How Long Do Cockatiels Live As A Pet?

No matter how difficult it is to accept, our pets will not live to see us grow old. Whether you have a cat, dog, or bird as a pet, you may already be interested in learning how long they will live. Unfortunately, life expectancy varies considerably when it comes to wild or captive cockatiels. But, how long do cockatiels live as a pet?

How Long Do Cockatiels Live As A Pet? Cockatiels are small to medium-sized birds that originated in Australia. These bird species live for around 15-25 years in captivity. However, with proper care and nutrition, cockatiel can live even longer. On the other side in the wild, cockatiels are expected to live anywhere between 10-15 years.

Live expectancy also depends on the type of cockatiel.

This article can also go a long way in helping you give your cockatiel the best care so that it can live a long and healthy life. So, let’s get started and answer all the questions you need to know!

How Long Do Cockatiels Live In Captivity? (Life Expectancy For Each Cockatiel Species)

Cockatiels live shorter in the wild than in captivity. This is great info for the first-time owner, and you are probably happy for hearing this.

They live for around 15-25 years on average when held captive or taken in by private owners. A healthier cockatiel can live for 25 years or even more.

However, a cockatiel’s lifespan will always depend on several factors, including the amount of exercise, proper care, food intake, and quality of diet.

Additionally, it may differ according to their species which are listed below:

Lutino cockatiel

The lifespan of the lutino cockatiel in captivity is on average from 15 to 20 years. However, how long will lutino cockatiels live depends on their overall health, breed, lineage, food, exercise, as well as their mental disposition.

Grey cockatiel

These bird species come with dark grey feathers over their entire bodies and long tails. Despite its name, this type of bird bears a unique charm. However, when given proper care and attention, they can live anywhere between 17-20 years or even more.

Pearl cockatiel

A pearl cockatiel can easily live for 15 years or longer. This cockatiel species is marked by a unique scalloped pattern of white spots on the body, wings, and head. However, their lifespan as with other cockatiels depends on the health care it receives, their diet, their parent’s health, or genetics.

Pied cockatiel

The average lifespan of pied cockatiel varies between 15-20 years. Also, the lifespan of this cockatiel depends on the nourishment it receives, its genetics or lineage, hereditary illnesses if any, and overall lifestyle and health care provided by its owners.

White-faced cockatiel

The life expectancy of the white-faced cockatiel variety is 18-25 years. This number is determined by the diet, overall health, mental and physical fitness, as well as the exercise your captive cockatiel receives.

Silver cockatiel

The silver cockatiel’s lifespan is nearly 18-25 years. There is a record of this type of cockatiel that lives up to 28 years.

Fallow cockatiel

The Fallow cockatiel’s lifespan is nearly 24 years, but neglect by its owner can reduce it to only 18 years.

Albino cockatiel

The albino cockatiel can easily live up to a ripe old cockatiel age of 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity with proper care.

How Long Do Cockatiels Live In The Wild? (Wild Cockatiel Lifespan)

Wild cockatiels have a short lifespan than those in captivity. As we already said their average lifespan in the wild is around 10 to 15 years.

Wild cockatiels have an active lifestyle and they fly all day searching for food and water.

However, wild cockatiels are more prone to illness and are more likely to die early due to predators.

Do Cockatiels Live Longer Than Other Birds?

In general, cockatiels and other birds live longer than most cat and dog breeds. I have discussed how long cockatiels live, both in captivity and in the wild.

In the following, I will compare the lifespans of various bird species to cockatiels.

The following table lists popular pet bird species along with how long they can live in captivity and in the wild:

Types Of BirdsLifespan In CaptivityLifespan In The Wild
Cockatiels15-25 years10-15 years
Cockatoos40-60 years20-40 years
Parakeets6-14 years25-30 years
Budgie7-8 years15-21 years
Lovebirds10-20 years10-15 years
Finches 5-10 years4-7 years
Parrots60-70 years30-35 years

From this information table, we can notice that parrots have the longest lifespan, whether it is in captivity or in the wild. On the other side, the finches have the shortest lifespan.

