Cockatiel – Profile & Care Guide

Cockatiel

Common name: Cockatiel
Latin name: Nymphicus hollandicus
Length: 29-33 cm (11-12.9 in)
Weight: 80-100g (2.8-3.5 oz)
Life Span: 15 to 20 years
Origin: Australia
Noise Level: Moderate. Males usually sing to attract a mate or at the beginning and end of the day, while females chirp to get the attention of their owner or mate.

Cockatiel       Cockatiel       Cockatiel
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INTELLIGENCE

These tiny crested birds have charmed the hearts of humans worldwide based solely on their level of intelligence. Cockatiels are extremely intelligent and very social. They are curious and playful in nature, enjoying interaction with their human “flock”. They are master communicators using their crest to express surprise, interest, or anger. When properly stimulated, they are relatively easy to care for and make wonderful companions. Cockatiels that are constantly ignored can also become cage bound, lonely or depressed. While bored birds can start plucking out their own feathers, a depressed one can even starve itself to death. As bird owners ourselves we cannot stress how important socialisation and attentiveness is for your Cockatiel. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your Cockatiel entertained and to fill their cage with variety of mind teasing toys. Furthermore, well – trained Cockatiels become extremely devoted to their human counterparts, and are even disciplined enough to enjoy riding around on your shoulder for most of the day. They are very fascinated by shiny objects such as earrings and various pieces of jewellery. They are also intelligent enough to remove these without your notice, so ladies watch out!

TALKING ABILITY

Cockatiels have a moderate talking ability with a 25-word vocabulary which is said to be the average. Most males can learn to say a few human words quite effectively such as ‘hello’ or ‘pretty bird’. Once they have completely learnt these words you will most likely find them attempting to join your conversations. These parrots will imitate household noises such as the hum of a microwave, telephone ringing or a dog’s bark. Males are known for being more vocal than female cockatiels, whose chirping is softer. Although the sound of a cockatiel talking is more unclear and muffled when compared to the sound of larger parrots like an African Grey, it’s still incredibly entertaining to hear. The fact that these birds are extremely intelligent and are master imitators means they can eventually be taught various phrases, as well as songs. Check out this little guy for instance whistling the Darth Vader them song from Star Wars:

This little guy is even more impressive singing the theme song to The Adams Family, Darth Vader, and even saying ‘what you doing’:

FEATHER PLUCKING

Feather plucking is a very common complex problem indicating either a physical or psychological problem with your Cockatiel. The causes of feather plucking can be due to disease, allergies, skin toxins, dietary requirements, or parasites. Some plucking is even due to a behavioural response. Observation is key when dealing with a feather plucker. You should bathe your feathery friend frequently to minimise any bacteria or irritants. Avoid giving them any attention for plucking, and that includes distracting them to avoid plucking. Rather commend your Cockatiel when they are playing quietly or when they are resting peacefully. Due to their intelligence, cockatiels need mental stimulation from you and from their environment, so make sure your birds have an assortment of toys to keep them playing. A mirror or two wouldn’t hurt either.  There are also a variety of skin soothing products and supplements you can invest in to make sure you cross out any skin related causes of feather plucking.

HOUSING FOR YOUR COCKATIEL

  • The cage that you purchase must be as large as possible.
  • As a rule of thumb, the cage size should be a minimum of 24″ x 18″ x 24″.
  • The bar spacing is very important and it should be more than ½” to 5/8” (1.3 – 1.6 cm).
  • Ideally locate it in a quiet corner away from busy or noisy parts of the house. From there they can see people coming and going but aren’t surrounded by activity and noise, as cockatiels are afraid of loud noises.
  • Cockatiel cages with horizontal bars on the sides are nice because these little birds love to climb.
  • Locate it out of direct sunlight and draughts.
  • Variety of toys should be available for your playful cockatiel. They enjoy a variety of toys such as seed treats, swings, ladders, bells, and mirrors. Tree branches and wooden chews provide excellent exercise and keep the beak trim. Bright shiny plastic toys are for parakeets, not cockatiels! Never give them rubber toys!
  • They should be allowed out of cage on daily basis, so they can play around and stretch their wings.

FEEDING YOUR COCKATIEL

  • A commercial cockatiel seed mix is generally regarded as suitable along with a good vitamin supplement.
  • Pelleted diets will also provide a fairly balanced feed, however it does not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds, so should be supplemented.
  • You can supplement your cockatiel’s diet with green foods such as dandelion leaves, weeds, carrot tops, celery, watercress, spinach, peas, seedling grasses, and millet.
  • Various fruits will also be enjoyed such as apples, oranges, bananas and others.
  • Cuttlebones are recommended to help provide calcium and to help keep the beak trim.
  • Proteins can be offered in the form of mynah pellets, game bird starter, dog food, and even mashed hard-boiled eggs.
  • Grit should not be provided. Although it was previously thought that grit was needed by cockatiels, it has been found that they do not need grit and can actually cause problems if given to cockatiels. Parrots that eat seed whole without shelling it first require grit, but cockatiels shell their seed before eating it, so don’t need grit.
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. You can also add soluble vitamins and minerals to the water.
  • Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

Summary

Most handfed Cockatiels have a very sweet, even temperament, and will exhibit a rather curious and inquisitive nature. They can bond closely with their owners and can be extremely affectionate. Small, intelligent, and easy to care for, Cockatiels have graced the homes of bird lovers for many years.

