A cockatiel, far from being another pronunciation of the word “cockatoo,” is in fact a whole sub-group of the cockatoo line. You can think of them as baby cockatoos, who stay babies their whole lives through. They tend to be smaller than other cockatoos – around 12 inches (30 cm) – and can comfortably live in smaller spaces than most domesticated birds.
A cockatiel shares the cockatoo’s expressive crest, but where full-sized cockatoos can be difficult and demanding through their long lives, cockatiels are rather more placid, making them ideal for children and first-time birders. Their full, happy lives are shorter, on average, than their big cousins, averaging around 14 years.