Cockatiel facts for kids

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Cockatiel
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Cacatuidae
Subfamily: Calyptorhynchinae
Genus: Nymphicus
Wagler, 1832
Species: N. hollandicus
Binomial name
Nymphicus hollandicus
(Kerr, 1792)
Synonyms

Psittacus hollandicus
Leptolophus hollandicus

The cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), also known as the quarrion and the weiro, is a bird that is a member 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. As a caged bird, cockatiels are second in popularity only to the budgerigar.

It is classified as the smallest of the Cacatuidae (cockatoo family). Cockatiels are native to Australia, and favor the Australian wetlands, scrub lands, and bush lands.

Its genus name reflects the experience of one of the earliest groups of Europeans to see the birds in their native habitat; the travelers thought the birds were so beautiful that they named them after mythical nymphs. The specific name hollandicus refers to New Holland, a historic name for Australia.

Distribution and habitat

Cockatiels are native to Australia, where they are found largely in arid or semi-arid country, but always close to water. Largely nomadic, the species will move to where food and water is 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 south west and south east corners of the country, the deepest Western Australian deserts, and Cape York Peninsula. They are the only cockatoo species which can sometimes reproduce in the end of their first year.

Life span

The cockatiel's lifespan in captivity is generally given as 16 to 25 years, though it is sometimes given as short as 10 to 15 years, and there are reports of cockatiels living as long as 32 years, the oldest confirmed specimen reported being 36 years old. Diet and exercise are major determining factors.

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Cockatiel Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.