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Blue Cockatiel: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

a blue cockatiel

If you’re looking to adopt a cockatiel, few colorations are quite as stunning and rare as blue. Unfortunately, this lovely bird is difficult to find and doesn’t bear the same markings as more widely available colors, making it even more highly sought-after. Read on to learn more about this amazing cockatiel.

Length: 12–13 inches
Weight: 70–120 grams
Lifespan: 16–25 years in captivity
Colors: Blue, white, gray, black
Suitable for: First-time bird owners, households with children
Temperament: Friendly, gentle, affectionate, playful

Blue cockatiels are exceedingly rare and difficult to come by. Despite what its name suggests, this bird isn’t really blue at all. Instead, its plumage is white with darker gray or black markings on the wings. It has a hint of gray-blue on the tail. Unlike many other cockatiel varieties, it does not have cheek patches or a yellow wash on its head.

Blue Cockatiel Characteristics


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The Earliest Records of Blue Cockatiel in History

While there is no definitive answer when the blue cockatiel coloration came about, the earliest record of any cockatiel was in the late 1700s. When the species was first discovered and described by Australian naturalists, the area we know today as Australia was still called New Holland. This is why the cockatiel has “hollandicus” as part of its species title (Nymphicus hollandicus).

How Blue Cockatiel Gained Popularity

Though the Europeans discovered cockatiels in the 1770s, it wasn’t until the 1900s that their popularity started to blossom. The species is well-liked because of its docile, friendly, and affectionate personalities. It fits right into home life and tends to bond closely with humans. In addition, its small size makes it easy to keep in nearly any sized home, especially when considering its cousin, the cockatoo, can be twice its size.

In addition, they can sometimes be kept even in apartments or shared dwellings as they’re quieter than other parrots. Though, if you’re worried about your cockatiel making too much noise, you might consider adopting a female instead. Males can be very loud, and their squawks, especially in the morning, can be heard from far and wide.

Cockatiels are currently the second most popular caged bird after budgies.

Blue Cockatiel
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of Blue Cockatiel

Since the cockatiel is such a popular species, several clubs and societies have been formed to not only appreciate them but to exhibit them as well.

The National Cockatiel Society Exhibition is one of the largest. It promotes the ownership, exhibition, and breeding of cockatiels. Their website lists dozens of upcoming and past exhibitions and shows specifically for cockatiels in states like California, North Carolina, and many in between.

In the cockatiel’s homeland of Australia, the Native Cockatiel Society of Australia Inc. is dedicated to the keeping and breeding of cockatiels. They offer members meetings, guest lecturers, table showers, and more.

bird dividerTop 4 Unique Facts About Blue Cockatiel

1. Cockatiels cannot be exported out of Australia

In 1894, Australia banned the exportation of any wild cockatiel from the country. That means that any cockatiel found anywhere else in the world was bred domestically. Thankfully, cockatiels breed readily in captivity, unlike most of their parrot relatives.

2. Cockatiel color mutations weren’t discovered until the 1950s

Although cockatiels were discovered as a species in the 1700s, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the first known color mutations began popping up. Once breeders realized how diverse their birds could become, they started breeding selectively to achieve specific patterns and colors.

3. Some cockatiels can talk

Though birds like the African Grey or Amazon parrots take the spotlight when it comes to talking bird species, some cockatiels can learn to mimic speech. Male cockatiels are likelier to produce intricate sounds and whistles than their female counterparts. This is simply because they use their voice to woo the ladies during the breeding season.

Cockatiels can learn to repeat syllables and mimic some parts of speech. Of course, its speech won’t sound as clear and concise as that of an African Grey, but with some time and patience, you should understand your cockatiel’s words.

4. A cockatiel’s crest can tell you about its mood

The distinctive cockatiel crest acts as a mood indicator. It is vertical when the bird is excited or startled, oblique when it’s in a relaxed state, or flat to the head when it’s agitated or angry. When trying to woo a mate, the crest can be held flat but protrude out the back.

Image Credit: Image Credit: CapturePB, Shutterstock

Does the Blue Cockatiel Make a Good Pet?

Cockatiels, regardless of their coloration, make fantastic pets. There’s a reason they’re one of the most common pet bird species, after all.

They’re friendly, curious, affectionate, and make great companions. Cockatiels are highly entertaining as they’re predictable, and most love a good dance session. If you have a male, you’ll likely get sung to and can even teach it to say a few words. They generally enjoy being handled and bond well with their human family members.

On the downside, cockatiels produce much more dust than other companion birds. This comes down to how they grow and maintain their feathers. As a result, you’ll likely need to dust a lot more when you have a cockatiel in your home.

bird dividerConclusion

Cockatiels, regardless of their coloration, are beautiful birds that make great companions. The blue cockatiel, along with the whiteface, is among the rarest types. Therefore, if you have your heart set on adopting one of these birds, you may have your work cut out for you.

Featured Image Credit: Birute Vijeikiene, Shutterstock

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