These small little birds have earned the nickname "America's favorite bird" due to their disposition, personality and quirky behaviors. Both males and females tend to bond closely with their humans, but there's definitely a battle of the sexes when it comes to personality traits.
It's sometimes ironic how one characteristic can be both the best and worst thing, especially depending on who you ask. Some people want a quiet -- or quieter -- pet bird while others want a bird who will talk back, carry on conversations and make interesting calls. One person's "annoying" is another's "cute." Among cockatiels, males tend to be much noisier than their female counterparts. They can learn words, make almost constant whistles and have no problem letting you know what's up. Females, on the other hand, will give you a shout when you leave the room and may talk to other birds in the neighborhood, but tend to stay much quieter than the boys.
Truly companion birds, cockatiels want to be part of the family and enjoy interacting with their humans. It's up to you how much attention you want to give to -- or get from -- your bird that can help make the decision between a male and female. Both need a lot of quality time, but the females are sweeter and more docile. Males tend to crave attention and, beware, won't hesitate to nip you if you're not paying attention!
Season of Love
Breeding season is a rush of hormonal outbursts, particularly for male cockatiels. Even with no hen in sight, these guys are on a mission! It's not uncommon for males to pick a person -- probably you -- or thing to be the object of his desire, so to speak. He'll likely get aggressive and may bite you frequently if you interrupt his advances on an object -- or, worse, if you reject his advances. Females also get hormonal during breeding season, but it's typically the males who go love-crazy.
The seemingly extreme differences in cockatiels can lead to you making an easier, better decision for your house. If you live in a multi-home complex, a female might keep your neighbors off your back. If you work at home and want someone to play games with, talk to and sing with, a male will probably do best.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.