Cockatiels are one of the most popular pet birds in the United States, second only to the Budgie. They are a popular bird choice because they are intelligent, strong, easy to care for, and easy to breed. Also, while Cockatiels are friendly and sociable birds, they enjoy being left at home for long periods of time — provided they have friends!
Also known as Isabelle Cockatiel or Cinnamon Teil, Cinnamon Cockatiel has a unique and beautiful coloration caused by a recessive gene. This recessive gene affects the bird’s melanin pigment, producing a brown pigment that doesn’t turn into the gray or black color commonly seen in other cockatiels.
See this post on Instagram
- Common Names: Isabelle Cockatiel, Cinnamon Teil, Quarrion, Weiro
- Scientific Name: Nymphicus hollandaicus
- Adult Height: 10-12 inches
- Adult Weight: 3-4 ounces
- Life Expectancy: 16-25 years
Origin and History
Cockatiels are native to Australia, and are the smallest member of the Cockatoo family. In the wild, these birds live in large flocks, and since the early 1900s have been popular pets due to their friendly personalities and the fact that they are very easy to breed. All Cockatiel pets are bred in captivity, as trapping and exporting them from Australia has fortunately been made illegal. The Cinnamon Cockatoo is the result of a genetic mutation found in captive birds and carefully developed by breeders, and as a result does not exist in the wild.
This little bird is a popular pet because it is gentle, docile, friendly, and affectionate, and enjoys being close to its owner. They live in large herds in the wild, and this social aspect makes them more likely to be kept as pets. They are tough birds that don’t mind being left alone, although if left alone a lot, it’s a good idea to have a partner to keep each other company. They are much quieter than other parrot species, making them ideal for homes or small apartments.
If they are well-bred and sociable, they are gentle and docile birds, but wild birds tend to bite. Fortunately, their social nature makes them friendly and accommodating to strangers. They are very intelligent birds that can be easily trained to learn tricks and make a wide variety of sounds and calls, even basic speech mimicry.
The biggest indicator of a Cockatiel’s mood is its crest. A straight-up crested feather usually indicates that the bird is startled, a crested feather held close to its head means the bird is stressed or scared — often accompanied by a hiss, and a slightly pulled back crested feather is an indication of a calm and composed Cockatiel.
- Very clever
- Full of love
- Easy to maintain
- Very social
- Shut Up
Needs a lot of attention
Tend to bite occasionally
Speeches & Vocalizations
One of the things that make Cockatiels such a popular pet is that they are much calmer than most other parrot species. They like to vocalize, though, with a whistle and even talk, but not too loudly. They are experts at imitating voices, especially males, and have been known to trick their owners into thinking their phone is ringing or their alarm is going off! Copying speech is also not a problem for Cockatiels, although they don’t have as extensive a vocabulary as other parrots like the African Grey.
Cinnamon Cockatiel Colors and Marks
The unique coloration of the Cinnamon Cockatiel comes from a sex-linked recessive genetic mutation. It lacks the gray color found in most cockatiels and these grays are replaced by tan to chocolate, cinnamon, dyes, hence their name. Males usually have bright yellow faces and bright orange cheeks, while females usually have pale orange cheeks and white faces. Both sexes have bright yellow tail feathers, and this further accentuates their cinnamon coloration.
There are several variations of the Cinnamon Cockatiel, including:
Cinnamon Pied: The overall plumage is a combination of cinnamon and yellow of varying intensity.
Cinnamon Pearly: Pearl feathers with yellow edges and various shades of cinnamon.
Cinnamon Pearly Pied: A combination of the above two variations, with a cinnamon brown covering area that is usually gray.
Caring for Cinnamon Cockatiel
Since Cinnamon Cockatiels are social animals, they are best kept in pairs, but if they have sufficient attention and interaction with their owners, they can also live happily alone. Their cages should be roomy and spacious — big enough to flap and spread their wings, and big enough to accommodate perches, toys, and food bowls. A tall cage with horizontal bars for climbing is best and will give them plenty of opportunity to climb and get adequate exercise. Even so, they still need a lot of time outside the cage as well.
