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A Look At Cockatiels

Learn what species cockatiels are distinctly related to, and their history as pets.

Diane Grindol

Cockatiels come in many color mutation.

Since the advent of DNA testing, we have come to find that cockatiels are members of the cockatoo family. They are most closely related to Gang Gang cockatoos but are much smaller. Gang Gangs are black/gray birds with cheek patches and sexual dimorphism that shows up as a red-colored head in the adult male. They are relatively small birds and naturally quite friendly. Normal-colored cockatiels are small, friendly gray birds with cheek patches and sexual dimorphism that shows up as a yellow head in the adult male.

Originally from Australia, cockatiels were introduced to England in the mid 19th century and, around the beginning of the 20th century, they came to the United States. They became a more popular pet bird in the 1980s, when new color mutations were introduced and more breeders produced them. Most cockatoos are predominantly white or black, and cockatiels — even with their color mutations — retain colors in the white, gray and brown category with some yellow and orange highlights.

Like their larger cousins, cockatiels produce a lot of dust. They grow down feathers that disintegrate into dust. Keep that in mind if you are sensitive to dust or have allergies or a lung condition. Generally, cockatiels have the snugly personality associated with the larger cockatoos, and a well-socialized cockatiel typically enjoys the touch and petting of its owner.

Want to learn more about cockatiels?

Top 10 Cockatiel Questions Answered
How To Gain Your Cockatiel

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Posted: April 28, 2014, 1:00 a.m. PDT

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A Look At Cockatiels

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Reader Comments
always one of my favorite species!
Gabby, San Diego, CA
Posted: 5/3/2014 11:32:10 AM
interesting article
n, n, TN
Posted: 5/2/2014 12:08:59 PM
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