Psittacine Or Passerine? By: Ellen Fusz

Today we are going to continue with the wonderful “Ellen Fusz.”  Her Book is simply titled “Cockatiels” along with Animal Planet as her Books Sponser. Great Team, Great Parnership, they both do our planet Earth well!! So the Question is Psittacine Or Passerine? Ellen describes what the differences are.  “The Passerine birds, or perching birds, consist of nearly  300 genera and more than 1,100 species.  Some common Passerines birds are: Canaries, finches, sparrows, robins, grosbeaks, and buntings. The Psittacine birds, or hookbills,are not as diverse, but still contain  80 genera and more than 350 species.  The most common psittacines are: Parakeets, cockatoos, and cockatiels.  Physical Characteristics –  At maturity, Cockatiels weigh in at about 3 to 4 Ounces (85 to 113 grams) and average 12 or 13 Inches (30.5 to 33 cm) in length from head to tail.  The tail makes up for hale of the body length.  This impressive appendage is not simply dragged behind the bird, but it is actively used both during flight and during climbing. When a cockatiel clings to the wire of his cage, you can observe how he spreads his tail and uses it as a prop for balance and support.  When the bird walks, the tail is folded tight and held just above the ground.  The cockatiel’s crowning glory is his crest, which is made up of many feathers of varying sizes. Breeders often concentrate on this feature to produce varieties with  especially prominent and distinguished headgear.  The ideal height of the crest is 3 inches (7.6 xm).  The longest of these feathers are located at the rear of the crest.  It’s easy to assess the mood of the cockatiel by the position of the crest.  If it is standing upright, the bird is alert and content.  But if the feathers are flattened against the head, it is a sign that the bird is either frightened or angry.  Cockatiels are unusual among psittacines in being dimorphic-the males and females are colored differently.  Depending on the color variety, determining the sex of an adult is usually straightforward, but only after the bird is at least six months of age.  Medical testing is the only way to be 100 percent positive of the gender of your cockatiel. Common Varieties-  In the wild, most cockatiels are predominantly gray.  In captivity, a number of color variations have been derived from the normal gray.  While the most well-known are lutino, pied, cinnamon, pearl, and silver, breeders continue to come up with other mutations for an even wider variety of colors.  When purchasing a cockatiel, perhaps the least expensive and easiest variety to find is the gray.  In their native Australian habitat, most cockatiels are this color. These beautiful little creatures have dark gray feathers covering their bodies.  Their wings have prominent white patches, and there is a yellow wash on the face and the crest.  Most noticeable are the large dime-sized orange cheek patches, which are stronger in coloration on the male than the female.  The bill and the feet are gray, as is the cere-the fleshy patch above the beak where the prominent nostrils are located.  The tail is long and tapered, and the underside is barred with yellow and gray.The male and the female look very similar until maturity.  At that time, the male feathers become more colorful.  Lutino- A strikingly beautiful bird, the lutino cockatiel is a popular variety.  Due to a gene that prevents the formation of melanin, or dark pigment, this cockatiel is white with a yellow wash.  The bill and the feet are pink, and the eyes are red.  Within this exquisite variety, the male and female look strikingly similar.  However, with more careful observation, you can see that female’s tail feathers have a yellow barring, while the males do not.  Pied-  Pied cockatiels have large patches of color that can appear anywhere on the body.  Some pieds have only an isolated odd white feather, or even just a splotch of pink on toe.  Others are so heavily pied that they appear to be lutinos.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the male from the female by just looking at the markings. Dark Eyed Clear- When a bird looks like a lutino but has the common black eyes, it is usually an extremely heavily pied bird, and it is called a dark-eyed clear.  Technically, it is a gray bird covered completely in white patches. Cinnamon and Fallow-  In these birds, two genes have been identified that dilute melanin,or dark pigment, producing brown instead of gray or black.  In the cinnamon variety, gray areas are replaced with dark brown.  These birds are called cinnamon because their color is sometimes compared to the color of cocoa. The color of the male is somewhat deeper than that of the female.  Fallows seem to be a lighter brown than cinnamons, and their eyes are dark red.  Pearl-  With a lovely scalloping effect of white edging on each feather of the bird’s back and wings, the pearl cockatiel is a festive looking variety. These “Pearling spots” are yellow or white and can be found on the back, nape, and wings.  On heavily marked pearls, some small yellow or white markings can be found on the breast.  Pearling is caused by a gene mutation.  It can be combined with other mutations to produce cinnamon pearls, whiteface pearls, ect.  Typically, the adult male will lose his pearling after his first molt. An interesting aspect of this mutation is that males have the pearling effect for only about a year, while females retain if for life.  Silver-  The silver cockatiel looks like a diluted version of the gray.  With red eyes, a pink beak, and pink feet, the male has a deep yellow face and bright orange cheeks.  The female tends to be less colorful.  Whiteface  A relatively new variety, the whiteface lacks any yellow or orange coloration. This leaves the face completely white in the male and completely gray in the female.  Without the traditional cheek patches, the gray on the body appears to be much stronger, thus causing some to refer to this bird as “charcoal”.  Albino-  The genetic combination of a whiteface and lutino may produce an albino, a totally white bird.  There is no way to visually discriminate between the male and the female because both sexes are completely white.  Once quite rare, these birds are more common now.  Ellen Fusz.

