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Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)



Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)
Order: Psittaciformes, Family: Cacatuidae

Australian: Cockatiels are distributed throughout the interior of the Australian continent. The species is absent from Tasmania and most coastal areas. Cockatiels are mainly grey with paler underparts that are sometimes washed with brown. There is a prominent patch of orange on the ear coverts, and the rest of the head and crest are yellow. The underside of the tail is black in the male and yellow in the female. Several plumage variants of the species are recognized. The Lutino mutation (Albino or White) is the most popular. These attractive birds are white with white or pale yellow underparts. The yellow face and crest are retained.



I. GEOGRAPHIC RANGE
  • Australian: Cockatiels are distributed throughout the interior of the Australian continent. The species is absent from Tasmania and most coastal areas.
II. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
  • Cockatiels are mainly grey with paler underparts that are sometimes washed with brown. There is a prominent patch of orange on the ear coverts, and the rest of the head and crest are yellow. The underside of the tail is black in the male and yellow in the female. Several plumage variants of the species are recognized. The Lutino mutation (Albino or White) is the most popular. These attractive birds are white with white or pale yellow underparts. The yellow face and crest are retained.
III. FOOD HABITS
  • In the wild, the Cockatiel feeds on the seeds of grasses and herbacious plants, grains, fruits, and berries. They prefer, however, Acacia seeds. They are also known to raid standing fields of crops such as sorghum.
IV. REPRODUCTION
  • The breeding season seems to depend on climatic conditions, especially in rainfall. The species usually begins breeding after the rainy season. Nesting starts in August and continues through December. Nests are usually located in a hole of a eucalypt tree that is standing near water. Clutch size ranges from four to six rounded eggs. Incubation lasts 18 to 20 days. The Cockatiel is one of the few species of parrots that share brooding duties between the male and the female. During the day, the male incubates the eggs; the female takes over brooding duties at night. Both parents feed the chicks from the time they are hatched. After four to five weeks, the chicks leave the nest.
V. BEHAVIOR
  • The pair bond between two birds can be quite strong and they may remain partners for life. The Cockatiel is often observed in pairs or small flocks. In the north, the species is highly nomadic, but southern populations are more migratory. The Cockatiel does not have a timid mature and usually allows a close approach. In flight, they they are swift and direct.
VI. HABITAT
  • Cockatiels prefer open country in the vincinity of water.
  • Biomes: tropical rainforest, tropical deciduous forest, tropical scrub forest, tropical savanna & grasslands.
VII. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE FOR HUMANS
  • Positive
    There is a well established market for Cockatiels as pets around the world. Mutated birds can be quite expensive. A pair with a newly established mutation can sell for up to $750.
  • Negative
    Cockatiels are regarded as pests by farmers when they raid standing fields of crops.
VIII. CONSERVATION
  • Status: no special status
  • The species is under no current threat. It breeds well in captivity and and is well established in aviaries throughout the world. Due to their popularity as pets, several mutations are recognized, including Lutino, Pied, Cinnamon, and Pearled.
IX. OTHER COMMENTS
  • The call of a Cockatiel is a prolonged, warbling "queel-queel" ending with a pronounced upward inflection.



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