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How Long Do Cockatiels Live? [On Average When Kept As Pets]

Cockatiels are an outstanding choice of pet bird. They are friendly, easily tamed, beautiful on the eye, and incredibly entertaining. But of course, potential owners often wonder how long cockatiels live. Besides, it will have quite an impact on your commitments, finances, and general expectations. Here is what you need to know.

So, how long do Cockatiels live? Cockatiels in captivity typically live for between 15 – 25 years. In the wild, their life expectancy is actually shorter at 10-14 years. While genetics undoubtedly play a role, taking proper care of a cockatiel goes a long way to ensuring they reach their full life expectancy. 

Asking how long your pet may live is a great question.

Not only does it emotionally prepare you, but it rectifies any presumptions, and it ensures you can plan and provide adequate care for the lifetime of your bird.

And thankfully, stopping by here today will provide you with some great information to ensure you enjoy your Cockatiel for many years. 

Should you decide to get one. 

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

How Long Do Cockatiels Live As Pets?

As pets, Cockatiels live for 15 – 25 years when given proper care. This means that they tend to outlive many other household pets. The oldest recorded pet, Cockatiel, lived to be 36 years old! That is, however, the exception rather than the norm! 

Cockatiels are a great choice for someone who is looking to spend many years with the same pet and enjoy deep bonds with their animal. 

When compared to other pet birds, Cockatiels are a good middle ground for life expectancy. 

Cockatiels tend to live shorter lives than their larger parrot cousins. 

Large parrots such as the African Gray and Macaw can easily live 30 – 40 years as pets. 

Smaller birds like Canaries and Parakeets typically live for 5 – 10 years. 

Because Cockatiels and other parrots have longer life expectancies than many other pets, such as hamsters, fish, and oftentimes even dogs, it is important to make plans for their long-term care and well-being. 

My parents purchased a Cockatiel in the year 2001 that is still doing very well. 

As they have started to age, they have made sure to check in with me about my willingness to take on their pet’s care in the event that they no longer could due to age or health. 

This simple planning step means that my parents are making sure their bird has a care provider for the full extent of its life.

Pet Cockatiels often live longer than wild cockatiels because of the excellent care they receive and their safety from predators.

Factors That Influence a Cockatiel’s Lifespan

A Cocktiel’s life span is influenced by several main factors, which are genetics, environmental safety, diet, veterinary care, and a Cockatiel’s mental health. Birds can be prone to boredom and depression, much like humans, and this can impact life expectancy! 

Let’s take a closer look at these factors.


Like all living things, a certain amount of a Cockatiel’s health is based on its genetic makeup. 

Not all genetic problems are obvious by looking at a bird. 

Just like people, some Cockatiels may be more prone to disease than others or be born with a genetic mutation that shortens their life span. 

Some mutations are visible and relatively harmless – such as the existence of white Cockatiels. 

Others may mean that your Cockatiel’s beak, feet, or eyesight aren’t quite to standard, which could influence the lifespan of your pet if you don’t consult a veterinarian on tips for managing their needs. 

There isn’t a lot that can be done to influence your bird’s genetic makeup, but you give your pet a good start in life by making sure you purchased your bird from a responsible breeder who is raising the eggs of healthy adult birds.


Environmental safety plays a large role in the lifespan of a Cockatiel. 

One of the main reasons that captive Cockatiels usually outlive their wild peers is due to living in an environment that is both natural disaster regulated and free of uncontrolled predators.

Cockatiels in the wild are very low on the food chain. 

This means that if they are not continuously alert of their environment, become injured or ill, or simply cannot easily move from place to place; they may become dinner to a predator. 

This is the natural balance of life in the wild, but it does shorten a bird’s life expectancy.

In captivity, a Cockatiel can typically rest and relax without fear from predators. 

They also do not have to worry about their homes being destroyed by deforestation or natural disasters. 

As pet Cockatiels are already being cared for in captivity, they also are safe from poachers or hunters of wild birds who may intentionally or accidentally cause them harm.

Nevertheless, as an owner, this does mean that you are responsible for ensuring a calm, clean and health-supporting environment.


Diet is a very important factor in determining the lifespan of a Cockatiel. 

A pet Cockatiel that has regular access to food and clean water has a great advantage over a wild Cockatiel which may go through phases where food and water are hard to come by or who have to compete with other birds for food. 

An animal that receives proper nutrition is almost guaranteed to outlive one that struggles to have its daily nutritional needs met.

Veterinary Care And Support

Veterinary care factors into a Cockatiel’s lifespan by helping Cockatiel owners to catch and treat illness and nutritional needs early. 

My own pet Cockatiel had its life dramatically extended through routine veterinary care. 

As a defense mechanism, a bird that is ill or losing weight will puff its feathers up to maintain a healthy appearance. 

My Cockatiel was being fed regularly, but the seed mix it was eating had lost some of its nutritional value over time. 

When I took my bird in for his routine vet visit, he was weighed, and my doctor noticed a sharp drop in his weight that I had missed. 

