Ask Lafeber


October 17, 2017

Are Cockatiels Good Starter Birds?

Are cockatiels good birds for beginners that don’t have any bird experience? I’m interested in a bird that isn’t too small and I can build a trusted relationship with, and the cockatiel seemed just right. After doing some research I wondered if the cockatiel was actually a good starter bird because of how much attention it needs. While I have no doubt I can give it the attention it requires, I still wonder if I should start with a budgie or some other smaller bird.

Thank you so much!


Hi Stella,

A cockatiel can be a great starter bird. They really are no more challenging than a budgie. And some of the smaller parrots can be a bit feisty.

Keep in mind that any bird you get will need a certain amount of attention. And any species will present challenges from time to time – it is just part of their natural behavior to go through certain changes as they get older.

I would recommend finding a reputable breeder or bird specialty shop. Be sure to have an avian vet lined up before you pick your new bird. And make sure you can handle the bird at the breeder’s or pet shop. Ideally you would want a recently weaned, hand fed or co-parented baby.

You need to do your research on diet, housing and behavior as well as enrichment – types of toys and ways to provide foraging exercise versus just providing a bowl of seeds or pellets.

We have most of the information gathered for you on this website, so I will give you the main link to get you started. We are also here to help once you find your new bird.

This page contains links to everything you will need to read to prepare for a new bird:

Caring For Your Bird

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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