aviary  JakovljeviŠ
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Nymphicus Hollandicus

This species, very common as pets, origins Australian wide opened steppes and savannas. Even in natural habitat, cockatiels are the most popular birds, beside budgerigars. Cockatiels live and mate in flocks. Formed couples are very caring and devoted parents, and they always look after their nests made mostly in holes of the trees.

Basic and the only natural color of these parrots is dark grey with brighter grey on the belly and white outline feathers on the wings. The crest is yellowish-grey and the cheeks are red. Difference between male and female is the color of the face and head. The male's head is mostly yellow while the female has more grayish color of the head. Female's cheeks look a bit pale-red, but that is just because it has darker head feathers color. When eight months old, cockatiels become sexually mature. Female lays 4 to 7 white eggs and the incubation period is 21 day. The chicks stay in the nest for 3 or 4 weeks and after that period they start their own independent life in the flock.

male (on the left) and female (on the right)  

Their food is a mix of seeds, proso, oat, sorghum, sunflower, hemp, enriched with lots of fruit, vegetables and greens. Carrots should be either chopped in slices or scraped, because cockatiels do not use their legs when eating. Spinach is also very healthy as well as leaves of dandelion, branches of parsley, seeds of non-spicy paprika and cucumber, while lettuce should be avoided because parrots have a problem digesting it. Whole cabbage family should be also avoided for the same reason as lettuce, even though birds would eat this kind of vegetables.

As a pet, cockatiels are easy to domesticate and it is very friendly. They enjoy in cuddling especially behind the crest and near the ears. This mostly stands for females, rather than for males. Males are more arrogant, but sings nicer. No matter the gender, cockatiels can easy learn to imitate various tunes, whistles and even melodies. With a bit of an effort and training they can learn to imitate quite a number of the words, but this depends not only on the bird but on the owner too. However if you choose this species for a pet you will have 20 years for training it, because that is their optimal life span. The cage for this kind of the bird shouldn't be small. If you have in mind that we are talking about 30 to 40 cm big parrot, you understand that needs for enough free space isn't a joke. Just look at its tail. However, after some twenty days cockatiels are ready to be let out from the cage and to explore the room. Make sure you have curtains on the window so the bird cannot harm itself. They can harm themselves because they do not make difference between the glass and free space. After some time when gets to know inmates and to recognize voices, it is mostly common for them to sit on shoulders or heads, and to eat from hand or mouth.

the name of this kind of cockatiels is:
"pied cockatiels"

Beside their basic color some mutations have been made, so now there are pearl cockatiel whose color is like forged steel, or isabel-white coffee, then we have white birds with grey wings or the mix of these two colors. In California there was genetically made first fully white cockatiel, in 1959. After quite a time in genetics research, scientist made so-called recessive cockatiel that has no color on the cheeks. As well as normal cockatiel mutations, there are mutations made from recessive ones.
  white (albino) cockatiel

white (albino) cockatiel (on the right),
behind it-on the left two multicolored malesand on the right pearl female

various sorts of multicolored cockatiel
cockatiels while in mating period

Becouse of the crest on the top of the head, some ornithologists say that cockatiels are small cockatoo, becouse cocatoos are the only parrots with crest. Some other ornithologists are denying all the similirities between these two species, beside visual one.

However, cockatiels are very popular, devoted, loveble and friendly middle sized parrot who aren't choosy when it comes to eating. All in all they are easy to handle and take care and full of joy.