Had we not had the bird in to see the vet, we may have missed his need for a different nutrition source and lost our bird. 

Mental Health

One final factor that often gets overlooked for pet Cockatiels is their mental health. 

Birds are very intelligent pets that thrive in reliable but stimulating environments where they can prevent boredom. 

Like a person who becomes bored or lonely may be more prone to experience depression, the same goes for Cockatiels.

A depressed Cockatiel may not take as good of care of itself through feather grooming and may not eat or drink as much as they should. 

This can lead to health problems and a shortened lifespan. 

Do Cockatiels Die Easily?

Cockatiels are fairly hardy birds, meaning that they do not commonly experience unexplained death and can withstand fluctuations in their environment or care better than some other types of birds. Cockatiels are not like fish who can die after one improper water change or horses who are prone to death from leg injuries or stomach illness.

Cockatiels are not a pet that can live without regular attention and feeding. 

If you are looking for a pet that can be left alone over family vacations or doesn’t need regular handling, a Cockatiel may not be your perfect pet. 

They will die without regular human care and interaction.

Cockatiels can catch some diseases, particularly bacterial infections, that may make them die before their expected lifespan. 

Cockatiels are very susceptible to respiratory illness, and due to their narrow airways, these diseases can be deadly. 

There are simple safety measures you can take, such as not handling your bird if you feel ill, and handwashing that help prevent a bird from dying of a respiratory illness.

Overall, Cockatiels are not fragile birds who die from slight or new owner errors. 

Let’s look at what an owner can do to ensure a pet Cockatiel reaches its life expectancy.

How To Ensure A Pet Cockatiel Reaches Their Life Expectancy

You can easily help ensure your pet Cockatiel reaches its life expectancy by taking a few care steps. Making sure your Cockatiel lives in a safe environment, eats a healthy diet, receives veterinary care, and has regular interaction and mental stimulation will help your Cockatiel live a full life.

Optimal Cage

First, make sure that your Cockatiel has an appropriately sized cage in a safe environment. 

A properly sized cage allows a Cockatiel to move its body and stretch its wings without hitting the sides or top of the cage.

They’re not massive birds, but they do need more space than you might have originally have thought.  

If your bird’s wings or tail feathers hit the sides of its cage when outstretched, your bird could harm their feathers and wings. 

An injured bird requires medical care and is more open to picking up an infection that could be life-threatening. 

Also, a bird that is in pain or cannot properly move may struggle to eat and drink. 

Safe Environment

A safe environment includes one that maintains a regular temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A bird that is too cold will spend energy staying warm, and one that overheats is at risk for heatstroke and death. 

A safe environment also means that a bird is not left unattended around other pets – especially dogs and cats – that may attempt to harm the bird out of curiosity or prey drive. 

A cage that latches tightly shut and has a strong metal build will make sure that your bird stays safe even when you cannot be home. A safe bird is a long-lived bird.

Appropriate Diet

Feeding your bird a diet of quality parrot seed mix helps your bird to have enough nutrition to maintain health and body function. 

Seed mixes designed especially for pet parrots are available at many major pet stores. 

Be wary of a food’s shelf life and check the expiration or sell-by date on all packages of food purchased.

If a store stocks its shelves and then does not sell food as quickly as expected, it may accidentally be selling food that has lost nutritional value for your bird. 

Adding dark leafy greens (not iceberg lettuce which is mostly water and few nutrients) and other small cut fresh vegetables (like cucumber) and a small serving of safe fruits to your bird’s diet every other day will also help with bird nutrition. 

As with any pet, freshwater is a requirement. 

Clean your bird’s water each day and make sure to refill the water if it is emptied prior to being cleaned. 

A great diet and freshwater are the staples for helping your bird reach its life expectancy.

Veterinary Support Where Needed

As previously mentioned, veterinary care is vital to help your bird live a long life. 

A veterinarian can help keep records of your bird’s health, treat any illnesses, and make suggestions for care that are specific to your unique bird. 

Build a relationship with a vet who enjoys working with birds, and you will be increasing your bird’s life expectancy immediately.

Sufficient Mental Stimulation 

Last, make sure that your bird receives plenty of mental stimulation. 

In order to live a long and healthy life, Cockatiels need interaction with humans who will encourage them to think and exercise. 

Providing your bird with a variety of toys that change over time will also keep your bird entertained and engaged when you are gone to work or unable to handle them as much as normal. 

Continually using their bodies and brains builds healthy Cockatiels that live to their full life expectancy.


Cockatiels are a pet that you can have for many years. 

They do require a specific type of care, as do any bird, but with planning and a little time, they can live very long and rewarding lives. 

Just consider, they are quite a loud bird!

Lastly, if you do decide to take on a Cockatiel, ensure you can commit to up to 25 years of care.

A lot can change during that time, so you really do need to think ahead!

But they are great companions, and for most owners including myself, that time simply will fly by!