Next week we will continue going through such a thorough discription of the lovely Cockatiel breed. Until then, God Speed!

The Importance of Pets

Pets are very important to all that own them. Those that own pets live longer more satisfied lives. They have been known to lower our blood pressure and give us a reason for each day. I have owned both dogs and cats and they all left their paw prints on my heart. Each individual pet has their own personality and their relationship with you is built on love and trust.

Some dogs are hunting companions. They enjoy retrieving game with their owners and enjoy their outings together. These dogs make great family pets also. I had an Irish setter that went hunting for birds with my husband. She was all business in the woods but when home was the sweetest dog. This dog also was taken to Obedience trials and won ribbons in dog shows. She helped make cherished memories for our family.

I have seen guide dogs as they allow their owner to participate in activities they could not without their presence. There used to be a man guided into our church every Sunday to sit in the first row by his guide dog. The priest went out of his way to bring him the communion host. The dog was obedient and a blessing to this man and it was beautiful to watch the dog as he worked. No one was allowed to pet the dog while he was doing his job. He was a beautiful German shepherd.

There are other dogs that are just family pets. I had two other dogs that I used to walk daily. I miss them and their times with me as they have now passed over the rainbow bridge. The second dog was an English setter and the third dog was a Gordon setter. There are so many fun memories that are in my mind.

Of course we had cats with these dogs. It is a myth that dogs and cats do not get along. If they are brought up together they tolerate each other and sometimes even learn to love each other. It is best to bring them in as either puppies or kittens and then they will have a bond for each other and even may play together.

I just can not imagine a day without my pets in my lives. If I am sick, I have one of my cats that will meow constantly and pace beside me telling me that I am in need of asthma medications. This cat, Joshua I speak of as my angel kitty. Tinkerbelle my newest member of our household has not learned yet to anticipate such events with me. I know that my pets help me throughout each day showing me their love and attention. They are worth more to me than any diamond ring.

I know my own life would not be fulfilled without the presence of a pet. They give me a reason to live as each day with them is a treasure to behold in the pages of my own life’s book.

I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts on pets in our lives.

Source by Christina R. Jussaume

Choosing a Finch As Your New Bird Pet – The Pros & Cons

Learn Why A Finch Will Or Won’t Make A Good Pet Bird

Finches can be lively and interesting pets. If you are a bird-lover, and appreciate the company of a fairly self-sufficient pet, a Finch might be “just what the doctor ordered”. They thrive in pairs, and are fine with the addition of other finches, as long as the new members of the family also come in pairs. As a matter of fact as long as the size of the cage is large enough for the number of birds living together the more you have, the merrier. You need to make sure the additional Finches are the same size, otherwise larger Finches could become aggressive.

Finches come in a wide variety of colors, are extremely cute, love to take daily baths, and are fairly easy to breed. One of the most important things about any pet you choose is knowing what the pet can offer to a person or family and what things about the pet that might be harder to handle. Let’s look at the pros and cons of having a Finch as a boarder.


Finches are beautiful and come in a wide array of colors and patterns. They also have a variety of personalities.

Your pet finch will need very little upkeep. Their favorite food is seeds with Finch oriented birdseed being available at most pet stores.

They often breed in captivity which allows for the fun of watching the entire mating and hatching process.

Singing, chirping, and twittering, the peaceful and happy sound of birds being birds will waft from their cages. I find the morning is a little brighter when I take the cover off their cage and they start their happy talk

Most Finches will live approximately 10 years, a real plus, since there is bound to be an attachment that grows as the family watches and enjoys the evolution of their little families.

Pet Finches are great apartment birds as their cage needs are minimal and they are not too loud.


Most of us want to pet or play with our avian friends but pet Finches do not like to be handled &. prefer the company of other Finches.

Although watching the birth of new Finches will be fun, there is also some responsibility on your part to make sure that the breeding goes well. You will have to provide a nest or the makings of a nest for the mother. They will also need plenty of light.

They must be fed and watered daily. As they eat and drink they tend to scatter the food and water all over the place.

Finches are not good housekeepers. When they eat, seed husks and small pieces of food will fall to the floor, so you will need to find the right location for the cage that will make clean-up easier.

Cleaning your pet Finches cage can be quite a job, since they are not usually happy about your disruption of their habitat. Some people have 2 cages so they can clean the cage thoroughly with a minimum of disruption. Open both cage doors and put cages together. Put fresh fruit or their favorite toys in the 2nd cage and they will go in with a minimum of fuss. Just reverse when done cleaning the main cage.

Finches are very seldom quiet but it’s fairly easy to quiet them. Just cover their cage like you do at night to get some peace and quiet.

A decision to have a pet in the home is a serious one. Even a small one like a Finch can mean extra work but once you have a system its not that bad and the joy your get from you pet Finches will more than offset it. Once you have researched and know what is required to raise a happy, healthy pet Finch, you will be ready to enjoy the pleasant company of one of nature’s little wonders. Being greeted by your pet each morning will come to be the highlight of your day.

Source by Don A Levy