Cockatoo Vs Cockatiel: 6 Main Differences and Which Bird is Best For You?

The difference between a cockatoo vs cockatiel can be hard to understand for people new to these parrots. 

Cockatiels are smaller than cockatoos, often half the size, and come in various colors due to domestication. They also have smaller beaks relative to their size. Cockatoos can live 100 years, but Cockatiels only 20.

Cockatiels are calmer and easier to care for than Cockatoos. However, cockatoos need more space and time outside their cage than Cockatiels and cost more.

Let’s learn cockatoo vs cockatiel to determine which is best for your pet bird.

Cockatoo Vs Cockatiel: 6 Main Differences and Which Bird is Best For You?
Cockatoo Vs Cockatiel: 6 Main Differences and Which Bird is Best For You?

Cockatoo vs cockatiel: what are the differences?

While the cockatoo vs cockatiel looks similar, there are significant differences between the two species. Let’s quickly review the most crucial ones!

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Size

The sizes of different cockatoos may differ, but even the smallest birds still tower over the Cockatiel. Cockatoos are often misunderstood as other types of parrots because of their size (typically 1 to 2 feet). However, they are bigger than most parrot species, and their colors are usually not as bright as those of other species.

Cockatiels are the world’s smallest cockatoo species and the smallest parrots overall. The average cockatiel is about 10–13 inches long. In addition, cockatoos have tails that are much longer than their bodies. As a result, cockatiels are the smallest of the cockatoo species and also the lightest.

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Appearance

The appearance of cockatiels and cockatoos is very different. 

Cockatiels’ crest is much less prominent than that of typical cockatoos. However, cockatiels are easily recognizable by their bright yellow beaks and orange cheek patches.

Because of selective breeding, cockatiels now come in many different colors (but not green or blue, as we already said). Cockatoos can be any shade of white, black, grey, or pink, though the latter is rarely seen.

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Distribution

Cockatoos are native birds of Australasia, which includes many different countries and regions. Cockatoos can be found in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and a few Pacific islands. 

Cockatiels are indigenous to Australia and can only be found there. They are found throughout most of the country, except the east coast and central Australia.

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Habitat

Cockatoos have species-specific habitats. The Galah cockatoo feeds on grass seeds in open areas, and red-vented cockatoos live in mangroves. 

Cockatiels live in Australia’s arid and semi-arid regions. They prefer water and are usually a short flight away; cockatiels avoid Australia’s deep desert and wet, fertile coast.

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Behavior

Some of the most noticeable differences between cockatoo vs cockatiels concern their behavior.

Cockatiels are known for being some of the “most chill” birds in the parrot world. Although they are social, like all parrots, and enjoy being around their owners, they dislike being handled. In comparison, snuggle bugs like cockatoos don’t mind being handled if they’re tame.

Talking: Although you can teach your cockatiel to talk, they will not develop a large vocabulary. When it comes to cockatoos, however, you must exercise extreme caution. Although their speech is frequently so raspy that only their owners understand everything, they can pick up on phrases even if they’ve only heard them in passing.

The behavior of cockatoos vs cockatiels is very different.
The behavior of cockatoos vs cockatiels is very different.

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Lifespan

Cockatoos have a longer life span than cockatiels in captivity and the wild. They can outlive you if properly cared for. Some species, such as the sulfur-crested cockatoo, can live for 100 years.

Cockatiels have a shorter life span, ranging from 14 to 25 years in captivity. However, captive cockatiels can live for over 20 years if properly cared for and loved.

Cockatiel vs cockatoo: which is best for you?

Without a doubt, a cockatiel. They are the second most popular pet parrot species (behind the budgerigar). Although there is no such thing as a “no-care bird,” ’tiles’ relaxed nature, low noise levels, and small size make them far more manageable than cockatoos.

Cockatiels, like cockatoos, are less expensive, as are their cages and diets. They’re also much easier to find in pet stores, and there are plenty of responsible breeders around (and rescues in need of a home, too). But there’s more to it than just price and availability.

You’ll need to dedicate a significant portion of your home to the bird’s cage and even more space to its out-of-cage play areas. Prepare to spend several hours.


Are cockatiels members of the cockatoo family?

The Cockatiel is the smallest member of the Cockatoo species.

Cockatiels are members of the bird class Aves. They belong to the Psittaciformes family of birds, also known as parrots. Cacatuidae (cockatoos) is their family, but they are the sole member of their subfamily: Nymphicinae. 

Cockatoo vs Cockatiel: Common species kept as pets

The most common cockatoo species kept as pets are:
– Umbrella cockatoo
– Sulfur-crested cockatoo
– Lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo
– Malukan cockatoo
Cockatiels come in only one species but are well-liked as pets worldwide.

Can A Cockatoo And A Cockatiel Be Kept Together?

Yes and no. Cockatoos, bigger than cockatiels, can become hostile toward their smaller relatives.
This is not always the case because no two birds are identical. Because of their different cage requirements, it is advised against housing the two birds together. Both can be maintained in separate enclosures and allowed to interact. 

Video: Cockatoo vs Cockatiel | Pet Bird


5/5 - (1 vote)

Leave a Comment

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial