Cockatiels in the Wild

Cockatiels are really sociable feathered fellas. They love to hang around in flocks ranging from around 10 to sometimes 1000 or more. Cockatiels will gather in larger flocks in areas where food is plentiful. Their main choices of food are grasses, crops (like wheat) and the seed from trees like acacia.

Cockatiels are happy feeding either from tress or on the ground. In certain parts of northern Australia, cockatiels tend to be somewhat nomadic. This means that they will travel to find areas which make good feeding sites and areas that have suitable nesting holes. In southern Australia, on the other hand cockatiels migrate and will breed when food is at it's easiest to find.

A day in the life of a wild cockatiel

Cockatiels are early risers - they will normally wake before sunrise and head off to their favoured feeding ground. They are light sleepers, so if anything disturbs them at night, they will fly away from it.

It doesn't take cockatiels long to travel as they can fly at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. That's pretty fast - they can cover a lot of ground even in relatively short flights. It's particularly useful when they are scouring different areas for food.

When a flock of cockatiels take off in the morning, it's quite a noise! They will call quite loudly so as to keep the other half of their pair in contact. They will also call loudly if there's any signs of danger. They are very alert to danger, such as attack from predators like hawks.

The flock of cockatiels will stay at their feeding ground for some time. Once they've eaten they will probably have some rest in nearby trees and might even fit in some play-time too! Cockatiels eat intermittently so they will eat a number of times each day. It's important that there is water nearby as their food is normally very dry.

In the middle of the day, around noon, the temperatures in Australia can become incredibly high. Cockatiels will be fairly inactive during this hot period as they find shade and have a snooze, on and off. After this rest the cockatiels will pop to their feeding site again for another top-up. The cockatiels will then return to their nesting area before dark.

Cockatiels that are breeding in the wild have to care for their chicks or spend time incubating their eggs. Cockatiels will usually lay around 5 eggs at a time. Both the male and female cockatiel will share the incubating and feeding duties. It's the male cockatiel that searches for food for their chicks. It's hard work for cockatiels that are breeding in the wild - they will travel great distances to find food for their young.

Cockatiel chicks in the wild

A cockatiel's eggs will normally hatch after about 20 days. The young chick will leave the nest when they are about 4 weeks old but will still rely on their parents for some time. These youngsters will learn how to feed and slowly become more and more independent of their parents. Only the fittest young cockatiels will survive - most don't make it to a year old unfortunately. Things like disease and predators are all too common.

Cockatiel in the wild