Which Bird Talks Better: Cockatiels or Parakeets? A Comprehensive Comparison

Cockatiels and parakeets are both small, intelligent, and social birds that make excellent pets. They are also known for their ability to mimic human speech and other sounds, which makes them even more appealing to some bird lovers. However, while both birds have some similarities in terms of their talking abilities, they also have some notable differences that could affect your choice.

Physical and Behavioral Differences

Body Size and Appearance

Cockatiels and parakeets are both small birds, but cockatiels are slightly larger with a length of up to 12 inches, compared to parakeets that measure approximately 8 inches. Cockatiels have a distinctive crest on their head, which they can raise or lower depending on their mood. They also have more muted colors, with gray bodies and white or yellow faces, while parakeets come in a wider range of colors.

Behavior and Personality

Both cockatiels and parakeets have social and affectionate personalities, but they have some differences in behavior. Cockatiels tend to be more laid-back and calm, while parakeets are more energetic and playful. Cockatiels also tend to bond closely with their owners and are more likely to seek out human interaction, while parakeets can be more independent and prefer to play with toys or other birds.

Learning and Imitation Abilities

Cockatiel’s Learning Abilities

Cockatiels are known for their intelligence and ability to learn tricks and mimic sounds. They are also good at recognizing and repeating words and phrases that they hear frequently. Cockatiels can learn to say simple phrases like “hello” or “pretty bird” and can even whistle tunes or imitate sounds like doorbells or phones.

Parakeet’s Learning Abilities

Parakeets are also intelligent and can learn tricks, but they are generally not as good at mimicking human speech as cockatiels. They are more likely to repeat sounds and whistles than actual words or phrases, but they can still be trained to say a few simple words.

Vocalization Differences

Cockatiel’s Vocalization Abilities

Cockatiels have a wide range of vocalizations, from chirps and whistles to screeches and squawks. They are also good at mimicking other bird sounds and human speech. Cockatiels can be quite vocal and may make noise throughout the day, especially if they are bored or lonely.

Parakeet’s Vocalization Abilities

Parakeets are also vocal birds, but they tend to make more high-pitched chirps and tweets than cockatiels. They may also whistle or imitate sounds, but they are less likely to learn human speech than cockatiels.

Training for Talking

Cockatiel Training for Talking

To train a cockatiel to talk, it is important to start with simple words or phrases that you repeat frequently. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, when the bird repeats the word correctly. Gradually increase the complexity of the words or phrases and be patient, as it can take months or even years for a cockatiel to master human speech.

Parakeet Training for Talking

Training a parakeet to talk follows a similar process to training a cockatiel. Start with simple words or phrases and use positive reinforcement when the bird repeats them correctly. However, it is important to note that not all parakeets will learn to talk, and it may be more difficult to train than a cockatiel.

Other Factors to Consider


Cockatiels can live up to 20 years with proper care, while parakeets have a slightly shorter lifespan of around 10 years. If you are looking for a long-term pet, a cockatiel may be a better choice.

Costs and Availability

Cockatiels are generally more expensive than parakeets, with prices ranging from $100 to $300. They are also less common than parakeets, which can be found at most pet stores for around $20 to $50.


In conclusion, both cockatiels and parakeets can be good talking birds, but cockatiels tend to be better at mimicking human speech and can learn more complex phrases. Parakeets are still capable of learning a few simple words and can make excellent pets for their playful and affectionate personalities. When choosing between these two birds, consider their physical and behavioral differences, learning and imitation abilities, vocalization differences, as well as other factors like lifespan and cost. Ultimately, the best bird for you will depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

ThePetFaq Team