PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. cockatiel
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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name:  Leptolophus hollandicus
  • Common Name/s:  COCKATIEL,  QUARRION,  WEIRO.
  • Sub Species:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Most of Australia except the coastal areas.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Most common in the dry arid interiors of Australia generally in lightly timbered areas, but has adapted to farming and grain growing areas.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure.  Has adapted to farming and grain growing areas.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Common, but the pure normal colour are very hard to find.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 9 - 12 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 6 months  
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  12 months of age onwards.  May breed for 10 or more years.
  • Lifespan (estimate):  15 - 20 years.  Can live up to 30 years in captivity.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic  Some colour mutations are monomorphic and require surgical sexing or DNA testing.
  • Colour mutations:  Many, and increasing every year.  Genetically pure "normal" colour birds are becoming almost impossible to obtain.  Birds that look like the "normal" colour bird may be "split" for up to 8 recessive colour mutations plus the sex-linked colour mutations.
  • Availability:  Pet shops and bird dealers.
  • Temperament:  Excellent beginners bird and they also make good companion birds (pets).  Popular world wide.  Easily bred and generally good parents.  May breed throughout the year.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $40
  • Description Of Adults: They are actually a small cockatoo.
  1. Length: Approx. 320 mm (or approx. 13 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 80 - 100 gms (or approx 2.5 - 3 ozs)
Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for general details on the housing of Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Suitable bird for those with smaller aviaries and are generally not destructive to the timber of aviary frames.  They will chew on plants within a planted aviary.  The Cockatiel is generally non-aggressive and can be housed with other non-aggressive parrot species, finches and some of the dove species.

They can be housed in a large aviary as a colony, but it is also housed and bred successfully in small aviaries as single pairs.

The Cockatiel is an easy bird to house and will accept and breed in a cage of about 1200mm long , 600mm high and 600mm wide (4 x 2 x 2 feet through to a standard parrot aviary.
An aviary of at least 2 metres (7 feet) long is preferred.  An aviary of about 3 metres long (10 feet) is ideal.  Aviary should be about 900 mm wide (3 feet) and 2100 mm high (7 feet).
Birds housed in a cage or suspended cage during the breeding season should be allowed access to an aviary during the non-breeding season for adequate exercise and to regain a good level of fitness.

Birds bred to produce specific colour mutations need to be housed as one pair per aviary.

Cockatiels are usually very tolerant birds and can usually be housed with smaller birds in a mixed species aviary.

Non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches of various diameters, and placed at various angles, can be used for perches. These natural perches may be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds may chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

Diet / Feeding:  Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

In the aviary these birds need a quality "small parrot mix" or "budgie seed mix" supplemented with plain canary seed and small amount of sunflower seed.  Seeding grasses along with some leafy green vegetables such as silverbeet, spinach or endive.  A variety of fruits e.g. apple, pear, orange and a variety of seasonally available vegetables should be offered as part of their daily food intake.  Sprouted or soaked seed can be offered.

Some birds will consume insects such as mealworms, especially if they have young in the nest.  The mealworm larvae, pupa and beetle can be offered.  The insects provide a good source of easily digested protein.

Commercial parrot pellets may form part of a balanced food intake.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.  Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.  This cockatoo breeds well in either a log or nest box.

  • Nesting months:  May breed year round if conditions are suitable.  Spring to autumn is preferable.  Winter breeding should be discouraged.
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  400 - 500 mm (or approx 16 - 20 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 180 - 225mm. (or approx. 8 - 9 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx 180 - 225mm (or approx. 8 - 9 inches)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 70 - 75 mm (or approx  3 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100mm (or approx  4 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location & height of log / nest-box =  in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  45 degrees through to vertical.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

The Cockatiels often have a messy nest (soiled with droppings) so it may be necessary to replace the nesting material during the raising of each clutch.  Take care if doing this to birds that do not adapt to regular nest inspections.  Do not allow them to re-nest in a "dirty" nest.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole.  Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 3.  Eggs per nest  4 - 6.  Incubation approx.  21 - 23 days.  Fledge approx.  4 - 5 weeks.  Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.

Nest inspection is best done when the adult birds are out of the nest.

The young Cockatiels should be removed from the aviary as soon as they are fully independent so as to allow the parent birds to commence another clutch without interference from the young birds.

A closed metal leg ring will be required on each young bird to record the genetic back ground of each bird.  This applies equally to the colour mutations as well as the pure normal colour birds.  The genetic history should be made available with the purchase of each bird.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 56 No. 5 May 2002 Page 96-98
  • A/A Vol 54 No. 6 Jun 2000 Page 121-122
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 3 Mar 1999 Page 61-65 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 52 No. 4 Apr 1998 Page 79-82
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 9 Sept 1995 Page 209-212 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 7 July 1994 Page 159-164
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 9 Sept 1992 Page 207-208
  • A/A Vol 44 No. 9 Sept 1990 Page 222-224
  • A/A Vol 39 No. 8 Aug 1985 Page 171-172 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 12 Dec 1980 Page 227-228 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 33 No. 6 Jun 1979 Page 108-110
  • A/A Vol 29 No. 6 Jun 1975 Page 91-93
  • A/A Vol 29 No. 5 May 1975 Page 74-76
  • A/A Vol 28 No. 6 Jun 1974 Page 90-99 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 17 No 9 Sept 1963 Page 117-119 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol 14 No 1 Jan 1960 Page 1-3, 12 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol  9 No 10 Oct 1955 Page 117.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 2 Feb 1950 Page 19.
  • The Bulletin No 14, Nov 1943 Page 6 - 7.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2005 Page 571.  
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2001 Page 487-491
  • ABK Vol 11 Issue 6. Dec-Jan 1999 Page 274-276
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1998 Page 586-587
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 2. Apr-May 1996 Page 66-67
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1996 Page 11-13
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1996 Page 604-607
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1995 Page 502
  • ABK Vol  7 Issue 3. Jun-July 1994 Page 124-129
  • ABK Vol  7 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1994 Page 15-19
  • ABK Vol  6 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1993 Page 560-561
  • ABK Vol  5 Issue 2. Apr-May 1992 Page 86-87
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 1. 1990 Page 18-21
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 9. 1989 Page 319-322
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 8. 1989 Page 280-284
  • ABK Vol  1 Issue 1. 1987 Page 11-12

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