Also, you can notice that most birds have the longest lifespan when they are held captive compared with those who live in their natural habitat.

We can make exclude only for parakeets and budgies, but their years in the wild can still be reduced significantly due to uncontrollable factors.

What Is The Oldest Living Cockatiel?

Since cockatiels live for quite some time, you are probably curious about the age of the oldest living cockatiel.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest cockatiel is Sunshine, a cockatiel with the age of 32 years as of 27 January 2016.

However, sunshine was owned by Vickie Aranda who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Sunshine was first bought in Colorado in 1983, and since that Vickie has been traveling with him around the country.

How To Tell The Age Of Your Cockatiel?

Your cockatiel’s age can be easily known by contacting your breeder or the pet store you bought your cockatiel from.

If these options are not available here is how to tell the age of your cockatiel:

  • Face and beak: The baby cockatiel will have a bigger exposed beak, mainly because the feathers at the beak side are short. The older cockatiel has small beaks as the feathers at the beak side cover most parts of its beak.
  • Feathers: However, feathers are a huge indicator when it comes to cockatiels. The quality and development of a cockatiel’s feathers can reveal a lot about its age. A cockatiel under a year old is especially distinct. Once they have their full adult plumage, estimating age becomes much more difficult.
  • Feet: Also, as cockatiel get older, their feet can also begin to look less smooth, and more irregular. There is nothing exact about this indicator but a cockatiel with adult feathers, smooth beak, and feet, may be only a few years old.
  • Tail: Up until the age of one year, the size of a cockatiel’s tail feathers is typically equal to that of its body. After the first year, the feathers begin to grow longer than the body.
  • Nails: Older cockatiels have very long, damaged nails that typically curl inward.
  • Eyes: When cockatiels are young, their eyes are often noticeably bigger; as they age, they become smaller.
  • Crest: The crest of a baby cockatiel is typically short and straight, whereas the crests of mature birds are longer and slightly curved backward.
  • Energy: Young cockatiels are quite playful and curious. When they are two or three years old and fully mature, they will still like interacting with you, being silly, and playing with toys, but their demeanor will probably be calmer.

How To Calculate A Cockatiel’s Age In A Human Years?

You can easily calculate your cockatiel’s age in human years by first dividing the average lifespan of humans by the average lifespan of a cockatiel.

The average human life expectancy is 72.6 years, per the United Nations. With a simple calculation, we obtain a cockatiel’s average lifespan which is 10 years.

After performing a simple division, we now know that one cockatiel year is equivalent nearly to 8 human years.

Main Factors That Determine The Lifespan OF A Cockatiel

Every owner wants their bird to live for a long time. However, if you have a cockatiel, you may be curious about the factors that affect its lifespan.

In this way, you can evaluate and prioritize what needs to be done to give your cockatiel the best quality of life.

Below I share some factors that determine how long can a cockatiel live in captivity and in the wild:

External factors

In most cases, cockatiels will be eaten by larger birds in the wild when they are vulnerable and not traveling with the flock. But, if they survive, they probably will be injured.

Also, there can be competition among other birds searching for food, so cockatiels may not get the proper nutrition they need to survive.

On the other hand, cockatiels in captivity are exposed to pollution, toxic chemicals and fumes, cigarette some, and harmful plants that can affect their complex respiratory system.

The sudden and loud noises also may cause your cockatiel to get startled and hurt themselves, especially when they are in their cages.


Some cockatiels inherit the health issues from their parents, causing them to suffer and have a shorter lifespan. In that way, they can get cancerous tumors both in their kidneys and reproductive organs.

Also, cockatiels can be more susceptible to infectious diseases if they are born with a weak immune system. They can become an easy target of predators if they are smaller and more fragile than others.


Instead of big trees in the wild, a cockatiel’s home in captivity is its cage. A small and unsanitary cage can cause a lot of damage to your cockatiel’s health, both way, physically and mentally.

Also, if they are trapped in a small cage with limited movement, can cause injuries and destructive behavior.

