The cockatiel is small and friendly – one of the best pets for bird lovers. They are very smart and calm, while they are pleasant to mess around with, and they become attached to people, moreover, they can live quite a long time, in ideal conditions up to 25 years. In nature, they live only in Australia, but in captivity they are kept almost everywhere.
Origin of the species and description
The first parrots appeared about 55-60 million years ago – after the extinction that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period. Then most of the organisms that inhabited the planet disappeared and, as always after such cataclysms, the surviving species began to change and separate to fill the vacated ecological niches.
The earliest fossilized remains of parrots were found in Europe – in those days the climate was tropical and perfect for these birds. But modern parrots did not descend from their European line – it is considered completely extinct, but from another branch.
How the development of parrots took place is not yet clear enough, although as more and more fossil remains are found, the picture becomes more and more complete – it is interesting that all early finds occur exclusively in the northern hemisphere, although modern parrots live mainly in the southern.
It has been established that the part of the brain, thanks to which parrots can imitate other people's sounds – for example, human speech, appeared about 30 million years ago. Strictly speaking, before the parrots themselves – about 23-25 million years have passed since the appearance of the first modern species.
These fossils can already be unequivocally identified as corresponding to modern cockatoos – presumably the oldest surviving species of parrots. Most of the others happened much later. It is to the cockatoo family that the genus and species of Corella belong. He received a scientific description in 1792, made by the British zoologist R. Kerr. The name of the species in Latin is Nymphicus hollandicus.
Appearance and features
Corella is not a large parrot, it reaches a length of 30-35 centimeters, and half is the tail. Weighs from 80 to 150 grams. The tail generally stands out – it is long and pointed. Another sign is a high crest, it can be raised or lowered, it depends on the mood of the bird.
The plumage is brighter in males. Their head and crest are painted in yellow tones, orange spots stand out on the cheeks, and the body and tail are olive and gray. In females, both the head and the crest are gray, like the body itself, but it is darker, especially from below – the tone can reach brown.
The spots on their cheeks are not orange, but brown. They are also distinguished by pale yellow spots and stripes on the flight and tail feathers – they are absent in males. The cockatiel's beak is short. Young parrots all look like females, so it is difficult to identify males.
Only closer to a year after the birth of the cockatiel do they resemble adults in color. Before that, males can only be identified by their behavior: they are usually more active, louder – they like to sing and knock on the cage, and they grow faster. Females, on the other hand, are calm.
The color that cockatiels had in nature is described above, many others have been bred in captivity, for example, pets of white and pearl color, black, motley black-gray – and others are common.
Fun fact: These parrots like to fly, so when kept in captivity, they need to either be released from the cage so they can fly around the apartment, or placed in a spacious cage so that they do it directly inside.
Where does cockatiel live?
In nature, they live on only one continent – Australia, whose climate is ideal for them, and there are relatively few predators for which these small parrots serve as prey. Flying domestic cockatiels on other continents are not adapted to life in nature and die.
First of all, this applies to those pets that were kept in the temperate zone – they are very demanding on the climate and are not able to survive even autumn or spring cold, not to mention winter. But even if they fly away into the wild in a warm climate, they are quickly caught by birds of prey.
In Australia, they are almost never found off the coast: they prefer to live inland in a dry climate. However, it is not so rare to settle near the shores of lakes or rivers. But most often they live in grassy steppes, on large bushes, trees, rocks overgrown with vegetation. Found in semi-deserts.
They love space and open areas, therefore they do not go deep into the forests, but they can also settle on the edges of eucalyptus groves. If the year turned out to be dry, they gather near the remaining reservoirs. Many cockatiels live in captivity, where they actively breed. They like to keep these parrots in North America, and in Europe, and in Russia, they can also be found in Asian countries. There are so many of them in captivity that it is already difficult to say where there are more of them – in nature or in humans.
What does the cockatiel eat?
