up birds’ feathers, beaks, and nails.

Regular bathing also reduces feather dust. Cockatiels generate more than any other bird species. This white powder comes from the breakdown of the keratin sheath on feathers and from specialized down feathers that help insulate and waterproof birds’ bodies. In captivity, they can inhale too much of it and develop respiratory problems.

How To Bathe Your Cockatiel

Each tiel has his or her own individual preferences when it comes to bathing. Morning is best because then they have all day to dry naturally without getting chilled at night. Keep windows closed and fans turned off to prevent drafts. Don’t ever use a hairdryer on your birds – as they preen their wet feathers, they’re cleaning themselves while distributing oils and natural powder over their bodies. Here are three methods of bathing:

  • Offer a shallow dish or pan, wide enough to allow space to flap their wings, and with a solid base to prevent tipping over. Use an inch or so of room temperature water. Remove it when they finish.
  • Mist with room temperature water, being sure to spray high so the mist falls down upon them instead of directly into their faces. If it’s their first time, let them observe you spraying your own skin so they realize that there’s no danger.
  • A few birds like the faucet in the sink or the shower, but only experienced bird people should try this method. The stream has to be room temperature and low pressure. The basin should be sanitized with a pet-friendly cleaner. Fumes from ammonia or bleach are toxic to birds. Finally, be sure your pet has a perch, towel, or secure place to stand.

Are Cockatiels Good Pets & Is A Cockatiel A Good First Bird For Beginners?

are cockatiels good pets

Sometimes the best thing we can do for a pet is not get one. Birds require attention and specialized care. You’ll need to find a veterinarian specially trained to treat birds. Cockatiels can be messy, loving to play with their food by knocking the seed hulls as far as they can. They shed their feathers, which drift through the room when they flap their wings.

Feather dust is a known allergen for many humans, and cockatiels produce a lot. For those reasons, if you’re prone to allergies, do research before adopting cockatiels as pets. Another thing: cockatiels are as loud and chatty as human kids. Louder, even! Finally, how long is a Cockatiel’s lifespan? Because healthy birds can live for decades, you’ll want to be sure to have a backup plan in case something happens to you.

Releasing them into the wild would be the same as someone dumping you alone in a strange city. Check out online groups for bird-lovers so you can learn more about living with cockatiels.

What Do Cockatiels Eat & What Is The Best Cockatiel Diet?

Their main diet consists of plant materials like seeds, sprouts, grains and grasses, fruits, vegetables, and whatever else appears interesting. With their strong beaks, they can pick open nuts and break hard foods into small pieces. Opportunistic feeders, they’ll nibble on insects and meat bits when available.

Because these birds are ground foragers, you’ll often hear your tiels making small clucking sounds as they happily poke around the bottom of their cage in search of food. Fresh and naturally dried fruits and veggies should make up about a fifth of their diet. They also need a cuttlebone or mineral block to provide calcium, vitamin D, and the added benefit of beak trimming.

Should I Feed My Bird Seeds Or Pellets?

Cockatiels, like humans, need a varied diet with a balance of the right kind of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water. In captivity, they depend entirely on you. Nutrition science is constantly evolving as researchers learn new things.

High-quality pellets are based on up-to-date information, but pellets still leave out certain natural ingredients containing micronutrients. Most bird experts believe that the best compromise for captive birds is a mix of high-grade pellets with a natural seed mix designed for cockatiels, and supplemented by fresh veggies and fruits. Cockatiel food, while similar to some parrot and parakeet formulations, is NOT the same.

How long is the Cockatiel Lifespan? They’ll definitely live longer when you choose organic American-sourced food without added dyes, preservatives, pesticides, or other unnecessary additives. For the healthiest, happiest, longest cockatiel lifespan, feed them right.

Note: Don’t be fooled by a seed cup that looks as though it’s still full at the end of the day! Your birds will eat the seeds but leave all those hulls sitting there, except for the ones they fling out of the cup for fun.

What Foods Are Toxic to Cockatiels?

cockatiel lifespan

They can eat almost any natural, unprocessed food you eat except the following:

  • Avocado
  • Cabbage: While not immediately poisonous, the leaves contain substances that build up in the cockatiel’s system; others interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients
  • Caffeine
  • Celery strings: May cause blockages in the digestive tract
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Eggplant
  • Fats
  • Fruit pits and fruit seeds: Many contain a cyanide-like compound
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peanuts: Peanuts aren’t a problem but they commonly harbor a toxic fungus
  • Potatoes (raw)
  • Rhubarb
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes (raw): Many veterinarians think they are too acidic when raw
  • Xylitol: A commonly used sweetener toxic to many animals

How Should I Give My Cockatiel Water?

Cockatiels need fresh water daily. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t leave it for them. Safe water from the tap, a well, a spring, or a bottle is acceptable. Since not all water sources are regulated, filtered water is safest. Distilled water isn’t recommended because it lacks natural minerals.

Although water bottle sippers are convenient for humans, they tend to build up colonies of invisible bacteria. Bowls of fresh water placed away from perches are better. In the wild cockatiels can fly to the best water sources. Water from hoses, barrels, and other uncovered containers is likely contaminated.

To increase your tiels’ water intake, offer treats such as cucumbers and apples. In wondering about the cockatiel lifespan, you now see some of the factors in promoting long life.

What Kind of Cage Does A Cockatiel Need?

how long do cockatiels live in captivity

Social Distancing

Cockatiels need space to stretch and exercise their wings. In fact, birds who can’t do this often develop fatty tumors and become obese. Since two cockatiels are happier than one alone, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure space for two flapping birds.

The issue is not “fitting” into a cage, but having room to thrive. There needs to be space for several perches of different thicknesses, and room on the bottom for foraging. That means buying the largest size you can afford, one made of rust-resistant metal without toxic paint or fragile coatings.

