Are cockatiels good for beginners?

Are cockatiels good for beginners?

Getting your first bird can be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with bird care and ownership. When deciding which bird is best for beginners, it is important to consider the bird’s personality, size, care requirements, and temperament. 

While conures can make great pets, they may be too active and demanding for novice bird owners. Cockatiels are often recommended as a first bird, as they have a gentle and inquisitive nature and are relatively easy to care for. Budgerigars and lovebirds are also popular choices for new bird owners, as they are low maintenance and relatively easy to care.

Are cockatiels good for beginners?
Photo: Todd Radell

In search of the best bird for beginners, we went through several bird owner comments across many popular facebook pet bird groups. Most of the owners vote for Cockatiels as the first bird. Following comments are collected from a facebook group named ‘Bird Addicts’ (there is no connection between the facebook group and our website. Although I am a member of that group).

Main post was:

Hello everyone,

I’m looking to get my first bird. I have never owned one and looking for advice, tips, good quality toys, what type of food is the best, what kind of treats are good, etc.

I’m looking at conures and was also wondering if that would be a good beginner bird?

Also wondering if this would be a good cage for a conure?

Morgan Ward

Many responded with cage recommendations, food recommendations and most important bird recommendations. Let’s first check bird recommendations.

Over my lifetime, I’ve had everything from parakeets to conures, cockatiels to African Greys. By far, my easiest, sweetest, friendliest birds were both male cockatiels. My heart birds. I cannot recommend them enough as first birds. Boys are easier, as there isn’t the stress of eggs (bonus=males tend to talk better than females, if that matters to you). I miss them every day.

Kerri McCormick

My first bird was a cockatiel, I’ve heard a lot of other people suggest conures tho, as they tend to be a bit more playful. Cockatiels can be fun too, just not in the same ways as a conure.

Anna Bogart

Most bird owners don’t like the term “beginner bird”. Even the smallest birds are high maintenance and require diligent and care.

A conure is good bird. But you must be willing to give them lots of attention and keep them occupied. They are very active, cuddly and mischievous. They can get into a lot of trouble. They can also be mouthy.

As for the cage, it’s okay if they’ll be out a lot. But try to find one that is wider.

Hira Archambeau

I would recommend cockatiels to anyone looking to get a bird! They are the best. I have two and this is their giant cage! I found it on marketplace, it’s a sugar glider cage! I don’t have a conure so I can’t say, but I have a quaker and he is also a lot of fun! But he’s a lot more work! He’s moody and bites a lot harder and is way louder lol. My two cockatiels are basically my little shadows

Katie Czajkowski

My first bird is a cockatiel. He was hand tamed and attached to me. He would scream in the morning so I will uncover his cage and take him out. He would climb up my chest and stick his beak on my lips and make kisses sound. He is also very friendly with my family and friends.

Marie Lozovskis

My heart has been stolen by Elliott, a male cockatiel. He is super chilled, loves to be a part of whatever I am doing, adores a good scratch, dines with me with terrible table manners, makes me laugh and I feel so much love every day. Ell is only about 7 months old and he is starting to chatter .. “what you doing” (I like being able to answer him back with what I am doing at the time) and ” peek a boo”. Maybe I am biased, but cockatiels are incredibly intelligent and loving and if you are wanting a long life together, maybe consider a cockatiel… your best mate for a good thirty years. Sharing your life with a bird is better than any words I can use. Enjoy your journey.

Karen Roode
Are cockatiels good for beginners?
Photo: Melody Valentine

It is clear that Cockatiels are great beginner bird. Let’s grab some other info about cockatiels.

What size cage is best for a cockatiel

Let’s check for cage recommendations. OP shared a photo of a cage from amazon

Best cage for cockatiels.

With the majority of birds, you are better off looking at a wider cage than taller. Wider cages allow the bird to use their wings if they want whereas only really allows them to climb.

Daryl Dawes

Fresh veggies and spouting seeds.

I put abit of hemp seeds ect on my chop.

Wide cages is always better then tall cages. Toy wise find toys they can destroy, chew ect. Bird tricks on YouTube has alot of helpful information

Emma-lee Rimon

We have the same cage. Watch toys that have string. If you get any rope perches wrap them in vet wrap. They don’t lije to chew on the vet wrap. We put about 8 toys and a few on the sides . We have about 6 to 8 perches in our cages.

Sherry Lynn Demond

This cage is really small for any bird. Once proper perches and toys are added there’s no room left. Birds typically only use top half of the cage. So flight cages are better for them. This cage is only 18” width. 32” width is more suitable for any bird. Bigger is always better as long as the bar spacing is appropriate.

