Where Do Cockatiels Come From? Origin Facts & FAQ

Whenever you’re trying to care for a pet, you need to know all about their native habitat. It’s no different with the Cockatiel, and Australia is the only place in the world they come from.

But they don’t just live in one part of Australia, they live throughout the continent. But what does this mean when caring for them and what is their wild habitat like? If you’re looking to care for a pet Cockatiel, you’ll need to know all about it, and we’ll break it all down for you here.


Where Do Cockatiels Come From?

Cockatiels are native to the Australian mainland. You can find them throughout the continent, although there are some areas where it’s unlikely for you to spot a Cockatiel while you’re in Australia.

These areas include the southwest and southeast corners of the country, deep in the Western Australian desert, and the Cape York Peninsula. However, you can find Cockatiels throughout the rest of the continent as well.

Furthermore, you can find wild Cockatiels in Tanzania, although it’s widely agreed that Cockatiels are an invasive species there.

Silver Cockatiel
Image Credit: Spiridonov Oleg, Shutterstock

Native Cockatiel Habitats

While you can find wild Cockatiels throughout Australia, they have very specific habitats. First, you’ll pretty much only find them near water. They stay very close to freshwater sources, especially those a little bit further inland.

These freshwater sources include rivers and lakes, but really any freshwater source works for them. Additionally, while many birds prefer dense forests, that’s not the case for the Cockatiel. Instead, a Cockatiel much prefers wide open spaces.

They’ll still build their nests in trees, but you’re not going to find these nests in the middle of a forest! Typically, the nests they build in trees stand just 3 to 6 feet off the ground.

What Do Cockatiels Eat in the Wild?

When you’re trying to understand any animal’s habitat, you need to look at their diet. A wild cockatiel’s diet consists of seeds, grains, and berries, which is why they need to live near trees.

However, wild Cockatiels in Australia are well-known for raiding local farms too. They can become quite a nuisance to local farmers, even if their tendency to spread seeds and berries of various plants is good for the ecosystem as a whole.

grey pied cockatiel
Image Credit: Ona Leiwant, Shutterstock

How Long Do Cockatiels Live?

In the wild, the average Cockatiel will live about 15 years. However, in captivity, Cockatiels are free from predators and have all their needs met and, because of this, can live much longer.

In fact, a Cockatiel in captivity can often live up to 30 years! If you’re thinking about bringing a Cockatiel into your home, it’s not a short-term commitment.

Cockatiels as Pets

Unlike many animals that have gone through a complete domestication process, that’s not the case for Cockatiels. In fact, no one has ever fully domesticated a Cockatiel.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have one as a pet though, it just means that there’s pretty much no difference in size, color, or temperament between a wild Cockatiel and a pet one.

And just because you don’t have a domesticated Cockatiel doesn’t mean they’re wild-caught. Any Cockatiel you find in a store comes from a breeder, not the wild. Finally, if you decide to get a pet Cockatiel, they’ll often form a strong bond with one of their owners.


Final Thoughts

Cockatiels are native to Australia and have established colonies in Tanzania, but they don’t live in the wild anywhere else in the world. If you have a pet Cockatiel, you’ll need to match these conditions for them and ensure they don’t get out into the wild because, unless you live in Australia, they won’t survive.

Featured Image Credit: globetrotters, Shutterstock

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