Why I Adore My Cockatiel by: Ellen Fusz

Often whistling, chirping, or singing, cockatiels make a wonderful family pet. With their yellow faces and orange cheeks, these friendly and entertaining little mimics look like circus performers. But it’s not just their jaunty attitudes that make them a favorite with bird lovers.  These beautiful creatures are also highly intelligent.  Since they adapt very well to life in captivity, they are often considered almost as domesticated as cats or dogs.  Cockatiels are amiable, calm, and good-natured, which makes them ideal for novice or experienced keepers.  Look to the Australian continent to trace the ancestry of this marvelous avian creature. A member of the parrot group, the cockatiel is part of the same family as the cockatoo.  In the animal kingdom, under the classification of the Aves, birds are grouped into orders or types.  To put it into perspective, the single largest order or type is the Passerine, which means perching bird.  It is estimated  that 50 percent of all birds, over 1,100 species, are Passerines. These include canaries, finches, sparrows, robins, buntings, ect.  The Cockatiel is a part of another order, the psittacines or Hookbilled birds, which contains more that 350 species that includes parrots, parakeets, Lories, and Cockatoos.  Psittacine birds come in all sizes and shapes. Their colors range from a dull brown to the bright, colorful mixtures seen in parrots and macaws. These birds are known for their big heads and their strong beaks.  The upper beak or maxilla, hooks downward, coming to a sharp point.  The lower beak, or mandible curves upward and fits snuggly underneath.  This strong bill is an excellent apparatus that they use to climb, dig, and crack open seeds. The Cockatiel, one of over 430 native Australian birds, was discovered when the continent was colonized by the Europeans in the late 1700’s. Large roosts of wild cockatiels were found in the grassy plains of the interior.  Identified as quarrion by the aborigines, flocks were found in the eastern part of the continent, which was then called New Holland.  In 1838, English Ornithologist and taxidermist John Gould traveled to Australia to catalogue the vast varieties of Australian Avian species.  T=During his two year stint, John along with his wife, Elizabeth, illustrated and recorded this bird which he described as the “Cokatoo Parrott”.  Later classified as Australian Parakeets, these birds were brought back to Europe in the 1840s to be bred as pets.  An importer of exotic animals is credited with giving it the nam3e cockatiel from the Dutch word “kakatielje”, which is in turn borrowed fro the Portuguese cacatilho meaning “little Cockatoo”. This is just the tip of the Information will be sharing. I will follow with more information on Cockatiels.