Cockatiel Review

Male vs Female Cockatiel: Differences in Appearance and Behavior

Are you going to get your favorite pet bird? A cockatiel is a good choice. These parrots are likely to become your companions. They are beautiful, interactive and smart. However, you would definitely like to compare male vs female cockatiel. It’s great to know the differences in beforehand.

You would just know what to expect from your pets. Quite naturally, a pair of birds should share the best cockatiel cage. But, which of them whistles, bites or hisses? Which parrot is more colorful? Can you tell the difference without the DNA test?

male vs female cockatiel

What Does a Cockatiel Look Like?

The cockatiel is a bird, coming from Australia. According to Wikipedia, it belongs to the cockatoo family. Meanwhile, the parrots’ plumage colorations may be different.

The basic types are:

  • Lutino;
  • white-faced;
  • grey;
  • cinnamon;
  • pied.

Normal grey cockatiels with yellow heads are the easiest to distinguish. I mean, you can easily tell the mutation type, not the bird’s sex. Commonly, this parrot is 8-12 inches long. It has a small beak, prominent nostrils, and a specific, long tail.

A white cockatiel bird, male or female, features white of greyish face. It has no yellow coloring, neither orange cheeks. Male parrots just come with whiter heads.

General Characteristics Your Cockatiels

Meanwhile, both cockatiels, boy or girl, are to be healthy. Their eyes are to be bright and clear. The feathers should not be damaged or dirty. The companion birds are to be playful and curious.

The best food for cockatiels doesn’t differ a lot, according to the bird’s sex. It is to include water, seeds or pellets, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates. Vitamin supplements may be essential. Female cockatiels just need some more calcium. It’s necessary during the breeding period.

However, is my cockatiel male or female? This question may arise when you are going to breed the birds. Are you getting a new pet? Well, it may be also important. You are to match the pair to live in a cage. The age, species, and sex are to be considered.

How to Tell if a Cockatiel is Male or Female?

If you know, what can cockatiels eat, it’s pretty good. Food is the foundation stone of your pet care. However, do you still wonder, who is your cockatiel: male or female? You would tell it only when your bird is already adult.

The cockatiels, younger than 6-9 months, can hardly be visually sexed. They look virtually the same. The visual differences of an adult male (grey) parrot include:

  • colorful plumage;
  • a bright, yellow head;
  • distinctive, orange cheek patches;
  • narrow pelvis;
  • solid grey tail feathers.

Female cockatiels stand out by wider pelvic bones. It’s necessary for their eggs laying mission. Their heads are commonly duller, more greyish.

Female birds commonly have spots on wing feathers. Their tails are patterned or striped. Some barring is possible. However, these peculiarities are individual. For example, Loki has a plain grey tail. Initially, I thought, she was a male bird.

how to tell if a cockatiel is male or female

Should I Get a Male or Female Cockatiel?

Thus, the difference between male and female cockatiel looks beyond the appearance. The birds’ behavior is a bit different.

Female cockatiel

For example, female parrots are:

  • quiet;
  • friendly;
  • gentle;
  • affectionate;
  • shy and reserved.

Females are screeching a lot. However, they might be aggressive, as well. Female birds are likely to hiss or bite people. They can do it when you put your hands in the cage.

Male cockatiel

Do you consider which cockatiel: male or female is better? You might think about whistling and vocal abilities. In this view, male cockatiels are preferable. They are much more talkative than female birds.

Additionally, male parrots like strutting around. Consider it, selecting the best cockatiel toys for your pets. For instance, Yo-Yo likes looking at the mirror. Sweetie commonly pays no attention at it. She likes small objects, like plastic beads. She may fiddle with them or sit on them. Perhaps, the bird treats the beads like the eggs, defending her nesting area.

Common verdict

Thus, is male or female cockatiel a better pet? It’s a matter of your taste and your needs. If you like a bird to talk and whistle, select a male parrot. However, females are friendly and gentle.

Video: what cockatiel difference between the male vs female


Hi, my name is Charlie. I come from Patchogue Village, New York. Are you fond of cockatiels? As for me, I’ve got four pet birds. Their names are Yo-Yo and Sweetie, Nigel and Loki. Do you know how to care for them? I’m trying to hunt down the questions now. Join me, and let’s do it together.


  • Hi, My lutino has no spots or strips on tale or wings… and doesnt whistle just chirps when it wants attention. It has dull orange cheeks though so im not sure of the gender. Does anyone know? Thanks.

  • Hi, Sadie.
    It is possible that your lutino will be female.
    But I do not have a 100% guarantee.
    Can someone tell me more precisely?

    Thanks, Charlie.

  • I have 2 white faced breeding cockateils. In a cage. Not tame but will feed from hand in cage to a point where the male will back off but greyer female will be more greedy too. I dont think theyve been hand reared. Only had them 6 months and also no eggs or mating. Any advice?

  • Hi Simone,
    If I understood your question correctly, then you are expecting offspring from your pets, right?
    Maybe they need a little more time to get used to each other. And then they will succeed.
    Another point: very often the “boys” begin to lay eggs, that is, they turn out to be just girls 🙂
    Are you sure you have a boy-girl pair?

  • Cockatiels are social birds that need plenty of companionship, time and attention in order to stay happy and healthy.
    I have been breeding cockatiels for a long time, and therefore I think that I know a lot about them. Male and female cockatiels are not too different when it comes to size, sex, or habits, but they do have noticeable differences between them that are often hard to spot for the novice.

  • Did you know that Cockatiels are different depending on their sex?
    You may be asking yourself why you need to know the difference, and the reason is that the Male and Female are very different in appearance and behavior.

  • I have a cockatiel approximately about 3 and a half maths old and a kakariki approximately 9 to 10 mths old can they be put in the same cage as I aware the kakariki is a girl not sure about the cockatiel wether boy or girl

  • Hi Agnes,
    I can think of several reasons why this is not recommended.
    First, both species are territorial and will defend space, which they consider their own, from other species. Also, the two species need different foods.
    In general, however, kakariki and cockatiel together sometimes get along, judging by some reviews from their owners.