Your cockatiel may be more susceptible to infections and illnesses as a result of the accumulation of fecal matter and other dangerous substances in their cage.

Diet and exercise

Wild cockatiels eat a mix of seeds, nectar, fruits, and insectsOpens in a new tab.. Owners of birds who keep them as pets should give them a similar diet to help them develop healthily and lower their risk of disease.

Also, missing their meals or overfeedingOpens in a new tab. can have detrimental effects on their health.

Like any other pet, cockatiels need regular exercise to maintain an ideal physique.

Therefore, they can fly freely whenever they want, in their natural habitat. Even as pets, you should get them out of their cages to fly at least once a day.

Veterinary care

Undetected health issues and untreated injuries on time can result in unfortunate circumstances and the unnecessary suffering of your pet cockatiel.

Regular vet appointments should be made to monitor their overall health condition.

However, without proper veterinary care, the lifespan of your cockatiel will shorten significantly. They require more medical attention than wild cockatiels due to the vast difference in their environment.


A less well-known issue that shortens the lifespan of captive cockatiels is inbreeding.

However, there is the possibility for the offspring of two closely related birds to be born with congenital disabilities which can reduce their lifespan.

The majority of inter-relative breeding occurs in the wild, which reduces genetic variation in the cockatiel population.

On the other side, close family pairing can be totally prevented through captive breeding techniques.

Why Do Cockatiels Usually Die From?

Much like any other pet, your cockatiel can’t escape the circle of life. Due to the uncontrollable ways of nature, we can become aware of the situation that can cause the death of our beloved birds.

However, the most common cause of death in cockatiels in the wild is predators. Since cockatiels are small birds, they are often targeted by larger species like Eagles and Falcons.

Snakes and monkeys can also damage cockatiels because they climb up on trees and prey on their eggs and younglings.

But, in captivity, cockatiels can die prematurely due to poisoning caused primarily by the food and household fumes. Avocado, onion, garlic, caffeine, chocolate, fruit pits, and apple seeds are toxic for cockatiels.

Cockatiels can also get sick or die from household products you use every day for cleaning and other activities.

These items include scented candles, air fresheners, aerosol cleaners, and lead paint.

Accidents may also result in the unexpected death of cockatiels. Also, they might be jolted awake in the middle of the nightOpens in a new tab. by a loud noise that can cause them a lot of distress.

When these night frights happen, they frequently fly madly around their cage, especially when there is no lighting to aid in their vision.

However, night frights can badly hurt cockatiels, cause serious injuries, and can even be fatal. So it is the best solution to provide lighting during the night while they sleep.

The Most Common Health Issues In Cockatiels

Besides from getting complications from toxic food and gases, cockatiels can also suffer from several illnesses and health conditions.

The most common illnesses in cockatiels are:

Parrot fever

This infection is caused by a bacteria known as Chlamydia psittaci. However, tropical jungles and overcrowded cages are both breeding grounds for psittacosisOpens in a new tab.. This bacteria can be passed on to other birds through fecal particles and airborne urine.

Additionally, oral contact with humans can spread this infection. In most cases, Diarrhea, abrupt weight loss, weakness, and drainage from the eyes and nose are a few signs of parrot fever.

Proventricular dilatation disease (PDD)

This disease mainly affects the cockatiel’s proventriculusOpens in a new tab., also known as the true stomach. PDD allows white blood cells to enter the nerves, which results in inflammation.

This can be a result of food getting stuck in the cockatiel’s stomach. The symptoms and warning signs that you should watch out for are the appearance of undigested seeds in their stool, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss.


AspergillusOpens in a new tab. is a common fungus that causes infections in the respiratory system. Acute or chronic aspergillosis are both possible. If your cockatiel has the chronic type, no symptoms can be observed.

However, if they have the acute type they can display signs like difficulty in breathing, restlessness, abnormal thirst, and frequent urination. In most cases, they get this infection through dirty feeding bowls and unsanitary cages.

Pulmonary Sarcocystosis

When your cockatiel eats or drinks contaminated food and water, it can develop an infection called sarcocystosis.

