The Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), also known as Weiro Bird, or Quarrion, is a small parrot that is a member of its own branch of the Cockatoo family endemic to Australia. They are prized as household pets and companion parrots throughout the world and are relatively easy to breed.
Cockatiels are native to Australia, where they are found largely in the arid or semi-arid country but always close to water. Largely nomadic, the species will move to where food and water are available. They are typically seen in pairs or small flocks. Sometimes, hundreds will flock around a single body of water. To many farmers’ dismay, they often eat cultivated crops. They are absent from the most fertile southwest and southeast corners of the country, the deepest Western Australian deserts, and the Cape York Peninsula. They are the only Cockatoo species that can sometimes reproduce at the end of their first year.
Cockatiel’s distinctive erectile crest expresses the animal’s emotional state. The crest is dramatically vertical when the Cockatiel is startled or excited, gently oblique in its neutral or relaxed state, and flattened close to the head when the animal is angry or defensive. The crest is also held flat but protrudes outward in the back when the Cockatiel is trying to appear alluring or flirtatious. When the Cockatiel is tired, the crest is seen positioned halfway upwards, with the tip of the crest usually curling upward. In contrast to most Cockatoos, the Cockatiel has long tail feathers roughly making up half of its total length. At 30 to 33 cm (12 to 13 in), the Cockatiel is the smallest of the cockatoos which are generally larger at between 30 and 60 cm (12 and 24 in).
The «normal grey» or «wild-type» Cockatiel’s plumage is primarily grey with prominent white flashes on the outer edges of each wing. The face of the male is yellow or white, while the face of the female is primarily grey or light grey, and both sexes feature a round orange area on both ears, often referred to as «cheddar cheeks». This orange colouration is generally vibrant in adult males, and often quite muted in females. Visual sexing is often possible with this variant of the bird.
Cockatiels are relatively vocal birds, the calls of the male being more varied than that of the female. Cockatiels can be taught to sing specific melodies and speak many words and phrases. They have also learned to imitate certain human or environmental sounds without being taught how to do so.