Watch the cuteness that is cockatoos and cockatiels on YouTube or in an aviary, and you start to wonder: can these two species live together, and the answer is yes, but with a caveat.
Can Cockatoos and Cockatiels Live Together? They can live together, but only if you watch them very closely. A cockatoo is a lot larger than a cockatiel and can easily injure or even kill the cockatiel. Be sure you are 110% certain they get along before you allow them to play together.
It should also be noted some owners state they should NEVER be alone together. Read on to find out more details.
Why Do I Need to Watch Them Closely?
The reason you must be very vigilant about your cockatoo and cockatiel interacting is that there are fundamental differences between the two birds.
Certainly, the differences are obvious: Cockatoos kept at home are mostly Moluccan or Umbrella cockatoos, white in color, and large.
Cockatiels are known for their mostly yellow or gray hues and red cheeks, plus their small stature. Younger cockatoos that are not fully grown may match the size of a cockatiel, but this will not last and he will get bigger.
The sounds each bird makes are different, also. Because we are dealing with a larger bird when handling a cockatoo, the sounds are subsequently bigger. They are also more apt to imitate words that you and your family say a lot.
Meanwhile, a cockatiel can be intimidated by these big sounds as they are smaller and tend to chirp and make bird sounds more often than they speak. If your cockatiel does speak, it will be difficult to understand.
Another huge difference between the two that prevents them from being together is the care needed for each bird. Both birds are very smart, but cockatoos are absolutely the more social of the two birds.
Cockatoos have to be welcomed into your family and treated as such.
You would have your cockatoo relax with the family on an open perch while you all watched TV, for instance, or sharing small pieces of fruit while you all ate dinner.
You must talk to your cockatoo as you would a family member. Playtime and training time is also necessary for mental stimulation. Your cockatoo sees YOU as his flock.
Some cockatoos can get very possessive of their person, and if they notice your attention is going to a cockatiel, things could get bad if they are alone.
Meanwhile, cockatiels can be left alone and do not require as much socialization as a cockatoo.
You absolutely need to play with, mentally stimulate and exercise your cockatiel each day, but they can be left alone for a longer period of time.
They are also generally very friendly with people, whereas a cockatoo can be possessive as mentioned before.
The toys each bird enjoys are also quite different. Videos on YouTube show cockatiels enjoying jingle-bell balls, bird toys that make noise and can be climbed upon, tiny basketball hoops, plus more.
Cockatoos, on the other hand, can destroy these toys rather easily and prefer toys that challenge them. Puzzle balls, for instance, that contain a small treat once solved are fun for cockatoos.
You must watch to make sure your cockatoo does not destroy the toys of your cockatiel should you allow them to play together.
Differences in Care Needs – Can they live in the same cage?
If your idea was to keep the two of them in one huge cage, the answer is absolutely NO. Not only is this a bad idea due to the nature of the cockatoo and the comparatively small size of the cockatiel but the care needs are completely different for each bird.
It is already difficult enough to get them to get along with one another when they haven’t known each other since they were young.
And even if they have known each other since then, there is always the chance that the cockatoo could turn on the cockatiel at any time.
It is important to remember that the socialization and play needs are different for each bird, and the physical objects needed to care for each of them are different also.
For instance, a cockatoo needs a cage that is at least 29”x46”x72”, and that is for a medium-size bird. You must also take into consideration the bar spacing for a cockatoo, recommended 1 to 1.5 inches.
Meanwhile, a cockatiel needs a cage that is 20”x20”x24, and the bars need only be 1/2” to 5/8”.
Therefore, it is critical that you have two separate cages if you wish to keep a cockatoo and a cockatiel and ensure they are also the appropriate size.
How to Socialize Safely
First, really assess your cockatoo and cockatiel’s personalities. Is your cockatoo aggressive? Is your cockatiel aggressive? If so, then that’s a huge red flag that they should NOT be allowed to socialize.
Start out by placing their cages a safe distance apart so they can see one another.
Allow them to acknowledge one another and see how they act. If all goes well, you may bring them out for short periods of socialization time together.
Second, make sure you are 100% invested in the playtime. No phones, no television, no magazines to read while the birds play.
You have to watch them closely as you would children on a playground. You must look for signs of aggression, jealousy or hostility.
Knowing your birds’ personalities, you should be aware of how your bird acts when he or she feels this way. These are usually more pronounced in cockatoos, who tend to be more emotionally needy.
If there are even the slightest signs of aggression, jealousy or the like, place one of the two birds back into their cage and allow them to try again later once they have calmed down.
It is important to understand that they may never like to be around one another. As a bird owner, you have to be aware that you might have to socialize each of them separately.
Do not put your birds in a dangerous situation because you feel they should get along.
What Birds Can Be Kept with Cockatiels? Parakeets may be kept with cockatiels, but some experts advise against this due to the size discrepancy between the birds. Lovebirds, large parrots or finches/canaries should also not be housed with cockatiels.
Can Budgies and Cockatiels Live Together? Yes. Flocks of budgies and cockatiels live together in the wild, so they can do this in captivity, too. However, there is always the risk that one bird could get hurt, so be sure you monitor them and make sure their personalities are a good fit for each other.
Are Cockatoos Related to Cockatiels? The cockatiel is in fact related to the cockatoo. Within the family of birds cacatuidae, there are 21 species of cockatoo. Cockatiels are the only Nymphicus genus members. They are the smallest of the cockatoo species and make for very popular pets.
It is best that you do NOT allow your cockatoo and cockatiel to live together in the same cage, but they can live in the same house provided there are adequate cages, toys, and most importantly attention and care given to each bird so as to foster growth and development.