Are Cockatiels Part of the Parrot or Cockatoo Family? A Comprehensive Guide.

Cockatiels are small, long-tailed parrots that are native to Australia. They have a distinctive crest of feathers on their heads that they can raise and lower depending on their mood. Cockatiels are sexually dimorphic, which means that males and females have different physical characteristics. Male cockatiels have bright yellow faces, while females have a duller grey face. Additionally, male cockatiels have brighter and more vivid plumage, while females have a more subdued coloration.

Origins and History of the Cockatiel

Cockatiels are native to Australia, where they can be found in the arid regions of the country. They were first discovered by Europeans in the late 18th century, and became popular as pets in the 20th century. Today, cockatiels are one of the most popular pet birds in the world.

The Parrot Family

Overview of the Parrot Family

The parrot family, or Psittacidae, is a large family of birds that includes over 350 species. Parrots are found in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world, and are known for their intelligence, playfulness, and ability to mimic sounds and speech.

Characteristics of Parrots

Parrots are characterized by their strong, curved beaks, zygodactyl feet (two toes facing forward, two toes facing backward), and their ability to mimic sounds and speech. They are social birds that require interaction and stimulation to thrive.

Examples of Parrots

Some popular parrot species include African Grey Parrots, Amazon Parrots, Macaws, and Cockatoos.

The Cockatoo Family

Overview of the Cockatoo Family

The cockatoo family, or Cacatuidae, is a family of birds that includes 21 species of cockatoos. Cockatoos are native to Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and are known for their striking plumage and playful personalities.

Characteristics of Cockatoos

Cockatoos are characterized by their distinctive crests of feathers on their heads, which they can raise and lower depending on their mood. They are also known for their strong, curved beaks and zygodactyl feet. Cockatoos are intelligent and playful birds that require a lot of social interaction and stimulation.

Examples of Cockatoos

Some popular cockatoo species include the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, the Goffin’s Cockatoo, and the Rose-breasted Cockatoo.

Are Cockatiels Part of the Parrot or Cockatoo Family?

Explanation of Cockatiels’ Classification

Cockatiels are part of the parrot family, or Psittacidae. While they share some physical characteristics with cockatoos, such as their crests of feathers and zygodactyl feet, they are more closely related to other parrot species.

How Cockatiels Differ from Both Parrots and Cockatoos

Cockatiels differ from other parrots and cockatoos in a few ways. They are smaller than most parrots and cockatoos, and they have a less curved beak. Cockatiels are also less vocal than other parrot species, and they do not have the ability to mimic speech as well as some other parrots.

Caring for a Cockatiel

Feeding and Nutrition

Cockatiels require a diet that is high in protein and fiber. They should be fed a combination of high-quality pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasional treats such as seeds or nuts. It is important to avoid feeding your cockatiel foods that are high in fat, sugar, or salt.

Housing and Environment

Cockatiels require a spacious cage that allows them to move around freely. The cage should be equipped with perches, toys, and other enrichment items to keep your cockatiel active and engaged. It is also important to provide your cockatiel with a healthy environment, including fresh water, clean bedding, and access to natural sunlight.

Training and Socialization

Cockatiels are social birds that require interaction and stimulation to thrive. It is important to spend time with your cockatiel every day, providing them with socialization, training, and enrichment activities. Cockatiels can be trained to do tricks and even mimic sounds and speech, making them a fun and engaging pet.


In conclusion, while cockatiels share some physical characteristics with cockatoos, they are actually part of the parrot family. However, cockatiels do have some unique characteristics that set them apart from other parrots and cockatoos. With proper care and socialization, cockatiels can make wonderful pets that bring joy and companionship to their owners.

ThePetFaq Team