Cockatiel – Why They Make The Best First Parrot

This article focuses on the new bird enthusiast and choosing their first bird. In this article I will explain why I think the cockatoo is my overall choice for the new bird owner and why. I will also give important comparisons between the cockatoo and other parrot breeds such as the African grey, eclectus, conure and others.

There are lots and lots of different breeds of parrots out there. Some are very good at petting; some are not. However, for many people who do not have any pet parrots or pet birds, many will feel that the cockatoo is an excellent starter bird in the parrot family. Cockatoos are generally associated with having a good personality, very friendly, good conversationalists, a bird that you can cuddle with in some way. They are also very good companions.

Cockatoos have been successfully kept and bred in many countries around the world. Cockatoos can be considered as the most common parrots besides the parakeet or parakeet (parakeet). There is a lot of research material available and many cockatoo experts. The learning curve for the care and maintenance of cockatoos is less and many of them become experts in cockatoos and their care quite quickly.

Of all the parrot breeds, the cockatoo is the bird most likely to satisfy a new owner almost immediately. Other breeds of parrots can be very agile and biting parrots. Most tend to bond with only one person, and sometimes even rude to people other than the owner or the person they bond with. The cockatoo generally does not have any of these traits, although some do, it is rare.

Okay, given the above information about cockatoos, I’m not saying that every bird owner should start with a cockatoo or even implying that every bird owner should have one. What I do mean is that if you are new to pet birds, you really should consider the cockatoo as your first bird because they are so easy to afford, care for and enjoy.


Price is often the deciding factor for the potential new bird owner. Every new bird enthusiast dreams of owning the parrot of their dreams, but that new pet can be very expensive; sometimes in thousands of dollars to own.

In the US and most other countries around the world, the price of a cockatoo is very low compared to, say, a parrot or one of the larger parrots such as the African Grey. Cockatoo prices range from $30 to start, or slightly higher for hand-fed babies that are meticulously cared for by their breeders.

Of course, one must realize that with birds, as with other pets, the most popular color mutation or color rarity can increase the price of a cockatoo. Also, a cockatoo that has been hand-fed will fetch a higher selling price because the breeder has spent much of their time caring for the baby bird. Compared to “parent-fed” cockatoos, hand-fed birds typically command a 30 to 50 percent higher selling price. I will note though that if you have a choice between feeding the parent and hand feeding, you can afford the hand fed bird, get the hand fed bird. The reason is that the breeder has given him an excellent advantage to fully enjoy having a bird because he has had a lot of interaction with them.

Noise level

All birds make noise. Some very little and then some make a lot of noise. One of the first things a new bird owner immediately realizes is that all birds are “voiced” to some degree. By this I mean that all birds make noise. In general, a good rule of thumb is that the larger the bird, the more noise is possible from the bird.

Now, since the cockatoo is arguably louder than a finch, parakeet, or even a pair of lovebirds, they will in no way compare to the noise level of a macaw or Amazon parrot. This fact should be taken into account especially if the new owner lives in an apartment housing unit or in any area where the noise level between neighbors may be an issue.

All new bird owners would like to have a bird that can talk, but even that can be a nuisance with some of the larger birds. The African Grey, which is by far the nest-speaker of the parrot species, is known to be able to mimic or say just about anything it hears often enough. I remember a friend of mine had an African Gray that could mimic the sound of his old analog phone. While he was cute at first, he quickly became annoying if you spent too much time with the bird.

For the most part, cockatoos can live in complete harmony in almost any community setting. There are exceptions, but cockatoos are generally low volume and usually only “talk” or imitate when they first wake up or seek attention for food or affection from their owners.

speaking skills

No parrot really speaks, rather they imitate what they have heard enough and are able to imitate. A bird cannot hold a conversation with a human. Although some of the best talkers of the parrot species can do a truly impressive job of making it seem like they can. I once knew a friend who had an Eclectus that could sing Kid Rock’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy” and did it so well that if he had a band playing the part you’d swear it was Kid Rock singing the song himself.

The bigger the parrot, the better it can mimic. African grey, eclectus and Amazon parrots are the best at talking. They have the best clarity in their voices, if you will, of any other breed of parrot. A cockatoo can also do an excellent job of imitation. Although their voice tends to be much coarser or harsher than that of the larger parrots, they are easily understood in that they are proficient in mimicry.

Now it should also be noted that not all cockatoos will mimic. Most will to some degree, but not all will. It is common for the bird to say “Hello” or other small phrases, but it is also common for the bird to never say a perceptible word. If having a talking bird is your primary goal, you might want to consider a larger parrot before purchasing a cockatoo.

One thing to note is that it seems hand-fed cockatoos are more likely to talk than parent-fed ones. I guess this all goes back to early human intervention in their young lives and their willingness to adapt to please the human they are most in contact with.

good personality

As a general rule, cockatoos are very well behaved when handled or left alone for long periods of time. While any bird will nip or nip at you if it feels threatened, it is rare for a cockatoo to show such aggression. As mentioned earlier in this article, cockatoos are often willing to snuggle up with their human partners, and in some cases actually crave this kind of attention.

They are also very good with children. The only problem with cockatiels and children is that children often don’t realize how fragile the bird is and can often seriously injure or even kill them if handled too roughly.

Cockatoos are rarely moody or short-tempered. They will bite as any bird would when threatened or defensive, but for the most part biting is harmless. I suppose a small child might hurt a bit more, but for most adults the fear of being bitten will be worse than the bite if you ever get bitten by one.

compact in size

One of the biggest advantages of owning a cockatoo in the first place is the low cost of housing and maintenance. Since they are generally no larger than the average man’s fist, even a small to medium sized cage is enough room for them to live. This in turn translates to a smaller footprint than the size of the cage that is needed for placement in the home. For many new owners, this part of the property is not realized until they bring the bird home and discover that they have to put the cage somewhere.

Of course, being a smaller bird means they eat less and drink less water. This in turn means they make less of a mess on your food and water. Yet another advantage for the owner of a neophyte bird. Large parrots have big appetites and are often finicky and will definitely make a bigger mess with their food and water.


I must say that, of all the parrots, I think the cockatoo is the most accepted as the first parrot for new bird owners. Add to that they even make a nice “upgrade” so to speak for parakeet and parakeet owners. There are pros and cons to any species of bird, but for the most part, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to keeping cockatiels.

Parrots have been kept in captivity for a long time, but only the parakeet and cockatoo have adapted so well. Larger parrots, many of them, get caught in the wild and can be very troublesome to deal with for a long time and possibly as long as you have them. Cockatoos, even parent-fed ones, are the easiest of the parrot species to get along with. I highly recommend a cockatoo to any bird owner or especially first time parrot owners.

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