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Do Cockatiels Need A Companion? [Should They Be Kept In Pairs?]

When it comes to owning a cockatiel, naturally you may wonder if it is best to get them another bird. We do not want our birds to be lonely, bored or stressed; so the idea of getting them a companion makes a lot of sense. But is it necessary, recommended or even required? I decided to research the topic and would like to share with you what I found here today.

So, do cockatiels need a companion? Cockatiels need a companion; whether human, from other ‘tiels or from other birds. Cockatiels are not solitary birds in the wild and by nature enjoy the company of others for affection and companionship. That being said, keeping cockatiels together, or with other birds, can be challenging and requires careful consideration and planning.

Many owners often face situations where they need to consider getting another bird.

Perhaps a cockatiel has died, perhaps less time can be given to the bird or perhaps signs of loneliness begin to arise.

Either way, these birds do not generally do well when neglected; from their owners or from other birds.

Let us now take a closer look at the topic, covering the main questions you may likely have about companionship in these small birds.

Can You House Cockatiels With Other Birds?

Cockatiels are generally mellow birds, but housing different species of birds together is a challenge and generally not advised. It can result in territorial and aggressive behavior unless you have a very spacious aviary.

It is generally advised to keep different species of birds separate; within their own cages.

It comes strongly advised to not house cockatiels with lovebirds or larger parrots. Due to their size and disposition, cockatiels are not likely to be able to defend themselves against larger, more aggressive birds.

With this in mind, it ultimately depends on the birds in which you would be looking to house together, and their own temperaments and unique personalities.

For this reason, cockatiels may be able to be housed with other non-aggressive birds of a similar size.

Some other species of bird in which owners have reported that they have been able to house together include smaller species of parakeet and some varieties of finches.

Smaller birds, including the Bourke Parakeet, are generally more calm and submissive.

There are many owners whom have successfully housed their cockatiel with another bourke; noting how they have bonded over time.

That being said, even in the case of successful co-habitation, it usually takes a slow introduction over the course of weeks/months.

It is a possibility that the initial bird in the cage is likely to become territorial (puffing up and chasing).

With time, patience and consistency, introducing cockatiels to other birds and even housing them together can be possible. But, there is always the risk they will not get along.

A large cage, with multiple perches, water bottles and access to food is mandatory.

It can also be said, that larger bullies have been known to bully smaller cockatiels when housed within the same cage, but outside of it get along well.

Ultimately, you may be able to house your cockatiel with other birds. So long as they are small, even-tempered, and introduced slowly.

If you ever suspect they are not getting along, or see signs of dominant or territorial behavior, they must be separated.

But what about housing cockatiels together?

Can Two Cockatiels Be Housed Together?

Cockatiels can be kept in the same cage together, so long as the cage is sufficiently large enough, you install more perches, provide more food bowls and you consider the sexes of both birds. In doing so, these birds should provide each other with companionship and keep each other company.

You do need to be careful of breeding and fighting however and a pecking order will likely be established.

In successful pairings, cockatiels can even be seen preening and kissing one another.

Cockatiels do not like being along or feeling isolated.

Therefore, if you have a job or have the need to be away from your home for extended periods of time, getting a second cockatiel can provide that additional companionship.

Again, it does depend on the unique personalities of the birds.

Not every cockatiel pairing works, and you may find that you are unable to house them together. It does of course depend on the age of the birds and how long your initial cockatiel was kept by themselves.

Always introduce cockatiels slowly, and closely monitor how they respond to one another.

Generally, getting a second cage is advised in the beginning. This way you can quickly seperate them.

Equally, you also have the ability to put the cages together, side by side. Your birds can still obtain companionship, without the risks of being housed together. At least in the beginning.

Ultimately, if you are looking to get other birds, it is probably best to opt for another cockatiel.

Do Cockatiels Need To Be Kept In Pairs?

Cockatiels do not necessarily need to be kept in pairs, although it is usually better if they are.

As they are not solitary birds in nature, they have a natural preference to be in the preference of others.

However, company can come in the form of birds or people. So, if you have the time available to spend with them then they can get their companionship there.

