From Academic Kids

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Normal grey Cockatiel
Scientific classification
Species:N. hollandicus
Binomial name
Nymphicus hollandicus
(Kerr, 1792)

The Cockatiel, Nymphicus hollandicus, is a smallish, rather atypical cockatoo with a distinctive pointed yellow crest. Cockatiels are small by cockatoo standards, and are the only cockatoo species that can breed in its first year. They are endemic to Australia and are found largely in arid or semi-arid country, but always near water. They are absent from the most fertile southwest and southeast corners of the country, from the deepest Western Australian deserts, and from Cape York Peninsula, but can be found in vast numbers elsewhere.

For many years, the relationship between Cockatiels and other cockatoos was unclear. While most other cockatoos are 500 mm to 600 mm in length, Cockatiels are normally 300 mm to 330 mm. There are several significant characteristics that are unique to Cockatiels, including an erectile crest, a gallbladder, and powder down patches. Recent genetic studies have confirmed the position of the Cockatiel within the family Cacatuidae; currently it is placed as the only species in the genus Nymphicus and in the subfamily Nymphicanae. It is clearly more closely related to the Calyptorhynchinae (black cockatoos) than to the Cactuinae (white cockatoos), and despite its obvious differences, is thought to have diverged from the black cockatoos quite recently.

Cockatiels are slender, with long pointed wings, a bare cere, a long tail, and a prominent yellow crest. The crest is usually held erect except during resting periods and (sometimes) feeding periods. The plumage is generally mid-grey, lighter underneath, with an orange ear patch and a prominent white blaze on the wings. A row of yellowish spots can be found underneath the wings of female Cockatiels, but not on the males. Both sexes have yellow facial feathers: the female has a yellow wash around the beak and eye, in the male, yellow covers most of the head and the fore part of the crest.

The Cockatiel's scientific name reflects the experience of one of the earliest groups of Europeans to see Cockatiels in their native habitat. Travellers thought they were so beautiful that they named them after the mythical beauties, the nymphs. The species name refers to New Holland, an old name for Australia.

Like the Budgerigar, they are popular household pets in the United States, England, Australia, and many other parts of the world. Today all pet Cockatiels are bred in captivity, as Australia no longer permits the export of native wildlife, whether endangered or not. Pet Cockatiels have been bred to have many different coloration patterns, mutations such as Lutino, Pearl, Cinnamon, Pied and Whiteface. Thus they can look quite different from Cockatiels found in the wild.

If hand-fed as babies, they have very loving dispositions toward their owners. Their popularity as pets is in part because they have such a calm temperament by nature, to the point they can even be bullied by smaller but more confident birds such as budgies.

Although Cockatiels are part of the parrot order, they are better at imitating whistles than at talking. Some do learn to repeat phrases, but the males are generally better at mimickry than the females are.

See also

External links

de:Nymphensittich nl:Valkparkiet pl:Nimfa (ptak)


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