Choosing between Cockatiels and Parrots

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated February 17, 2009)

After carefully weighing all the available options out there for a new feathered friend you, you have narrowed the decision down to either a cockatiel or a parrot. Unfortunately, you simply do not know which one you would prefer. To help make that decision, I have listed some of the chief characteristics of both birds. Use this simple side by side comparison to help you decide which of these two beautiful birds to join your family. A word of advice, cockatiels and parrots are all part of the same family, and many times get confused for each other. But there are some differences.


  • Size. On average, the cockatiel is about 12 inches in length, though some can get to be larger.
  • Personality. These birds are extremely playful and like to show affection for those that they consider family. It is usually best to begin your ownership of these birds when they are young, when you it is easier to imprint upon them. While these birds are easy to get along with, you should be careful to not have them around children that are under the age of six. Children around that age have a hard time to understand "boundaries" when it comes to pets.
  • Cost. The initial cost of these birds can start at $50.00. The price only goes up with changes to the coloring and size.
  • Caging. Cockatiels should only be housed in cages that have no greater spacing between 3/4" in spacing. They are going to be very active, and since they like to play and climb around, this is going to give them the chance to do just that.
  • Life Span. On average, 15 to 20 years; with proper diet and care, 25 to 30 years.


  • Size. Depending on the specific type, the parrot can be as small as 5 inches and as large as 26 inches or more.
  • Personality. Parrots in general are very easy going and gentle. That being said however, it quite often depends on the particular bird. If you do not take time to evaluate the bird prior to purchase, you might be surprised with that one "bad egg."
  • Cost. Anywhere from $50.00 to $1000.00.
  • Caging. Depending on the size of the bird, you need to choose a cage where the bars are close enough that it allows easy climbing, but not far enough apart to allow the bird to escape.
  • Life Span. A parrot's lifespan can be anywhere from 5 years to as high as 30.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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