Nonetheless, cockatiels can be kept in pairs.

You will need to consider the sexes; where it is recommended to keep hens (females) with cocks (males). Typically, if you are keeping just a pair together, then two males may also work.

In larger aviaries, you will need to consider having more hens than cocks. Otherwise there could be fighting and pecking over the hens.

Is It Better To Have 1 Or 2 Cockatiels?

Whether it is better to have 1 or 2 cockatiels will ultimately depend on you, your birds and your circumstances.

It goes without saying that an additional bird means more care and more upfront investment and also ongoing cost (food, cage items like perches etc).

But, it will also change the interactions you have with you and your bird(s).

If you are to own one cockatiel; then they will bond with you much more than they would if there was another bird around. This is because if another bird is present, they will naturally gravitate to them at the expense of you.

So, if you are looking for a tamer bird, one in which you can spend more time with, then having one cockatiel is advised. But, you do need to be around and available at most times for your bird.

Usually you can look to introduce another cockatiel later down the line if you find that you do not have as much time as before.

But remember – there is no guarantee that your cockatiels will get along with one another. Your first cockatiel may reject the second, and may even become aggressive and territorial.

However, if you do not have much time to spend with your birds, having 2 cockatiels is a good idea.

Cockatiels need company; and it that can come from you or from another bird. But, if there is another bird available, they will predominantly choose to bond with them over you.

Ultimately, if you opt for once cockatiel you will need to be willing to spend at least 2 hours per day with them. This includes playing and letting them explore in your company.

Are Cockatiels Happier In Pairs?

Cockatiels will soon get bored if they are left alone for any stretch of time. Alternatively, two cockatiels housed together will not get lonely.

Separation anxiety, as it is known, can even result in cockatiels plucking their own feathers. Other behaviors they may partake in include: being extra noisy, whistling and even screaming when they are alone.

Bored cockatiels without enough stimulation are likely to become destructive to begin with, and latter depressed.

Cockatiels are always happier when they have a companion, but as mentioned previously this can come in the form of a human or another bird. It may not even be possible within the same cage.

At minimum, another bird housed nearby in another cage can still offer some companionship.

We must consider that in the wild, cockatiels live in flocks but only have one mate. This is the one bird they remain close to and have contact with.

If your cockatiel has another bird as a companion, they will look to get their joy and happiness from them. They will be less willing to be handled, but still will want to be involved somewhat in you or your families life. You should still look to let them out from time to time.

But, if you are to house cockatiels together and they get along, they will either bond as sexual partners (if a hen and a cock) or they will bond closely as friends and as the same same (hen and hen or cock and cock).

Can A Cockatiel Die From Loneliness?

A cockatiel can die from loneliness but this would be as a result of stress and resulting complications that this can bring. It will likely result in the progression of a deterioration in how they look after themselves – which can result in death.

A lonely cockatiel, whether one that is not getting enough human interaction, or from the lack of a fellow cockatiel companion, will begin to partake in self-sabotaging behaviours.

For example, they may stop eating their food altogether. Loss of nutrition and weight can lead to weakness and increased susceptibility to illness which can result in death.

For this reason, it is very important that if you own a single cockatiel, through choice or circumstance (say the death of one of your birds), you will need to monitor them closely.


Cockatiels do need companionship; its how they live their lives in the wild and how they are genetically programmed.

Interestingly, a cockatiel needs attention to prevent boredom and loneliness, however this can come from a human or from another bird.

For this reason, so long as you are willing and able to spend a lot of time with your cockatiel, there is not necessarily any reason to get them another bird.

However, if you are away a lot of the time, a second bird is usually recommended.

It is important that you introduce new birds slowly and be careful of the birds you house with your cockatiel. Larger birds are likely to be aggressive and your tiel will be unlikely to defend themselves.

Be sure to remove and isolate birds promptly if you observe signs of aggression.

Keeping birds in separate cages is a good solution to this potential problem, and then placing these cages alongside one another can ensure all of your birds get the companionship they need.

Other than this, two cockatiels are more likely to cohabit peacefully. Whether you decide to do this will have ramifications of your relationship with them so consider this before you make any decision.