Their engaging personalities and high trainability have put them near the top of the list of the most popular pet bird species.

When cared for properly, Cockatiels can be affectionate and fascinating pets. They are a wonderful species for inexperienced bird owners because of their natural friendly dispositions and curious playfulness. Their dispositions are sweet and convey emotions with their crest.

Of all the parakeets Cockatiels experience the most bird dander or dust. This is indicative of a healthy bird and the ‘powder’ makes their feathers silky-smooth.

These birds are particularly frightful and may have night frights which may cause potential injury. Providing your Cockatiel with a night light is a great mechanism to let them know what’s happening in their surrounds. Remember, like any parakeet – treat your cockatiel like a child, alas a very intelligent child!

Patagonian Conure – Profile & Care Guide

Common name: Patagonian Conure
Latin name: Cyanoliseus patagonus
Length: 45cms/18 inches
Weight: 256 – 281 grams
Life Span: 20 – 30 years
Origin: South-central Argentina, Chile and Uruguay
Noise Level: Very noisy

Patagonian Conure Patagonian Conure Patagonian Conure

Intelligence

These birds are quite intelligent, and can become fairly good talkers. However they do have a harsh voice and can get rather loud. This along with being very sociable makes them an ideal aviary bird.
They are very social and love companionship, their natural behaviour is to live in very large groups and to nest closely to one another. They make a very fine and affectionate pet.

Talking ability

These conures are usually “above fair” when compared to other conures, but they still don’t have the reputation like the Half-moon or Blue-Crown conures. They certainly can learn a couple or a few words/phrases.

Feather Plucking

Feather picking and susceptibility to the usual psittacine diseases can become health concerns with the Patagonian conure.

Housing for your Patagonian Conure

  • Conures love roomy cages! A cage best suited for a conure must be large enough that the tail does not touch the bottom, and the bird has enough room for unrestricted movements.
  • A minimum size of 44″x26″x40″ (120 x 65 x 100 cm) is recommended This will provide room for both horizontal exercise and vertical climbing.
  • We recommend providing two perches, sized between 3/4″ to 1″ (2 – 2.5 cm). Place one up high for roosting and one low by the food, water, and gravel dishes. Natural perches from willow, poplar and fruit trees are good for the bird’s feet and for it’s beak. The gnawing it will do on the perches will also alleviate your pet’s boredom.
  • Place the cage where it will be away from harmful fumes and drafts. To provide you pet with a sense of security, it is recommended that you cover the cage at night.

Feeding your Patagonian Conure

  • A conure’s diet consisting of a good small parrot mix which is supplemented with various fruits, green foods, millet spray, and occasionally some meal worms is generally regarded as suitable.
  • There are pros and cons to feeding only a formulated diet as well as feeding only a seed diet.

Supplements for your Patagonian Conure

  • Supplemental foods include apples, grapes, many garden vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, and sweet potatoes.
  • A cuttlebone, or gravel can be provided in a separate dish.
  • Additional proteins can be offered such as cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, and raw peanuts.
  • Vitamins can be added, either to the drinking water or the food.

PS patagonian means “big feet” in Spanish.

Blue Throated Conure – Profile & Care Guide

blue throated conure

Common name: Blue Throated Conure
Latin name: Pyrrhura cruentata
Length: 30cm/11.8 inches
Weight: 90 grams
Life Span: 15 – 25 years
Origin: E Brazil, from southern Bahia south to Rio de Janeiro.
Noise Level: Low

blue throated conure blue throated conure blue throated conure

Intelligence

Blue Throated Conures are highly intelligent birds.
Words cannot even describe how smart these little birds are. They love playing and being held by their owners and are so open and willing to learn tricks and even how to talk. Though they have a cute squeaky voice, it is amazing how fast a Blue Throated Conure bird can be taught to speak. They truly enjoy performing their newly acquired tricks for their owners as long as you praise them with a treat every time they correctly perform a trick. Spending about 15 minutes a day with your Blue Throated Conure teaching them words and tricks will surely make your Blue Throated Conure a happy bird.

Talking ability

Blue Throated Conures are capable of talking although probably only a few loud whispers. They tend to mimic a woman’s voice easiest as the pitch is higher than a man’s.

Feather Plucking

Blue Throated Conures are not normally prone to feather plucking however a good balanced diet plus loads of attention plus stimulation will ensure that they do not become bored and thus less likely to pluck rather than the usual grooming.

Housing for your Blue Throated Conure Parrot

  • A cage large enough for the bird to exercise its wings should be provided, but your Blue Throated Conure will expect to be out of its cage a lot of the time! As a suggestion the cage should be a minimum of an 18x18x2.
  • Perches should be of natural wood i.e. willow or apple, if possible, as this keeps the feet and claws healthy. A small dish (large ash-tray) of water should be offered DAILY for the bird to bathe in as they do LOVE water.
  • Provide a good selection of appropriate toys – the right size and checked for safety concerns (parts that could be swallowed, strangulation or entrapment hazards). Plan on having your Blue Throated Conure spend a significant amount of time on the outside of his or her cage daily.

