Cockatiels are those cute gray birds (they also come in white and mottled yellow/gray) with the orange cheeks and the tell-tale crest (think: cockatoo) on their heads. What makes this Australia native such a wonderful pet is the fact that it's a relatively easy parrot to care for (yes, the cockatiel is in the parrot family) and is highly amicable when handled often. Learn other reasons why a cockatiel makes such a great pet bird!
Cockatiels can live between 15-20 years and are a hardy bird to raise. They don't require a lot of space, just a medium sized cage, and are not so large a bird that children are intimidated by them. Male cockatiels 'talk' more than females do, and their talk is comprised mainly of random whistles, chirps, melodies that they pick up, and even a few words. Some cockatiels can learn several short words.
Cockatiels are also smart birds that love to get into mischief. They get along with other birds, but be careful about placing too many males in one cage- they may fight for dominance. Cockatiels are also naturally curious, and like to play with dogs and cats with human supervision.
Watch out, though- cockatiels can bite, and they let you know they are planning to strike by hissing at you first. While their bites can draw blood, they are not as dangerous as the bites of a larger parrot.
Cockatiels are also relatively cheap birds to have as well. Ranging from $40-$150 in most cases, anyone can have a great pet parrot without having to spend a lot of money. Cockatiels love shoulder rides, and are even known to take a shower with their owners, making them fun and quirky birds to have around.