The Cockatiel parrot is a species of the drier parts of Australia. It is an attractive bird despite its generally grey appearance. The highlight is the pale yellow face and crest and its distinctive orange ear patch in the male; the female being paler and greyer on the head. It is a bird of the open plains, open scrublands and woodlands and where cereal crops are grown.
The Cockatiel is a very popular cage bird. I can remember having one in a cage when I was a child. It will mimic the human voice and can be taught to say a few words.
I have recorded this species in our garden on a number of occasions over the years but it is by no means common here. Over the last month, however, I have seen and heard a solitary bird in the mallee scrub at the back of our house. I haven’t managed a photo of it yet. I suspect it is an escaped bird from someone’s aviary as it allows me to approach to within a few metres before flying off a short distance. Our neighbour has had several of this species in her aviary but I haven’t had a chance to ask her whether it’s her bird or not.
The public aviary I visited in Pinnaroo last week contained a good variety of Australian parrots. One species I was able to photograph through the wire mesh was a Cockatiel parrot. Up until now I hadn’t managed a good shot of this species in the wild, so I was pleased to get this photo.
Cockatiels are found throughout many parts of mainland Australia, except coastal NSW and southern Victoria. Their preferred habitats include open woodlands, scrubland, plains, timbered watercourses and grain growing farmlands. They are known to be nomadic in response to rainfall.
They make their nest in a tree hollow, often near water and their breeding season is from August to December.They feed on a variety of grass seeds, nuts, berries and grain.
They are known in some areas by their Aboriginal name Quarrion, a name which mimics one of their calls. They make excellent pets and can be taught to speak a few words. I remember having one at home when I was a child, but he didn’t learn many words – despite my efforts.