The diet of this parrot in nature includes:
In the wild, they prefer to feed on seeds or fruits of fruit trees, they are also not averse to feasting on eucalyptus nectar – when these trees bloom, you can find many cockatiels on them. They settle near a water source, because they often need to quench their thirst. Sometimes they can act as a pest: if agricultural land is nearby, flocks of cockatiels visit them and peck at cereals or fruits. Therefore, farmers often do not get along. In addition to vegetation, they also need protein food – they catch and eat various insects.
In captivity, the cockatiel is fed mainly with grain, but it is important that the diet of the parrot is balanced in terms of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, contains a number of vitamins, and finally, you should not overfeed your pet – 40 grams of food is enough for him per day. Birds are usually fed mainly with grain mixtures or sprouted grains, but some green vegetation should be added to them. For example, celery, spinach, corn, dandelion and tree branches – spruce, pine, linden, birch are useful. Also cockatiel can feast on kidneys, nuts.
Fruits with vegetables are a mandatory part of the Corell menu. Almost anyone is suitable for them: apples, pears, pineapples, bananas, peaches, cherries, watermelons, citrus fruits, berries from raspberries and strawberries to rose hips and mountain ash. Almost all vegetables grown in our gardens are also suitable: cucumber, carrots, beets, turnips, zucchini, eggplant, peas, pumpkin, tomato.
At a time, it is worth giving only one type of vegetable, but during the month it is better if the bird's diet is varied – so it will receive more various vitamins. It is advisable to hang bird chalk in the cage, and put additives intended for parrots in food. Finally, she should be given some meat, milk, cottage cheese, or eggs. In addition to eggs, you can feed the cockatiel with cookies, but you should keep in mind that you can’t give dishes from your own table: sometimes parrots eat them with appetite, and then it turns out that it’s harmful for them. The pet may even die if there is something harmful to it among the ingredients.
Now you know how to feed cockatiels. Let's see how these birds live in the wild.
Character and Lifestyle Features
They are tamed quickly, and after they get used to people, they usually become attached to them and become real pets that love affection and care. If they feel them, then in captivity they do not feel sad and breed well. Even wild cockatiels are not afraid of people: if they are frightened, they can take off for a short time or move to a neighboring tree, and when they see that a person or animal does not show aggression towards them, they return. This sometimes fails them: some predators are trained to lull their vigilance and then attack.
In nature, these parrots often roam. Usually they fly over a short distance, but in a few years they can cover a significant part of the mainland. Surprisingly agile: they can quickly move across the ground or climb tree branches, and often use this skill even if it seems that the destination is faster to reach on wings.
For the flight, several groups of cockatiels living close to each other unite at once. The spectacle turns out to be beautiful: 100-150 parrots immediately rise into the sky, and, unlike large birds, they fly without a strict formation except for a wedge, usually only the leader stands out in front, choosing the direction, and behind him everyone just flies freely.
An interesting fact: If a parrot is brought directly from the tropics, it must first be placed in a separate room for a month. During this time, he will acclimatize, and it will become clear that he does not have any infections. If you immediately keep it together with other pets, then they can become infected.
Social Structure and Reproduction
Flocking birds – live in groups, they can consist of a very different number of cockatiels, from a dozen in the smallest, to hundreds or more in the largest. A little more than a hundred cockatiels is the threshold value, after which it becomes difficult for the flock to feed, and it is divided into several. In poorer areas, this value may be less, and then the separation occurs when the flock grows to 40-60 parrots. Sometimes cockatiels can even live in small families of only a few individuals each – but usually a dozen of such families occupy trees in direct line of sight from each other at once, so that all of them can be considered one group.
The breeding time for cockatiels comes with the beginning of the rainy season, because there is more food. If the year turned out to be dry, then they do not breed at all. For nests, they choose voids between thick branches of old or even completely withered trees. There are 3-8 eggs in the clutch, which need to be incubated for three weeks – both parents alternately do this.