Cockatiels like to forage and play on the ground, so it’s a good idea to cover the floor with newspaper and hide snacks and food for them to forage. They are very messy birds that produce a fine, fine dust on their feathers which is a function of their grooming. This of course will leave a powdery coating all over their cage, so they need to be cleaned regularly. You might even consider bathing her occasionally or giving her a bath to help reduce this mess.
Like other domesticated cockatiels, their wings need to be trimmed once or twice a year. While it is possible to do this yourself, it requires precision and we recommend taking your bird to a professional. To prevent injury to themselves, their owners and other birds, they also need to have their nails trimmed 2 or 3 times a year.
Related Read: Can Cockatiels and Parakeets Live Together in One Cage?
General Health Problems
Cockatiels are generally healthy, vigorous birds that suffer from very few health problems, however, there are potential problems that can arise for all pet birds. If your cockatiel begins to show lethargy, weight loss, and disheveled coat, there may be a medical problem. Most of these symptoms occur due to nutritional deficiencies, as most pet birds are fed only grains. Make sure that they get all their nutritional needs if they show any of the above symptoms.
Another common problem with pet birds is the habit of plucking their own feathers incessantly. This is largely due to a lack of socialization and interaction, and if they start exhibiting these behaviors, they need to find a partner to prevent loneliness. Many pet birds are prone to respiratory illnesses, and if you notice them wheezing, sneezing, or coughing, they should go to the vet immediately.
Diet and Nutrition
Many pet bird owners make the mistake of feeding their birds almost solely with seeds, but variety is key in the diet of parrot species. Whole grains are a great addition to a Cockatiels diet, but whole grains should only make up about 30% of their daily food intake because they are high in fat. Commercially available pellet diets are the best option, as they will provide your Cockatiels with all the necessary nutrients they need.
Your Cockatiels diet should also be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables including carrots, spinach, apples, bananas, and oranges. Cuttlefish from Cuttlefish is also highly recommended as it can provide essential calcium and help keep your bird’s beak neat and healthy. And of course, fresh water must be available at all times.
Cockatiels are active birds who like to climb and perch, ladders, and toys should be available in their cage for mental and physical stimulation. Time outside their cage is also important, and a few hours a day will allow them to stretch their wings and keep them social. They love to shred with their strong beaks, and toys they can tug, tug, and tear are a great way to keep them working out. Climbing ropes are also a great addition, as well as natural wood perches.
Cockatiels, especially if they are alone, love mirrors, and can easily spend all day interacting with their own reflection. While this is great in very small doses, we highly recommend removing the mirror from their cage as it can prevent them from doing any exercise.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Cinnamon Cockatiel
When adopting or purchasing a Cinnamon Cockatiel, or any other parrot, we strongly recommend purchasing a bird as young as possible or one that has been handled and socialized regularly. Birds that are not hand-bred or adequately socialized can be challenging to tame.
Breeders usually charge a higher price than pet stores, but buying from a breeder will usually result in a much healthier and friendlier bird. Be careful buying Cockatiels from general pet stores because you don’t know their history or genetic lineage. Cinnamon Cockatiel is rarer than the normal gray variety and therefore usually costs a lot more. That said, Cockatiels are generally fairly inexpensive birds, and usually sell for around $300-$400.
Pet shops specializing in birds and bird breeders are great choices, as they are run by owners who have a love and enthusiasm for birds. This usually means the birds are healthy, well cared for, and procured from a reputable breeder. A rescue group is also a good option, but be sure to carefully assess the bird’s temperament before purchasing, and make sure the plumage is smooth and healthy-looking.
The Cinnamon Cockatiel is a popular pet bird, and for good reason. They are easy to care for, loving, and intelligent animals that are well adapted to living alone. If you’re not often at home with your bird, it’s a good idea to get a pair as these birds are very social animals that will quickly get bored and lonely on their own. Although they like to vocalize and imitate sounds, Cockatiels are much quieter than most parrot species making them ideal for living in apartments.
Lastly, Cockatiels can live for 35 years and above in some cases and the result is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. They make great friends, and if you’re up for the responsibility, they’ll keep you company for years to come!
Featured Image: AnnJane, Shutterstock