As a result, the bird develops cysts in its lungs, muscles, and even neurological system. For cockatiels, this infection can be extremely deadly and result in instant death.

Aside from all these mentioned health conditions, there are other diseases associated with cockatiels that are less detrimental.

However, with all these health issues in mind, it becomes easier for cockatiel owners to incorporate a healthier lifestyle for their pets.

How To Help Your Cockatiel Live Longer? (5 Proven Ways)

It can be pretty terrifying for first-time cockatiel owners, to know about the many diseases or other causes of death in their previous pets.

Fortunately, if you take care of your cockatiel according to the best practices, you may avoid any kind of discomfort.

Here are 5 proven ways to ensure that your pet cockatiel lives a long and healthy life:

Provide your cockatiel a healthy diet

Cockatiels need a particular diet to survive in captivity just like other pet birds. By eating a differ typesOpens in a new tab. of fruits and vegetables, they will surely get the nutrients they need.

Some of the cockatiel safe produce include grapes, mango, bananas, pineapple, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach. Besides this, you can also feed them boiled eggs as a source of protein once a week.

However, depending on their energy levels, they should also have seeds, grains, and nuts in their diet. You must give them a daily serving of a perfect mixture of these wholesome meals, as well as fresh water to keep them hydrated.

Also, to avoid infections, their water dispenser and feeding bowl should be cleaned frequently.

Keep them in a spacious and clean cage

The first thing you should consider when buying a cage for your pet cockatiel is its size. The cage should be big enough so your cockatiel can stretch, move and fly around a little.

Also, it should be wider at the top than it is at the bottom.

The bottom portion of the cage should be retractable to make it simple to remove dung and urine particles. To refill or empty their food bowl and water dispenser, make sure you can slip your hand in with ease.

However, if you have two cockatiels, It is okay to put them in the same cage, considering that they both have enough space for movement.

Allow them to move and play freely

Keeping your cockatiel in its cage the whole day is not good practice. Cockatiels are energetic birds and therefore they must move and fly freely in open space.

It is necessary to let them out of their cage at least once a day so that they can exercise and play with toys.

Furthermore, you can give them toys like ropes and swings or put ladders and jungle gyms in their cages, to keep their heart healthy.

Toys with loud sounds and bright colors are also a great option for grabbing their attention and stimulating their natural foraging instincts.

Make sure that they have enough lighting

To keep your pet cockatiels gleefully singing and active, place their cage in a well-light part of the house. But, keep in mind that exposing them to excessive UV radiation by placing them in direct sunlight is risky.

However, they can benefit from UVA and UVB light by being exposed to natural light for 15 to 40 minutes three times each week.

This may lead to healthier bones, a stronger immune system, and better sleep.

On the other hand, little or no sun exposure might cause behavioral issues that show up as feather plucking. They may also encounter problems with their bones and reproductive organs.

Learn how to handle your cockatiel properly

Being an expert in cockatiel care can be big-challenging if you have never handled little pet birds before.

But, a general rule is to never grab them against their will. Their terrified reaction can sometimes cause stress in your cockatiel that may often lead to unwanted incidents.

Stay close to them until they are accustomed to your presence to gradually earn their trust. Try to feed them pellets and talk softly to them.

Be patient and keep doing this until your cockatiel becomes comfortable and confident enough to perch on your finger.

However, your cockatiel’s healthy lifestyle is shown through a good physique and a sound mind. The relationship you have with your pet cockatiel can also contribute to its lifespan.


Like with any other pet, it is significant to know how long cockatiels live.

Although a variety of things might affect a cockatiel’s lifespan, there are numerous strategies to guarantee that they maintain good bodily and mental health far into old age.

However, cockatiels are friendly and affectionate pets that deserve to live for a long time.

You can make sure that their lives will be full of wonderful moments with you and your family by giving them the right care, attention, and ongoing learning about the species.

You might even be surprised that your cockatiel can surpass the expected average years of living in captivity through your wholesome ways.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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