Stainless steel cages can last up to half a century (How long do cockatiels live in captivity? Not quite that long!) Powder-coated steel cages are increasingly popular because of their durability and safety. Galvanized wire cages are prone to chipping and flaking, allowing birds to ingest toxic levels of lead and zinc.

Aluminum cages provide a strong, lightweight, and eco-friendly alternative, but they can be expensive. The ideal cage will have caster wheels for moving around and a secure latch.

Location, Location, Location

Place the cage away from drafts and vents, direct sunlight, frequent movement, and loud noises. You also want to avoid a location where potential predators like cats can terrorize them. Being social critters, tiels enjoy being around you, and they’re interested in whatever you’re doing.

Cage placement also involves avoiding the possibility of toxic fumes from cleaning supplies, paints, and even overheating Teflon pans. Canaries were used for years in mines to detect carbon monoxide because birds are so sensitive to toxic gas.

Let There Be Light

Filtered full-spectrum UV light is essential during the day. At the same time, they require access to shade to prevent overheating. For an optimum cockatiel lifespan, ensure adequate sleep by partially covering their cage around sundown. Leave some openings so they can peek out, and use a nightlight or other soft light in the room. Uncover them as close to sunrise as your schedule allows.

Can I Let My Cockatiel Fly Free?

In the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the seagulls talk about freedom, commenting that “the gull sees farthest who flies highest.” (To learn more about other intelligent birds, check out our blog on seagulls.) It’s vital for the cockatiel lifespan and emotional well-being to spend time outside the cage.

Many bird lovers create a special bird playstation on top of the cage. More about bird playgrounds when we talk about cockatiel toys. But did you know that you can buy harnesses and leashes for your tiels? Your birds will need to be trained from an early age, and you’ll need some training yourself to use the equipment safely.

Should You Clip Your Cockatiel’s Wings?

When done for the right reason by an experienced and knowledgeable person, clipping is painless. The main benefit is to prevent attempts to fly while injured. Clipping a bird’s wings for the convenience of having a controllable pet is like taping up toddlers’ legs to keep them out of trouble.

Flying is a natural part of healthy bird behavior that plays a role in their psychological and physical well-being. When performed by an untrained person, wing clipping can cause psychological trauma as well as painful infections and even death. All of us with pets have had to modify our homes – it’s our responsibility when we choose to share our lives with animals.

Bird-proofing the home means checking ceiling fans, wall hangings and mirrors, cords, blinds, open windows, open doors, location of other pets, and active children. You’ll want to train your birds to come to you as well as to return to their cage. You can gently “herd” them with a wooden cane that resembles a branch. Using a butterfly net to catch them risks breaking feathers and bones as well as causing emotional trauma.

What Are the Best Bird Toys?

Toys are not just toys. In the wild, cockatiels use their beaks and claws in the daily routine of survival when climbing as well as picking apart food. Toys not only keep their skills sharp and their muscles developed but also relieve boredom.

You can use yourself as a good comparison. What grown-up toys and activities do you enjoy? Driving the car? Gardening? Making music? Websurfing? Makeup? Photography? Sports? Puzzles? Crafts? Your cockatiels need the same kinds of recreation to satisfy their need for mental and physical exercise.

Because tiels are basically ground feeders, they enjoy picking through fresh grass and hay or under sheets of clean newspaper in search of food. They like chewing things apart. If your birds quickly destroy their toys, that means you’ve chosen well! Whether you make or buy toys, be sure to choose clean non-toxic materials. You can assemble playstations and playgrounds by putting several items together and placing them on top of the cage or on top of newspapers on a safe surface. Many rabbit and infant toys are ideal. Here are some suggestions below.

Specifics On Best Toys

  • Perches of different thickness
  • Things to climb like ladders and chains
  • Things that move like rings and swings
  • Things to crawl through like cardboard tubes and ferret huts
  • Mirrors
  • Musical toys such as bells, chimes, crackly paper, or even xylophones
  • Fabric, straw, wood, cardboard, and paper items of different textures and colors to pick apart
  • Foraging toys such as tubes or or balls made of paper, cardboard, or straw stuffed with hidden treats

You can also find videos and tutorials on the internet on games to play with your cockatiel, tricks to teach them, and ways to encourage singing and talking. Enjoy everyday activities with them by sharing videos, playing music, and even demonstrating simple processes such as twisting jar lids and zipping zippers. How long do cockatiels live? Longer with toys and games and lots of fun!

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Cockatiels & The Cockatiel Lifespan

how long do male cockatiels live

What is the cockatiel lifespan compared to parakeets?
Cockatiels live approximately 10 to 20 years while parakeets live from 5 to 10 years although sometimes longer.

What’s the Oldest Cockatiel on Record?
According to the Guiness World Records, the oldest known documented cockatiel was named Sunshine and living in New Mexico in 2016 at the age of 32. A bird that lived to age 36 is widely reported but still unconfirmed.

How Can You Tell the Age of a Cockatiel?
One of the ways to guess an adult’s age is by looking at the size of the cheek patches, which grow larger with time. Another way is timing how long they sleep – older birds may sleep up to 18 hours daily. Tail feathers provide a clue: shorter in younger birds but longer than the body length after one year.

Longer nails, curved inward and slightly cracked, indicate an older bird. Foot scales increase in number and are rougher in older birds. Finally, younger birds have larger eyes that appear smaller as the years go by.

Final Thoughts: What Do Cockatiels Need to Be Happy and Healthy?

Now you have lots of answers to your question, “How long do cockatiels live?” You understand that what you do really matters in the cockatiel lifespan. A happy flock is a healthy flock, and that means for you, too!


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