Why cockatiel is the best pet bird for the beginner

By Tanin Eh Boon from www.pet-cockatiel.com Cockatiel bird have been kept and breed successfully in many countries all around the world. Cockatiel bird can be considered as the most widely kept parrot other than parakeet or budgie (budgerigar). Lots of research or expert of cockatiel emerge and many keeper have lots and lots of knowledge of cockatiel bird and their care. 

I prepared this topic especially for newcomer birds enthusiast who still unable to make the decision about what species of parrot that they would like to buy. Well, there are lots and lots of parrot out there in the market. Some is very good for petting but some may not. However, for many people who haven't own any pet parrot or any pet birds, many will feel that parrot will be the same, with good personality, very friendly, good talker, a cuddle creature and a good friend when we are lonely. However, in fact it is not. Some parrot may be very nippy (bite) and rude, some parrot will tend to attached to only one person (and rude to other people), some parrot may not talk at all, while some other species may not give permission to anyone to cuddle them. 

Okay, now we may go the some of the reason why in my opinion, cockatiel is one of the best pet bird for the beginner. Having said this, I didn't mean that beginner should only keep cockatiel or cockatiel is the only choices - the pet bird enthusiast actually have other option, lots of them but that is only if they are willing to learn more about the species that they choose or interested in. 

Price Price can become major obstacle for the pet bird or pet parrot enthusiast to own their dream bird. Since price of a parrot can range from few buck up until ten of thousand dollar, price is sometime a critical in deciding which parrot that the new comer should choose. 

In Malaysia and I believed it happen to many other countries all around the world, price of a cockatiel is not expensive. Price may be different based on the colour mutation of the cockatiel and whether the cockatiel is handfed or parent fed. Normally parent fed cockatiel is cheaper than handfed cockatiel. This is because for handfed cockatiel, the breeder have to spent more time, effort and cost to feed the baby, while for parent fed cockatiel, the breeder didn't have to put extra effort to the bird and definitely they will have lower cost. 

If we compared price of a pet cockatiel ( a good, healthy handfed baby cockatiel which can make good pet) with other species with similar quality (healthy and handfed baby birds) of the bigger parrot , the price is totally different. For the beginner, I think the price of a pet cockatiel is reasonable (even it is not the cheapest). 

Noise level Personally I think all parrot will make some noise. Some of them will have rough squak while some other may have melodies whistling. However, for the normal rule the bigger the parrot it is more likely that they able (able but not necessary they will do) to make higher level of noice. I highlight this topic up because I understand that not everyone have the priviledge to own a very big house (and area) which will able to prevent the noice from their parrot to disturb their neigbhour. 

In many occasion, new comer in pet bird or pet parrot keeping fall in love with their dreamed parrot in the first sight or from their reading. They may heard or read about the parrot ability from books or from internet or they may have some friend who have this species of parrot and the parrot able to 'speak' (mimic) or perform some trick. However, many fail to realise that different people will have different level of tolerance towards noice level. For some people, they are okay with the noise that their parrot have (in the morning, afternoon and evening and sometimes all day until middle of the night). We also should consider this with the people live around us a.k.a our neigbhour. 

Cockatiel will create some noise or whistling sound every now and then especially in the morning and late afternoon. However, if only one individual cockatiel is kept, the noise level that they able to create is not much and still at minimal level compared to other bigger parrot. Cockatiel also didn't have high pitch sound like lovebirds. They also normally not always 'sing' like budgie do. Generally one can keep cockatiel in all type of house - whether it is an apartment, a single house, a link house (terrace house) or a bungalow. 

Talking abilities Generally many parrot will able to mimic. This is not happen to every individual birds but lots of them do. The main different among one species and other is clearity of their voice. Normally big parrot will be easier to train to talk and will have clearer voice. Among the best talker known at this time is African Grey Parrot, Eclectus parrot and Amazon parrot. Cockatoos and macaw family also talk but they are not rank in the top talker bird. 

In small parrot category, cockatiel is one of the parrot that have the ability to talk (mimic). Many will learn how to say 'hello' and some other phrase which will depend on the training given by the owner. Based on my reading, the species of parrot that hold the records of most vocabulary ( english word) is budgies! strange right ? I believed that many people will think it should be from big parrot family. 

I have raised many baby cockatiel and most of them have gone to other good house. There are one individual who currently own by one of my friend which able to mimic 'hello'. This particular cockatiel name 'Cupid', and is less than a year when he mimic that word. If the cockatiel is a handfed baby, they are friendly and more trainable. They are more likely to mimic if the owner spend proper time with them everyday. 

Good personality Human have kept parrot since long time. However, in early stage most of the parrot is from wild caught. Only few that is captive breed. Later, aviculturist is growing and more parrot are produce in captivity. I believed now some of the species that we keep today is totally from captive breed stock and not from wild cought anymore. However, most of the parrot is still exotic and their personality is either still similar to their cousin in the wild or they are still not domesticated. I believed that there are many parrot out there in the market that didn't have good personality or friendly behaviour. 

As far as my experience with my cockatiel, which I believed is more than 100 individual bird (many of them have been sent to good home), I think cockatiel have good, calm and friendly personality. Cockatiel rarely bullies other birds even from smaller species. (provided that they are house in good home and good environment). They normally not charge to people to bite. 

Cockatiel also not very moody whereby if the cockatiel is tame, it will be tame. I mean it will not act like a 'good boy' in front of you and bite you if you didn't look at them! Yes, some parrot do this. when you look at them they may stay still but once you didn't look they come and bite you and they bite hard! Having said this, if the cockatiel is not tame, they will still bite us if we try to catch him. 

Cockatiel rarely have mean personality. Most of the cockatiel is friendly, (but some individual is more friendly than other). Handfed cockatiel will still become a tame pet birds even after few year we put them in breeding stock. However, it must be given some time to be used to us again. 

Small and compact in size. Many people likely to be attracted to large bird or parrot. Obvoiusly because they are big and look so elegance. But while these species of parrot look very elegance, they also need lot of space to live happily. For some species of parrot, ten of feets of avairy is their minimum requirement for them to able to perform a healthy lifesyle. Therefore, in many cases many people will prefer to keep smaller species which similair behaviour or pet quality. 

Cockatiel didn't need a very big cage to live happily. A cage of about 3 feet is somehow can make the birds flip their wings and stay healthy. Their cage also didn't have to be very strong as they are not so destructive. When they are outside their cage, they are also didn't create any damage to the furniture. 

To conclude, there are lots of pets parrot in the market. However, for the beginner I still recommend smaller species of parrot or birds. In these smaller species, definitely cockatiel bird is one of the best option that they should consider. For more information about pet cockatiel, please visit www.pet-cockatiel.com 

About the Author 

Tanin Eh Boon is a Malaysian birds breeder which kept pet birds since year 1983. His provide lots of information about keeping pet birds especially cockatiel. Find more information on choosing, buying and keeping pet cockatiel at www.pet-cockatiel.com