Emerald Cockatiels: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your Feathered Friend

Last Updated on December 25, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Emerald Cockatiels are gaining popularity as pets because of their charming behavior and friendly nature. These delightful birds are known for being not very aggressive and sociable, making them great companions for both new and experienced bird owners. Originally from Australia, Cockatiels have been beloved as pets since the 1900s because of their friendly personalities and ease of breeding in captivity.

The Emerald Cockatiel, a rare mutation discovered in the 1990s, has caught the attention of bird enthusiasts, myself included. Its unique appearance and endearing traits make it stand out. In this article, I will take you into the captivating world of Emerald Cockatiels, exploring their history, characteristics, and why they make fantastic pets.

Emerald Cockatiel

Physical Characteristics of Emerald Cockatiels

Emerald Cockatiels, also recognized as Olive or Suffused Yellow Cockatiels, emerged as a rare mutation in the 1990s. Their appearance is truly distinctive, resembling a mix of coarse yellow and grey sand poured onto their feathers. The center of each feather lacks melanin pigment, creating a clear contrast with the darker edges. This mutation is often likened to a lighter version of the “normal gray” coloration and bears a resemblance to the silver mutation, distinguished by a subtle yellow overwash.

Measuring approximately 12 to 13 inches in length and weighing between 70 to 120 grams, Emerald Cockatiels are relatively lightweight. This characteristic can be attributed to their hollow bone structure, an evolutionary trait that facilitates their ability to fly.

The primary impact of the Emerald Cockatiel mutation lies in the reduction of melanin in the plumage, contributing to its distinct appearance. Importantly, this mutation follows an autosomal recessive pattern, necessitating the presence of the gene in both parents for the emergence of an Emerald Cockatiel.

Emerald Cockatiel Behavior and Temperament

Emerald Cockatiels are celebrated for their gentle and friendly demeanor. These social beings thrive in the presence of their human caregivers or fellow feathered friends. Their intelligence, curiosity, and playful nature make them a sought-after choice among pet owners. Their adaptability and undemanding nature further enhance their appeal as delightful companions.

These birds establish strong bonds with their human companions and seamlessly adapt to various living environments, forming connections with both humans and other creatures. While they relish the company of fellow feathered friends, they are equally content spending quality time exclusively with their human caregivers. Their amiable disposition extends not only to people but also to other birds.

Known for their intelligence, Emerald Cockatiels are easily trainable. Particularly, males often exhibit the ability to mimic speech and learn various tricks. Successful training hinges on fostering acceptance and trust between the bird and its caregiver. Recommended are several short training sessions, around 20 minutes each, with positive behavior rewarded with treats. Although they may not master extensive vocabulary, they can pick up a few words. Moreover, these birds exhibit a fondness for music, whistling, and expressing a range of sounds based on their mood.

Caring for an Emerald Cockatiel

Proper Cage Size and Setup

For optimal well-being, ensure your cockatiel resides in a suitably sized cage. The minimum recommendation is 20 by 20 by 24 inches, with bar spacing between half an inch to 5/8 inch. Larger cages are preferable, accommodating the activity levels of these energetic birds. It’s essential that the bird can extend its wings and tail without contacting the cage sides.

Importance of Toys and Perches

To promote both mental and physical health, provide your cockatiel with a variety of toys and perches. These items serve as stimulation, exercise outlets, and crucial tools in preventing boredom and destructive behaviors. Options include chewing toys, swing toys, and foraging toys. Diverse perches in terms of size and texture contribute to maintaining the health of your cockatiel’s feet.

Cleaning and Hygiene Practices

Maintaining a clean environment is vital for your cockatiel’s health. Wipe down cage components daily and conduct a more thorough monthly cleaning. Promptly remove uneaten fresh foods and clean water bowls and food dishes daily using hot water and dish soap.

Grooming Needs: Bathing, Wing Clipping, and Nail Trimming

Regular grooming is essential for your cockatiel’s well-being. Offer baths at least twice a week to enhance feather quality and skin health. If your bird resists baths, a gentle spray from a bottle can suffice. Wing clipping, typically performed biannually, is ideally done by professionals.

If attempted at home, clip six to eight primary feathers from each wing. Nail trimming, as needed, can be done carefully using regular or specially designed bird and cat nail clippers. Avoid cutting the quick.

Dealing with Cockatiel Dust and Respiratory Concerns

Cockatiels produce a speck of powdery dust on their feathers, which is normal but may lead to a coating on cages and furniture. If respiratory issues arise, consider using an air purifier for mitigation.

Dietary Needs of Emerald Cockatiels

Recommended Diet for Emerald Cockatiels

A well-rounded and nutritious diet for Emerald Cockatiels is crucial for their overall health. Here’s a breakdown of recommended food components:

  1. Pellets (60%): Specifically formulated cockatiel pellets should constitute the majority of their diet, providing essential nutrients.
  2. Seeds, Legumes, Grains, Nuts, Cereals (Varied): A mix of these components adds diversity and nutritional value to the diet.
  3. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (20%): A colorful assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables contributes essential vitamins and minerals to their diet.
  4. Protein Sources (Occasional): During the breeding season, incorporate cooked eggs, cooked chicken, or small amounts of cooked fish as protein sources.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods can be harmful to cockatiels and should be strictly avoided:

  • Avocado: Contains person, leading to heart damage, respiratory difficulty, weakness, and potentially sudden death in birds.
  • Chocolate: Contains theobromine and caffeine, causing vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  • Caffeine: Poses a risk of cardiac toxicity in birds.

