How Much Does a Cockatiel Bird Cost?

Written by: Staff

The Cockatiel is known to be the number one bird in America.  This bird is known for its talented whistles, and males, in particular, are known for their whistle serenades, which is often directed toward the people he or she loves to be around.  When not whistling or pecking at their reflection in the mirror, these birds love to forage for food, play around in the cage and snuggle on a shoulder.

Cockatiel by Ken and Nyetta, on Flickr
Cockatiel” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ken and Nyetta

How much does a cockatiel bird cost?

Since there are so many varieties, the price can be all over the place.  The cost of a Cockatiel will depend on the age, quality, colors, type and where it’s being purchased from.  Based on these factors, plan on spending anywhere from $25 to as much as $250 or more.  This is not going to include the necessary startup items to properly take care of your bird.

For instance, a Normal Grey Cockatiel can retail for $60 to $80, while a Cinnamon Cockatiel can range from $75 to $95.

Higher-end Albino Cockatiels, for example, can cost as much as $140.

On, an online bird classified website, has more than 500 listings at the time of this writing.  Most of the prices, from what we researched, were anywhere from $70 to $350+

These birds can often be found at a big box pet stores such as Petsmart and Petco.  Here, from what we have witnessed, you should be prepared to spend about $100 to $150, depending on the age and color.

What is going to be included in the adoption fee?

A reputable breeder, at a minimum, should include any medical paperwork, up-to-date vaccinations, and a health guarantee.  For example, if you adopt from a big box pet store, it will often come with a limited health guarantee.

What are the extra costs?

A Cockatiel does wonderfully with other birds of its kind.  While they can roam alone, most tend to do a lot better with company.  With that being said, try your best to have a few birds in the same cage.

Since these birds are active, it is recommended that you buy a larger cage where they can roam freely.  Most recommend you purchase a cage that is, at a minimum, at least 24″ x 24″ x 24.”  Also, when purchasing a cage, be sure the bar spacing is at least 5/8″ apart.  A good bird cage starts at $70 and can go up from there.  Make sure that the cage has a few different levels where they can sit and relax.   Inside this cage, when purchasing the starter supplies, should include a water dish, food bowl, food, a night light, bird bath, perches and some toys.

A Cockatiel will eat a variety of foods.  As part of a healthy diet, it is recommended that you feed them seeds and pellets, in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables.  It is not uncommon to see these birds even eat hard boiled eggs and meats.  Every bird will be different, and, just like people, each bird may like different foods.  Plan on budgeting around $15 to $35 per bird, per month for food.

Other accessories can include toys, supplements and water bowls for the cage.

With any animal, do not forget to factor in vet visits in case something happens.  A simple vet visit, without any testing, can start at $50.

If you do want to buy your bird online, you will have to more than likely pay shipping fees.  Plan on spending around $25 to have your bird shipped within the United States.

Determining the sex can be tricky in some cases, and for that reason, you may need a DNA test to determine the gender.

Tips to know:

A Cockatiel can come in many different colors, including a gray body with a yellow face and orange cheeks.  With a male, the colors on the face tend to be brighter, while the females tend to have a bar of colors underneath its feathers.

The average size, regardless of the colors, will be 12 to 14 inches long, with most weighing about two to five ounces.

If taken care of properly, its lifespan can range from 15 to 25 years.

Always try to choose a bird that has been fed as a baby by hand.  Hand fed birds tend to cost more, but what many will tell you is that it is worth it.  These birds will already be very used to humans and will have an easier time adjusting.

Try to spot a bird that is extremely active and attentive.  This a great sign that the bird is healthy.

If you can feel the bird, try to stroke his/her feathers and look for a smooth feel.  A shiny and smooth coat is a good sign of a healthy bird.

It may take you a few weeks to determine what foods your bird does and does not like.  Food may cost you more at the beginning since you are experimenting, but once you figure out the bird’s taste, your food costs will likely go down.

Only a male Cockatiel will talk.  If you want to have a lot of whistling and mimicking of your voice, a male would be recommended.

If you’re unsure where to find a bird, talk with a local bird club or even look online via popular bird forums to see what others recommend.

How can I save money?

Look into a local rescue or shelter organization.  Oftentimes, due to the bird’s longevity, many owners either give up on their bird or can become too old to take care of one.  Thi sis a great way to take care of a bird by knowing you’re offering it a forever home.  A cockatiel, if you’re able to find one at a rescue, could cost as little as a few dollars.

Check out Craigslist or even reputable classified websites to see if you can find an owner who is giving up their bird, along with the necessary starter supplies.  This could be a great way to get the necessary cage, equipment, and bird for a lower-than-average price.

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