Can You Keep A Single Cockatiel, Or Do They Need A Companion?

  • Time to read: 6 min.

“Can I keep a single cockatiel?” Beginner cockatiel owners often ask this question, especially if they are not ready to keep two pets. This question may also arise if you know that parrots are sociable and like company. 

You can keep a single cockatiel. But your pet may see you as its mate, prompting it to require undivided attention from you. Cockatiels are also easier to tame when kept without a pair that may distract them.

Can I Keep A Single Cockatiel?

Cockatiels are among the most popular parrots kept as pets. The reason is that they are affectionate and calm. And although they are not as good as other parrots in terms of talking, they can whistle exceptionally and learn tunes. 

But parrots are known to be sociable. It may lead you to the question – “Can I keep a single cockatiel?” 

Is It Okay For Cockatiels To Live Alone?

Unlike many birds, cockatiels can live in a cage without a partner. However, it is essential to note that a cockatiel living alone will need lots of attention from its human companion. The reason is that it sees you as its mate, so that it will require regular contact with you. 

For instance, if your cockatiel cannot see you in the room, it will scream as a form of communication. Rather than a sign of bad behavior, that scream means that your pet is looking for you. 

So, while you can keep a single cockatiel, it will mean that you have to keep it company most of the time. If you are busy enough to pay enough attention to it, you should purchase another cockatiel for companionship. However, this step will make your bird less attached to you. (source)

The Pros And Cons Of Having A Cockatiel

ProsCons
Cockatiels are smartDifficult to train
Easy to care forNeedy and require lots of attention (source)
Less noisy than other parrots
Excellent apartment pets

How Long Do Cockatiels Live Tamed?

Cockatiels can be entirely dependent on their care provider. So, it is crucial to do as much research as possible before deciding to own one. That said, a cockatiel’s lifespan depends on how you take care of it.

A well-taken-care-of cockatiel can live up to 15 years, so you can keep a single cockatiel and have a constant companion. 

Meaning bringing one home as a pet is a long-time commitment. A 15-year cockatiel lifespan is attainable if the bird has no genetic defects or has not met any accident. 

According to the book “Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning” by James Pustejovsky and Amber Stubbs, “The lifespan of a cockatiel in captivity is typically 15 to 20 years, but they live between 10 – 30 years in the wild.” (source)

Is It Hard To Tame A Cockatiel?

While you can keep a single cockatiel, taming it is still an essential part of having one as a pet. Fortunately, the taming process is more straightforward if you only have one cockatiel. The reason is that a pair of these parrots may distract each other while you are training them. 

It is hard to tame a cockatiel as the process requires time, effort, and patience. It would be best to start when the bird is as young as eight to 12 weeks old. But it is an excellent satisfaction once your cockatiel is already tamed. 

If you have a pair of cockatiels, the best thing is to tame them separately. This way, each bird will focus on you alone without any distractions. 

Notably, taming a cockatiel may take up to weeks, and even months, so you need patience and perseverance. (source)

Why Do Cockatiels Hate Perching On Fingers?

As a beginner bird owner, you can keep a single cockatiel, provided that you give it enough attention. But if you own an untamed cockatiel, you may observe that it is afraid of hands and fingers. New parrot owners often offer their hands cupped to their cockatiels with their fingers pointing upwards. 

However, offering only a single finger for the cockatiel to perch on is a mistake. The reason is that your parrot sees your fingers as something wiggling coming towards them. As a result, they become terrified and refuse to step up. 

Additionally, offering a single finger can result in getting bitten. Such is especially true if you have a new tamed parrot as they may not feel safe on a single finger. 

A single finger is not thick enough to serve as a perch where the cockatiel can stand steadily. Such may result in your parrot losing balance and falling. (sources)

Do Cockatiels Like To Cuddle?

Cockatiels are undeniably gentle and loving. They often charm their owners into spending time with them, doing exercises and activities. Generally, cockatiels are

  • friendly
  • affectionate
  • intelligent

That said, cockatiels like to cuddle. Such is especially true if you keep a single cockatiel. They will chirp to call your attention, asking you to rub their feathers behind their crest. 

Your cockatiel may even perch on your shoulder and have other people touch them without biting. 

Cockatiels are personable. You can teach them to perch quietly on a stranger as long as they touch the bird gently. 

But while cockatiels are cuddly parrots, they also appreciate ambient attention. They can be happy by just being out of the cage while you are busy with activities like watching TV or reading. (source)

What Is The Best Age To Get A Cockatiel?

Cockatiels may be smaller than other parrots. But they possess prominent personalities, especially when they become adults. They can be charismatic and highly entertaining. For this reason, a cockatiel can be one of the best pet birds to keep.

While you can either keep a single cockatiel or a pair, the essential thing to note is that there is an ideal age to get a chick.

In captivity, cockatiel chicks explore their surroundings at six to 10 weeks. They can explore by leaving their nests for short periods. At this age, the chicks need to return to their nests as their parents still need to feed them. 

At 12 weeks old, the chicks can already survive on their own. So, you can safely get a pet cockatiel chick at 12 weeks of age. (source)

The Takeaway

Cockatiels are not as sociable as other parrots. For this reason, you can keep a single cockatiel without worrying that it may get lonely in its cage. However, it is essential to note that getting only one cockatiel means spending time and attention and keeping it busy with regular activities. 

A single cockatiel may also be noisier than a pair. The reason is that your pet bird will scream to look for you once it notices that you are not in the room. 

But the advantage of getting just one cockatiel is that it is easier to tame as there will be no distractions during the training. 

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Sources

  1. C. B. Chastain, Animal Handling and Physical Restraint. Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
  2. James Pustejovsky, Amber Stubbs, Natural Language Annotation for Machine Learning. USA: O’Reilly Media, 2013.
  3. William Thomas Green, Notes On Cage Birds: Or, Practical Hints On The Management Of British And Foreign Cage Birds, Hybrids, And Canaries, By Various Hands. Oxford University: 1882.
  4. Darla Birde, Your Dream Pet Bird: Everything You Need to Know to Start Right With Lovebirds and Cockatiels. Dreambirbs Publications, 2019.
  5. Brian L. Speer, Kim Campbell Thornton, Gina Spadafori, Birds For Dummies. Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2021.