Caution with Seeds: Always remove seeds from fruits before feeding them to cockatiels, as some fruit seeds can be toxic and pose a danger to their well-being. Regularly monitoring and adjusting their diet ensures a vibrant and healthy life for your Emerald Cockatiel.

Health and Lifespan of Emerald Cockatiels

Common Health Issues in Emerald Cockatiels

Emerald Cockatiels, much like other variations, are susceptible to a range of health issues. Some of the most prevalent include:

  1. Respiratory Diseases:
  2. Causes: Vitamin A deficiency, bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, and environmental irritants.
  3. Symptoms: Watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing.
  4. Nutritional Deficiency:
  5. Cause: Diets are high in seeds and lacking in fruits, vegetables, and pellets.
  6. Consequences: Malnutrition and fatty liver disease.
  7. Weight Loss:
  8. Indications: Can signal various health issues, including proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) accompanied by vomiting and changes in feces.
  9. Eye Infections:
  10. Symptom: This could be a manifestation of psittacosis, a bacterial infection, which may also present with lethargy, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea.
  11. Abnormal Feather Growth or Loss:
  12. Indicator: Possible sign of polyomavirus infection.

Lifespan in Captivity and the Wild

In the wild, cockatiels typically live 10 to 15 years, facing challenges like predators, disease, and harsh environmental conditions. In captivity, under optimal conditions, cockatiels can thrive for 16 to 25 years.

Notably, advancements in avian medicine and nutrition have contributed to increased captive lifespans. It’s crucial to recognize that the lifespan of a cockatiel is significantly influenced by factors such as diet, environment, and overall care. The oldest confirmed cockatiel, a testament to proper care, lived an impressive 36 years.

Breeding Emerald Cockatiels

Creating the Right Environment

Successfully breeding Emerald Cockatiels requires careful planning and a suitable habitat. The breeding cage should be spacious, with dimensions like two feet by two feet by three feet being commonly used by breeders. It’s crucial to place the cage in a quiet area, away from direct sunlight, and ensure there’s enough space for the birds to move comfortably.

To kickstart the breeding process, the chosen pair should be at least 18 months old to guarantee maturity. Moreover, it’s vital to avoid pairing birds that are closely related, as this significantly increases the risk of producing weak or deformed offspring.

Essential Elements in the Breeding Setup

In addition to a roomy cage, a nest box is a must. Opt for a box large enough for both birds, featuring an entrance approximately 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide. Wooden boxes are favored because they not only appeal to the birds but also allow them to personalize the entrance by chewing on them. Fill the nest box with appropriate bedding, like pine wood shavings or white paper towels. It’s advisable to steer clear of cedar shavings, as the oils from these materials can be harmful to the baby birds.

Significance of the Nest Box During Mating Season

The nest box plays a pivotal role during the mating season, offering a secure and comfortable space for the cockatiels to lay and incubate their eggs. The male cockatiel will actively prepare the nest box by enlarging the opening and arranging the bedding materials, signaling that mating is imminent.

Once the eggs are laid, the nest box transforms into a protective haven for the parents and their chicks. The parents become more vigilant, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a safe distance and avoiding any disturbances to the nest box.

From Where to Buy Emerald Cockatiels

Emerald Cockatiels are available for purchase through different channels, both online and in physical stores. Consider the following options:

  1. AmericanListed.com: Explore listings on this platform for SLYC Emerald Cockatiels available in La Mirada, California.
  2. Instagram – BEBO AVIARY: This Instagram account is a hub for Emerald Cockatiels and may have birds available for sale.
  3. Hoobly Classifieds: Check out this site for a variety of cockatiels for sale, including the sought-after emerald cockatiels.
  4. Brendasbirds.com: Although not explicitly mentioning Emerald Cockatiels, this website sells exotic birds, making it worthwhile to explore for potential availability.
  5. Birdsnow.com: Browse listings on this site for rare cockatiels from aviaries, breeders, and bird rescues.
  6. Clutch Hutch Aviary: This aviary specializes in breeding various bird types, including the captivating Emerald Cockatiels.
  7. Petco: While not specifying Emerald Cockatiels, Petco, a prominent pet store chain, frequently offers cockatiels for sale.
  8. ParrotCrown.com: This site showcases Emerald Green White Faced Cockatiels available for purchase.
  9. Acstiels.com: Gain information about Emerald Cockatiels on this site, which may also provide contacts for purchasing.

Always prioritize dealing with reputable sellers who treat their birds ethically. Additionally, carefully assess the bird’s health, age, and temperament before finalizing your purchase.


Emerald Cockatiels stand out as an enchanting pet choice thanks to their distinctive appearance, gentle demeanor, and remarkable ability to form strong bonds with both humans and other pets. Renowned for their intelligence, curiosity, and playful disposition, these birds appeal to a wide range of bird enthusiasts, whether they’re beginners or seasoned owners.

Their adaptability and easygoing nature further enhance their desirability as companions. Emerald Cockatiels prove to be a fitting choice for various types of owners, including families with children, given their friendly nature and aptitude for learning tricks and mimicking sounds.

Their sociable character and compatibility with diverse living environments make them a versatile and delightful addition to any home. In summary, selecting an Emerald Cockatiel as a pet promises a gratifying and interactive experience, catering to bird lovers of all expertise levels.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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