Nymphicus hollandicus, The Cockatiel, is also known as the Quarrion and the Weero. It is native to Australia. The only members of their genus, Cockatiels are now biologically classified as the smallest of the Cacatuidae (Cockatoo) family.
The Cockatiel grows to about 13 inches in length they are predominately grey with the typical crest atop their heads. This crest is used to express their present disposition. When agitated or excited the crest will rise to vertical, it lowers to a neutral position when they’re content and will lay flat on their head when they’re angry or upset. The cockatiel has long tail feathers which make up half of its length.
The Cockatiel is native to the outback regions of inland Australia, and tends to favor the Australian wetlands, scrublands, and bush lands. They live an average of 10-20 years in captivity.
While their plumage is mostly grey, they do have white flashes on the outer edges of their wings, round orange cheek patches which tend to be brighter in males than in females. The males also typically have a yellow or white face.
There area about 15 primary mutations which result in a variety of colors. The result of these mutations is usually an exaggerated bald spot below the crest. In most mutations, the Cockatiel is sexually-dimorphic only in adulthood while both male and female young cockatiels display the dimorphic features typical of adult hens.
Generally, hens as well as immature birds of both genders display either barred, dotted, or striped undersides of their tail feathers while cocks almost always display solid colored undersides of their tail-feathers. A row of clear colored spots can be found on every flight primary & secondary flight feathers of hens and young of both genders, but are usually not present in adult males.
When they breed, which can occur any time throughout the year, they lay four to seven eggs at a time two days apart. Eggs incubate for about 19 days and the young hatch in 18 to 21 days and are independent in seven to nine weeks. Adulthood is reached around 21months in males and 15 months in females. Information on cockatiel care can be found on this site.
Cockatiels are known to be noisy birds and are talented at making a variety of noises. The males more often than the females can learn to speak a few words. The more a cockatiel is able to bond with family members the happier and healthier it will be.
Bonding occurs when people care for, spend time with, play with and train a cockatiel. Training a cockatiel is also a very import part of owning them. Not only does it stimulate them mentally but it creates a bond between you and your bird.
Training also has the effect of teaching your cockatiel a few routines or expectations to make day to day care easier.
Among the common tricks first taught to a young bird and the step up and step down commands which make it easier to retrieve your cockatiel from their cage.
Basic care includes an appropriately sized caging environment, regular cleaning, 12 hours of quality sleep each night, fresh water, fruits and vegetables, a diet based in pellets, daily time and attention outside of their cage, and regular training.
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