Feeding your Blue Throated Conure Parrot

  • Feed good quality parrot mix (with dried fruit included), supplemented with extra peanuts, pine nuts, peppers and; but note of caution is that hemp is very fattening and should only be given in small quantities.
  • Fresh fruit should be offered daily, grapes, apple, orange, pear, pomegranate and banana are readily taken, but most birds have their preferences. Fresh green food, e.g. Lettuce and celery are all beneficial for them.
  • Also, as a treat, offer millet sprays, various nuts including walnut, almond, brazil, pecan etc. (shells removed). Cuttlefish, mineral block, grit and shell are beneficial to them too. Give fresh drinking water daily. Cubed carrot and sweet corn (fresh or tinned, unsalted – drained) should be offered regularly as a source of vitamin A which they need. As a general tonic, a little Nutrobal or Avimix sprinkled on their fruit twice a week is beneficial.

Blue Headed Pionus – Profile & Care Guide

blue headed pionus

Common name: Blue Headed Pionus
Latin name: Pionus menstruus
Length: 28cms/11 inches
Weight: 250-270 grams
Life Span: up to 40 years
Origin: These birds are native to southern Costa Rica in Central America, through South America to northern Bolivia and central Brazil, and on Trinidad.
Noise Level: Low

blue headed pionus blue headed pionus blue headed pionus

Intelligence

The Blue-headed Pionus are active, intelligent and inquisitive birds. Though they are not known to be the best talkers, they make up for this with their friendly disposition and fun antics.

Talking ability

Talking ability for Blue headed Pionus is not a real clear sound in their voice, some tend to be high pitch and some maybe a lower toned pitch in the voice pattern. Their voice sounds rather raspy or garbled.

Feather Plucking

The Blue headed Pionus is not prone to feather plucking. However, again, boredom could induce feather plucking.

Housing for your Blue Headed Pionus Parrot

  • A cage a minimum size of 61cm x 61cm x 81cm is recommended.
  • The bar spacing should be 2cm.
  • The bird should ideally be able to fly from perch to perch, especially if your bird is kept in the cage most of the day.

 

Feeding your Blue Headed Pionus

  • Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, berries, and green stuffs.
  • Including a formulated diet would also be beneficial.
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

 

In summarising, the Blue-headed Pionus is noted for its gentle nature and can become a very devoted pet, sometimes bonding fiercely to their owner. They are considered an excellent bird for a beginner parrot owner, and because they are generally calm and quiet, they are also a great pet for people who live in apartments. 

Maximillian Pionus – Profile & Care Guide

Maximillian Pionus

Common name: Maximillian Pionus
Latin name: Pionus maximilliani
Length: 29cms/11.5 inches
Weight: 225-275 grams
Life Span: 40 years
Origin: North Eash Brazil from Espírito Santo north to Piauí and Ceará
Noise Level: Medium

Maximillian Pionus Maximillian Pionus Maximillian Pionus

Intelligence

These little parrots are very inquisitive, intelligent and have very good memories. Once they have learned a behavior such as stepping up they are very obedient and will remain steady in their training.

Talking ability

In general they have poor talking ability.

Feather Plucking

The Maximillian is not really as prone to behavior problems like feather plucking. However boredom could induce feather plucking.

Housing for your Maximillian Pionus Parrot

  • A good recommendation would be a cage a minimum size of 75cm x 75cm x 90cm. If your Maximillian parrot is going to be home alone all day, do consider a larger cage as it will need enough room for a variety of toys and room to swing and play between them.
  • The bar spacing should be 1.5cm – 2cm
  • The Maximilian’s Pionus is a very active parrot and needs the largest space that your home can accommodate — ideally, this parrot should be able to fly from perch to perch, especially so if the pionus is kept in the cage most of the day
  • This being said, however roomy the cage, every bird should be allowed to be out of the cage for a minimum of three hours each day. Many birds can spend a good deal of their time on a play pen or parrot perch. As they are not strong chewers, durable cage construction is not as critical as it would be for the largest species of parrots.
  • They are technically inclined and learn to open locks pretty quickly and locks or escape-proof latches may be recommended.

Feeding Maximillian Pionus

  • Their diet in the wild consists of fruit, seeds, flowers and nectar. Like all Pionus they will eat cultivated grain if they come upon it!
  • They should be offered a varied diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and high quality pellets. If your bird is reluctant to try new foods, time and patience is of the essence here.
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

In summarising, like all the Pionus the Maximilian makes an ideal pet. They are beautiful, relatively quiet and exceptionally sweet. These beautiful parrots enjoy communicated with body language, by blinking their eyes in affection to holding your finger and doing the famous Pionus Strut! They are very affectionate and although they are not birds that particularly enjoy being cuddled they do love a head scratch. They are quite independent birds, they are happy to amuse themselves with toys and food without constant attention from the owner.