Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Ali Shahid
The Whiteface Cockatiel is a captivating and well-loved mutation in the world of cockatiels. What sets this unique mutation apart is its striking facial coloring, which is a blend of white and gray, devoid of the typical yellow or orange cheek patches found in other cockatiels.
This deviation from the norm is truly remarkable in these beautiful birds. Their striking beauty, individuality, and intelligence make them highly sought-after avian companions. Some people wrongly describe these beautiful birds as albino cockatiels, although this is not correct.
Despite their white look, albino cockatiels can have yellow feathers. White-faced cockatiels, on the other hand, are more gray or white than their albino cousins.
This mutation, known as the seventh established mutation, first appeared in domesticated cockatiels in Holland in 1964.
It has since grown in popularity among cockatiel lovers. Whether you are thinking of adopting a white-faced cockatiel, exploring different bird species, or simply wanting to learn more about these amazing birds, here is all you need to know!
|Overview of Whiteface Cockatiel|
|Colors||White and Gray|
|Personality||Friendly, Docile, Playful, and Intelligent|
|Talking Ability||Not Good|
Origin and History of White-Faced Cockatiel
Whiteface Cockatiels are captive-bred birds that do not exist in the wild. They were the 7th recognized cockatiel mutation, first emerging in domestication in Holland in 1964. Since then, these birds have become increasingly popular not only in Europe and the United States but in many other parts of the world as well.
These birds are well-known for being easy to breed and making good companions. They, like other cockatiels, have adapted as migratory species, traveling in search of food and water sources.
Because of their capability to adjust to new circumstances, they are well-suited to life as pets. However, Whiteface Cockatiels are no longer seen in their natural environment and have become one of the most popular pet birds in the parrot family.
The dominant gene responsible for their particular appearance removes any yellow or orange coloration throughout the breeding process, resulting in their distinguishing appearance.
Size and Color Marking
The white-faced cockatiel is a variation of the common gray cockatiel, characterized by its predominantly white or grayish face. These birds lack the orange cheek patches and yellow coloring found in their counterparts, making them distinct.
White-faced cockatiels can reach a size of up to 12 inches (30 cm) and weigh between 3 to 4 ounces. Distinguishing features between males and females include the males having a whiter head, while females have a more grayish head and barred markings under their tail feathers.
What is particularly interesting about white-faced cockatiels is their ability to create new variations through crossbreeding with other cockatiels, resulting in unique mutations:
- White-faced Grey Cockatiel: They are similar to the standard Grey Cockatiel but with a white wing stripe. Males have a whiter head and barred tail feather markings, whilst females have a grayer head and barred tail feather markings.
- White-faced Pearl Cockatiel: Males lose their pearl markings after the first molt, resembling White-faced Grey Cockatiels, but females retain the pearl markings.
- White-faced Pied Cockatiel: These birds display a striking blend of white and gray in a random pattern, making it impossible to visually determine their sex.
- White-faced Pearl Pied Cockatiel: Combines white and gray in a random pattern with or without pearl markings. Males lose pearl markings after six months, while females keep them.
- White-faced Cinnamon Cockatiel: Replaces gray markings with a tannish-grey or cinnamon coloration.
- White-faced Cinnamon Pearl Cockatiel: These birds can have dominant or reverse markings, replacing gray with cinnamon coloring. Males lose pearl markings at their six-month molt, while females retain them.
- White-faced Cinnamon Pied Cockatiel: Features cinnamon coloring in place of gray markings, with a mix of white and cinnamon in a random pattern. Markings can be both dominant and reverse.
- Albino Cockatiel: Not a true albino but a combination of a White-faced Cockatiel and a Lutino Cockatiel. Whiteface removes yellow and orange hues, while Lutino eliminates black and gray, resulting in an all-white bird with red eyes. Determining their sex requires a DNA test since visual cues are inconclusive.
White-faced cockatiels are noted for their energetic and active personalities. They are lively birds that can learn a few tricks and motions, but their talking abilities are not as sophisticated as those of certain parrots.
This friendly bird thrives on engagement with its owners, through gentle touching, conversation, or simply being in the same room as the owner. They have a natural ability for mimicking and can whistle along to music.
These birds can get along happily with other cockatiels if they have a large enough cage. When it comes to male and female behavioral differences, females are less aggressive. They easily enter and exit their cages without becoming aggressive toward their humans.
Male White-Faced Cockatiels, on the other hand, maybe more prone to resistance and hostility. Females appreciate being taken care of and are loving. Given their sociable nature, it is a good idea to buy a second bird for companionship if you are regularly away from home.
They can grow into gentle and sociable pets with sufficient socialization. These cockatiels have a balanced appetite and may be good family pets when healthy and well-socialized, making them perfect for apartment life.
Speech and Sound
White-faced cockatiels, unlike some other parrot species, have a talent for mimicking noises and whistling, but they do not speak. Typically, male birds are quick learners and skilled at creating whistling noises.
In this way, they frequently outperform their female counterparts. As a result, when educating these birds, it is critical to devote special attention to the females.
These endearing birds have a propensity for imitating sounds from both inside and outside, such as phones, alarm clocks, doorbells, and even other birds. Their music playlist might change based on their mood and surroundings.
When they are happy, they will whistle or chirp melodiously, but if they are in danger, they will scream shrilly. In times of perceived danger, they may emit a hissing sound.
To teach a White-Faced Cockatiel to whistle or mimic noises, a combination of patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement is required. If you want to teach your cockatiel this talent, these are the steps I took:
Start with simplicity: Start by introducing straightforward sounds. Begin whistling a simple tune or creating a sound you wish your cockatiel to imitate. Reiterate this sound consistently daily.
