Cockatiel Lifespan: How Long Do Cockatiels Live?

Written by August Buck
Published: February 5, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/nedarb
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Cockatiels are unique and fascinating parrots, often making for lifelong companions. Where they are not considered as an exotic species, they could make great apartment pets. But how long do cockatiels live, and what can you expect out of bringing a new cockatiel home as a pet?

In this article, we’ll discuss how long the average cockatiel lives, both in the wild and in captivity. We will also discuss its average life cycle and compare it to another extremely popular pet bird, the parakeet.

Let’s get started.

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How long do cockatiels live?
Cockatiels are unique and fascinating birds, often making for lifelong companions.

iStock.com/PaulGulea

How Long Do Cockatiels Live?

Cockatiels live an average of 10-15 years, depending on whether they are wild or captive. Many wild cockatiels won’t make it to this age— many don’t live to see adulthood, given the threat of predators and environmental factors.

However, domesticated cockatiels can live long and rich lives. Some pet cockatiels have lived well into their twenties. The oldest recorded cockatiel was named Sunshine, and it lived to the age of 32!

There are many factors that affect a cockatiel’s lifespan, including their diet, socialization, the quality of air in your home, and more. Cockatiels are incredibly social birds, but this doesn’t mean they get along with everyone. Young children, for example, are not often cockatiel approved.

Keeping your pet cockatiel in a large enclosure with another cockatiel companion can be one of the best options for your family member. These birds love having a friend, as it helps them fight depression and keeps them from getting bored.

There are many other things you can do to keep your cockatiel happy, but let’s take a look at what a cockatiel’s life cycle is like. This way, you will know how to best take care of your bird no matter the age you adopt!

How long do cockatiels live?
Cockatiels live an average of 10-15 years, depending on whether they are wild or captive.

iStock.com/sapozhnik

The Average Cockatiel Life Cycle

Are you a new cockatiel owner? Or perhaps, you are just interested in the life cycle of these talkative birds. Here’s what their life journey is like, from birth to old age.

Hatchlings

Newborn hatchling cockatiels are born without feathers and senses, making them completely reliant on their parents for everything. A mother cockatiel lays anywhere from three to eight eggs, and she takes turns keeping the eggs and chicks warm with the father cockatiel.

By the end of their first week of life, most baby cockatiels are beginning to see and grow feathers. Additionally, their ear flaps may begin to open too. They will have full use of all of their senses by the end of their first month of life, as well as some extra feathers to boot.

Young Birds

Young cockatiels are extremely curious and endearing. The first three months of their lives involve them growing their feathers and weaning from their mother’s food supply. The process of growing out their feathers is called fledging. This is when a baby cockatiel grows all of the feathers it needs in order to fly.

Once their feathers have grown in and they have learned to forage for food on their own, most young cockatiels exhibit more independence by learning how to fly. Until their six month mark, young cockatiels are still learning this very important process.

How long do cockatiels live?
Young cockatiels are extremely curious and endearing.

iStock.com/tatchai

Adult Cockatiels

A cockatiel is considered an adult once it is fully grown and has reached sexual maturity. This can differ from bird to bird, but most cockatiels reach this point at the age of 8-12 months old. By this point, your pet cockatiel will be completely independent, will have its full feathers on display, and can fly with powerful wings.

However, adult cockatiels still enjoy company despite their newly discovered independence. For the rest of their lives, it is important to socialize your cockatiel frequently. This can include socialization with other birds as well as people. Any interaction is usually a positive thing for cockatiels!

Feeding your adult cockatiel a varied and structured diet, as well as giving them plenty of cockatiel-approved toys to play with is key to extending their lifespan. You should also seek a specialized veterinarian to care for your cockatiel as it ages.

How Does Their Lifespan Compare to Parakeets?

How long do cockatiels live?
When domesticated, cockatiels have a higher lifespan than parakeets.

Harsha K R / Creative Commons

Cockatiels are a very popular bird to bring home as a pet, but you may have noticed some parakeets at the pet store too. How does the lifespan of a cockatiel compare to that of a parakeet? Let’s talk more about these two common pets now!

Parakeets seem to have a harder time living in captivity, as their average lifespan while being kept in a cage is closer to ten years. In the wild, a parakeet can live for closer to 25 years. Why might this be? Many studies claim that parakeets thrive in large groups in the wild, both for protection and socialization.

Cockatiels have the opposite life cycle, as many tend to thrive longer in captivity than in the wild. Their domesticated lifespan is higher than a parakeet’s, averaging 12-15 years if not more. Parakeets can live a similarly long lifespan if given proper socialization, diet, and the ability to fly.

No matter the bird, both of these species require socialization, preferably with other birds. Both cockatiels and parakeets can suffer from depression and other mood disorders if not properly socialized and exercised! It may surprise you to hear that pet birds can have such emotional awareness, but it’s true. Give your pet cockatiel or parakeet ample socialization, as soon as possible!

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.