Only the chicks that have appeared do not have feathers at all, only a yellow fluff, and fledge only after a month. After hatching, the parents feed and protect the chicks, and continue to do so even after they learn to fly and leave the nest – because they remain in the flock, and the parents know their own. Guardianship continues until the moment when the young cockatiels reach adult size and have their own children. The chicks leave the nest a month and a half after birth, after which their parents immediately make a second clutch – usually the first is in October, and the second in January.
This is the most stressful time for them – you must first hatch the eggs, and then feed the next chicks, and at the same time continue to take care of the previous ones. Although in nature their nests are located high, when kept in captivity, the nesting house can be hung at a low height. It should be quite spacious – 40 cm high and 30 wide. The bottom is covered with sawdust – they need to be put more. It is important that the room is warm and light, and more food should be given at this time, otherwise the laying will not be done.
Natural enemies of cockatiels
There aren't many predators in Australia, but it's mostly on the ground – many local birds have even chosen to walk rather than fly. For such small birds as cockatiels, there are still a lot of dangers in the sky: they are primarily hunted by birds of prey, such as the black kite and whistling kite, hobby, brown hawk.
Parrots are significantly inferior to predatory birds at the speed of flight and are not able to get away from them, if they have already marked them as prey. They are also inferior in the sharpness of feelings, therefore they can only rely on mass character – a single cockatiel very quickly becomes the prey of a predator, it is not able to either defend itself or fly away.
In a large flock, the parrots scatter in all directions, the predator grabs one and is usually limited to this. At the same time, cockatiels cannot be called timid: they usually sit on the branches of trees or bushes, open to attack, they can even go down, where they are vulnerable to land-based predators. They are also not averse to eating them, because it is much easier to catch cockatiels than more cautious birds. People also sometimes take advantage of the serenity of these parrots: they are hunted to captivity and then sell, or for meat – even if it is not much, it is tasty, and it is very easy to get close to this bird.
The hunters just approach, trying not to frighten away the cockatiel – sometimes, even when she sees them, she remains in place and allows herself to be grabbed. And even if it takes off, it may soon return – because of this nature, many cockatiels suffer, but thanks to him, they also make good pets.
An interesting fact: If cockatiels usually do not differ in shyness, then they become very cautious near water bodies – there they face many dangers, and therefore they never sit down to drink water. Instead, they descend vertically directly to the water, swallow quickly and immediately take off again. They usually take a few hits, after which they immediately fly away from the water body.
Population and species status
In nature, cockatiels are quite numerous and belong to species that are not threatened with extinction – therefore, their numbers are not counted. But it cannot be said that there are more of them – they are threatened by quite a lot of dangers, so the number of these parrots, even with their fairly rapid reproduction, remains approximately at the same level.
The large number of threats in nature is evidenced by at least the fact that the average life expectancy of wild cockatiels is much less than that of tame cockatiels – in the first case it is 8-10 years, and in the second 15-20 years.
Populations in nature the following scourges threaten:
- farmers exterminate them because they harm the fields;
- many parrots die because of chemicals in the water;
- behind them hunted to sell or eat;
- if a bird is sick or weakened for another reason, it will quickly become prey to a predator;
- forest fires become a common cause of death.
All these factors regulate the abundance of cockatiels in nature. So far, most of their habitat is little affected by humans, and therefore nothing threatens the population, but as it is developed, these parrots may be under threat – however, this will not happen in the coming decades.
An interesting fact: Corell can be taught to speak, but quite difficult. To do this, you need to buy them very small, and start training right away. It will take a long time to repeat the same words or short phrases, and they remember little, but they are able to imitate not only a voice, but also a phone ring, a door creak and other sounds.
The cockatiel parrot is not just popular as pets – they are gullible birds that are easy to train and get used to people. Keeping them is also relatively simple and low-cost, but they are always ready to make a company and love human attention. Therefore, anyone who wants to get a parrot should think about a pet — Corella.