Embrace positive encouragement: Celebrate their progress with treats or praise when they successfully mimic the sound you desire.
Frequent repetition: Repeat the targeted sound regularly, introducing it in different scenarios such as during playtime or while they dine.
Exercise patience: Remember that learning to mimic sounds takes time. Stay patient and committed to your training routine.
Expose them to human speech: Cockatiels can pick up words and phrases by being exposed to human speech. Make it a habit to repeat specific words and phrases daily to encourage speech development.
The following steps can help your White-Faced Cockatiel acquire a keen sense of mimicry and whistling while strengthening the bond between you.
Breeding cockatiels may be a very rewarding experience. If they have access to a proper nest box and nesting supplies, these birds are enthusiastic nesters. The normal sequence of events is as follows:
Cockatiels begin egg-laying, typically producing one egg every other day until they have deposited five eggs. The incubation period lasts between 17 and 22 days. Notably, the small hatchlings will open their eyes at 9 days of age, which is an important milestone if you want to hand-feed them rather than rely on natural incubation.
Raising chicks oneself is a joyful but time-consuming commitment, especially in the early stages. During the first two weeks of life, young chicks require nourishment every two hours. You can also choose to take them from the nest before they reach the 9-day mark, however, this procedure is riskier for the chicks and requires regular feedings on your side.
The unique orange cheek patches on the infant cockatiels will appear around the 18-day mark. They will resemble adult birds in appearance after around 30 days. The fledging process begins at 35 days of age when the young birds prepare to leave the nest.
Breeding and maintaining cockatiels requires time and effort, but the thrill of seeing them grow from hatchlings to fledglings can be very gratifying.
How to Care for a Whiteface Cockatiel?
1. Cage and Accessories for White-Faced Cockatiels
When setting up a comfortable living space for a White-Faced Cockatiel, it is crucial to choose the right cage size. The cage should be at least 1.5 to 2 times the bird’s total wingspan, which is approximately 12 inches for a Cockatiel.
For a single Cockatiel, the recommended minimum cage size is 19”x 18”x 24”. However, if you opt for a flight cage indoors, it should measure at least 27 inches in width and 24 inches in length.
For a pair of Cockatiels, the cage should be a minimum of 24 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 36 inches tall. If you plan to breed them, a breeding cage should be at least 20 x 20 x 50 inches.
In addition to the cage, several accessories are essential for your White-Faced Cockatiel’s well-being:
Perches: Provide various perches with different diameters to exercise your bird’s feet and prevent foot issues. Natural wood perches work well.
Toys: Keep your Cockatiel mentally stimulated and entertained with a variety of toys. Rotate them regularly to prevent boredom.
Food and Water Dishes: Ensure separate dishes for food and water. Stainless steel dishes are recommended for their durability and ease of cleaning. Remember to maintain a clean cage and provide fresh food and water daily.
Nesting Box: If you plan to breed your birds, offer a nesting box that’s at least 11 inches long, 10 inches deep, and 9 inches high.
While Cockatiels are generally good at self-grooming, occasional nail trimming and opportunities for bathing may be necessary. They enjoy bathing in lukewarm water in a shallow dish. Provide a shallow dish or bird bath for your Cockatiel to bathe in.
3. Nutrition and Diet
As an avian vet, I constantly urge bird owners to give well-rounded and balanced food to maintain their white-faced cockatiels’ maximum health and happiness. A healthy diet for these birds should include a variety of seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and high-quality pellet food.
To provide a full and well-balanced nutrition profile, use a seed mix created exclusively for parrots and supplement their diet with a variety of fresh foods. Furthermore, providing clean, fresh water and avoiding harmful and poisonous foods such as avocados, chocolate, and onions are important.
White-faced cockatiels benefit from exercise to prevent obesity. A spacious cage with ladders and perches allows for climbing and flying. Additionally, release them from the cage for about an hour daily in a closed environment for flying and playtime. Providing toys keeps them mentally stimulated and prevents destructive behavior and aggression.
Whiteface Cockatiel Lifespan
A white-faced cockatiel has an average lifetime of 16 to 20 years. Some people, though, have been known to live considerably longer. A cockatiel’s record longevity is 36 years, which was attained by a confined bird.
It is crucial to remember that a cockatiel’s lifetime can be impacted by a variety of factors including nutrition, activity, and living circumstances. As a result, giving your pet cockatiel the greatest care possible will help ensure a longer lifespan.
Whiteface Cockatiel for sale and Price
White-faced cockatiels, once rare, are now readily available. Numerous breeders are actively breeding and selling white-faced cockatiels. Reputable online breeder stores like PetBirdBreeders, BirdsByJoe, and Omarsexoticbirds in the US offer these birds for prices ranging from $200 to $600.
These mentioned breeders have established themselves in the industry over many years, ensuring trustworthiness in your purchase. The price of a white-faced cockatiel can vary based on factors such as age, mutation, health, and personality.
White-faced cockatiels are sometimes more expensive than other types. If you have trouble finding one, consider contacting local breeders who may be able to help you locate this exact breed. It is also worth checking with local pet stores to see if they have white-faced cockatiels.
If you are interested in adopting a white-faced cockatiel, I recommend visiting pet rescue organizations and adoption centers to enquire about the availability of white-faced cockatiels.
These facilities’ prices may be significantly lower than those of breeders. When adopting a bird, it is important to acquire background information on its health to help with care and management.
Thompson, Dale R. “Cockatiel Mutations.” AFA Watchbird 9.4 (1988): 14-17.
Rubin, Linda S. “Rare Cockatiel Color Mutations.” AFA Watchbird 18.1: 36-40.
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.