Of the species of parrot commonly kept as pets, cockatiels are thought to be one of the best and easiest to care for. They are easy to breed, easy to train, and not very noisy or destructive and require simple, inexpensive accommodations.
At the Zoo
As of August 2013, there are three cockatiels at Brookfield Zoo:
Sweetpea arrived at Brookfield Zoo on December 2, 2010.
Pretzel arrived at Brookfield Zoo on December 2, 2010.
Gretel arrived at Brookfield Zoo on December 2, 2010.
Status in the Wild
Cockatiels are sexually dimorphic (with two distinct gender forms): males have brighter coloring and a slightly darker body. The underside of the tail feathers is black in males but barred with gray and yellow in females. Gender is difficult to distinguish until the birds reach adulthood. Cockatiels have a yellow and gray crest, orange cheeks, and a predominantly gray body. The edges of their wings are bordered by white bands. There are several mutations, including the Lutino mutation, a white cockatiel with pale yellow plumage; the Pearl mutation, which has pale yellow to white plumage on the neck, mantle, and breast; and the Pied mutation, which is irregularly marked. They have a parrot-like beak for cracking seeds and nuts.
Cockatiels are not threatened in their native populations. Habitat destruction will most likely cause a decrease in population sizes over time. They are vigorously bred in captive situations, however, so the species' survival is nearly guaranteed.
Listed as "least concern" on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources).