Skip to Content

How To Tell The Age Of A Cockatiel!

If you’re thinking about getting a pet cockatiel, the first thing you need to know is how to tell the age of a cockatiel.

You can tell how old a cockatiel is based on how it looks, how its feathers have been developing, and common signs of aging birds such as wear and tear on the feet and claws.

The best age to adopt a pet cockatiel is 12 months or later to ensure that you’re getting a bird that’s mature enough to be on its own.

Cockatiels are incredibly social birds and they can even learn to mimic human speech over time.

Male cockatiels are especially vocal and it’s common for them to learn everything from phrases in human languages to whistling along to your favorite songs. Cockatiels develop close personal bonds with people around them and are very social animals.

The older your cockatiel gets, the more personality it’s going to show. Just like people, cockatiels develop more of a sense of who they are the older they get.

This is why you should look for more mature cockatiels when you’re looking for a pet. Here’s what you need to know to tell the age of a cockatiel.

How To Tell The Age Of A Cockatiel!

Learning how to tell the age of a cockatiel can be a challenging task. This is because unless you have the cockatiel since it hatched, it’s nearly impossible to tell the exact age of this particular type of bird.

However, there are ways to tell the general age of a cockatiel based on its physical maturity, it’s characteristics like its beak and tail feathers, and even its personality characteristics can give you a hint at how old the bird is.

Let’s take a look at some of the physical and personality characteristics that can tell you how old a cockatiel is.

Let’s start off our discussion by talking about what makes a young cockatiel look so young in the first place. There are a few physical characteristics that only young cockatiels ever exhibit.

Young cockatiels tend to have shorter feathers around their beaks which tend to make their beaks look more pronounced, they have larger eyes compared to the size of their head, and they tend to have shorter tail feathers as well as a shorter crest on the top of their head.

Older cockatiels have fuzzy feathers on their face which makes the beak look a little buried then all that fuzz, their eyes also look smaller when compared to the overall size of their heads, and the last thing you can look for to see if your cockatiel is older is the length of the tail feathers compared to the body as well as the length of the crest on the top of the head.

There are some personality characteristics that can help you determine how old your cockatiel is. When cockatiels reach maturity, especially in males, they have some unique behavioral changes that are very easy to spot.

Male cockatiels reach maturity sometime around six months old and they show a few personality changes including being more vocal and hopping up and down to attract mates.

Female cockatiels can start to exhibit a behavior known as brooding where they will begin to build nests in the expectation that they will soon be laying eggs and raising cockatiels of their own.

What Does An Old Cockatiel Look Like?

There is one surprising trick that you need to know for determining what an old cockatiel looks like. In fact, old cockatiels and older humans share a lot of physical changes when they mature through their ages.

An old cockatiel is going to have a beak that looks a little worn and may have some nicks and scratches on it, their feet will also be a little weathered and their claws will be longer and slightly curled, you can also expect their feathers to be longer especially counting their tail feathers.

Here’s how you can spot an older cockatiel next time you’re at a pet store.

The first thing you want to do is look at the face of the cockatiel. There’s a lot you can learn from looking into the eyes of a bird as expressive as a cockatiel.

Older cockatiels look like they have smaller eyes, but this is only because their heads have grown bigger with age. Their beaks also appear a little scuffed and can even have scratches or other blemishes from years of use.

Feathers can also tell you a lot about the age of a bird. Older cockatiels, especially males, tend to have very long tail feathers when compared to the length of their bodies.

The crest on the top of a cockatiel’s head also gets longer as the cockatiel gets older. A nice tall crest on the top of a cockatiel’s head is a sure sign that it’s an adult if not an elder cockatiel.

How Old Are Cockatiels When They Are Sold?

Now that you know how to tell the general age of a cockatiel, what age should you look for when you’re going to buy your next feathery pet?

The best age to buy a young cockatiel is around 12 months old because this is the age when a cockatiel will be mature enough to leave the nest so to speak.

You can also adopt adult and older cockatiels as a great way to get a pet from your local animal shelter that might not get adopted otherwise. Here’s a closer look at why you should adopt mature cockatiels.

Any cockatiel that’s younger than eight months old is far too young to be adopted unless you have specialized experience hand feeding baby parrots. Cockatiels younger than eight months old simply aren’t ready to leave their nest.

After about 12 months, cockatiels will start to mature and can get along on their own even though you’re still going to want to get at least two cockatiels so they have some company.

There’s nothing wrong with adopting a cockatiel that’s much older than 12 months. In fact, adopting an adult or older cockatiel can be a great way to get a pet that’s used to being handled by people and looking for love.

Older cockatiels are often calmer which makes them an ideal choice for people looking for their first bird.


Now you know all the basics of how to tell the age of a cockatiel. Make sure to look for things like the size of the eyes compared to the size of the head, wear and tear on the beak and feet, and the length of the tail feathers to get a good guess at how old the bird is. You should never adopt a cockatiel younger than eight months old and adopting an adult cockatiel might be the right decision for beginner bird keepers.