Michele Biddiscombe

Personally, I don’t like tall narrow cages. Birds like wider and like to be high, not low to the ground. I would only use this cage for a very small type of parrot, if it gets out allot, like several hours a day. Bigger is always better, because quite frankly, birds don’t belong in cages.

Gail Osborne

I have this for my grey but it’s only for bedtime and if we go out.. he’s free roam most the time.. I wanted a bigger cage so I brought one and he hated it!! … it’s odd people saying Tiels are easy!! My tiel is much harder work than my grey!.. my Teil wants constant attention and will scream if he don’t get it.. my grey will start t and play on his cage all day

Leeann Jane

Basic rule for a cage is simple- The bigger the better. Usually it is recommended that, cage should be at least 24 inch for single cockatiels or conure. Small cages work only for bedtime. We have a full article on bird cage essential-

Bird Cage | Things to Consider before buying.

Are cockatiels high maintenance?

No, cockatiels are not high maintenance bird. Not even close to other larger parrots like amazon, conure or african greys. But cockatiels do have some certain maintenance like they need a good amount of your every day time, they need fresh foods and at least a 32 inch wide cage (we discussed cage recommendation later in this post). As cockatiels are dust producers you may need an air purifier too.

Do cockatiels need a lot of toys?

Toys are very important for every type of pet bird. Toys keep pet birds occupied and give mental stimulations. So they don’t suffer from boredom. Boredom is not good for pets. It is the main culprit of many other problems like feather plucking, aggression and biting issues. 

Good news is cockatiels do not need a lot of toys. Although they like to chew everything, they are not destructive towards toys. Simple homemade foraging toys or anything that is not harmful to them will do. My cockatiel loves paper towel rolls. Even a simple paper box keeps him occupied all day long. If you want to learn more about toys for your bird, you can read our blog post about it-

Bird Toys | Health Benefits and Importance.

Are cockatiels friendly?

Are you looking for a family bird? Cockatiels should be your first choice. They are super friendly. My tiel just loves people, although he is attached to me. He just needs to hear the door opening, singing starts. Hardly find any guest who did not scratch my cockatiel’s head and enjoyed his song. If you are not afraid of him, he will even play peek-a-boo with you.

Are cockatiels smart?

Yes, they are smart. They can understand commands easily. My cockatiel quickly learned that screaming will not get him my attention. So, when he needs attention, starts singing. If singing doesn’t help then he will groom my hair. His final trick is rubbing head against my neck.

Can cockatiels talk?

No, cockatiels cannot talk. But they are super whistlers. They can whistle pretty much anything they hear. 

Are cockatiels loud?

Cockatiels are not loud. They are nothing loud like other parrots. You can keep a cockatiel in your apartment without bothering your all eared neighbors.

Is it better to have 1 or 2 cockatiels?

Single cockatiels will do fine. They don’t need to be paired. Sometimes 2 cockatiels fight over spaces. If you can manage, 2 cockatiels will bond you separately, no problem. Do not keep male and female in pairs. It will definitely trigger breeding activity. They will be attached to each other and may show aggression towards you. 

Can cockatiels be kept alone?

Not only cockatiel but no pet should be kept alone. They need a good amount of time to interact with you. If you cannot give it time then you should not keep any pet.

Do cockatiels like being petted?

They love being patted. Head and belly scratch are must do activity for cockatiels.

How many times a day do cockatiels eat?

If you keep food in the cage it will eat all day around. This is not a good practice. Try to give fresh foods in the morning, a small amount of good seed mix in the afternoon, again fresh food after evening. But make sure that your bird has drinking water access all the time. Do not leave fresh food for a long time. 

Care to know about your bird food? Check our blog post-

What Should I Feed My Pet Bird | Bird food guide.

Do cockatiels get angry?

Yes they do. Cockatiels do have their moments. Especially when hormones strike. They might be frightened, might be afraid of your new ear ring. 

Should cockatiels be covered at night?

They should be. Covered cage mimics longer night duration which keeps their hormonal level low. On the other hand longer day time means they can forage for food for longer hours so hormones strike for breeding activity. A hormonal bird will do many unexpected things: cage aggression and biting. You might not recognise your sweet cotton candy. 

Is a bird a good starter pet?

For many people, having a pet bird can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, birds are not the best choice for first-time pet owners due to their special needs and requirements. Birds require specialized diets, vet care, and a lot of attention. They also need plenty of space and stimulation to remain healthy and happy. Additionally, birds can be noisy and may not be the best choice for those looking for a low-maintenance pet. For these reasons, it is important to carefully consider whether having a bird is the right choice for you.

If you are confused between cockatiels or conure, we have a blog post that will definitely help you to decide-

Cockatiel Vs Green Cheek Conure | 9 Differences | Bird Addicts