Old Cockatiel Behavior

Cockatiels are excellent life companions.

A pet cockatiel can live beyond 25 years, while a wild cockatiel can live for 13 to 15 years.

The domesticated cockatiels live longer because they are protected from predators, and their diet and health are closely monitored.

25 years is a long time

So, how do you know your cockatiel is approaching, or it is in its prime years?

While the signs of aging differ in every bird, common indicators of old age include: 

  • Difficulty molting
  • A decline in the sheen and quality of its feathers
  • A weaker immune system
  • Decreased energy
  • Internal health issues
  • Arthritis
  • Digestion health issues

Let’s get into more detail

What Happens When Cockatiels Get Old?

As the cockatiel grows older, it goes through a series of changes.

Here are the everyday things that will let you know your cockatiel is growing old.

  • Older cockatiel starts to develop white spots inside their feathers. Younger cockatiels do not have these spots
  • When a cockatiel gets to adulthood, its tail is the same height as the body.
  • The legs start becoming darker, and scales get more prominent as the years go by.

What Are The Signs Of An Aging Cockatiel?

It is hard to tell if your bird is aging if you don’t know its age.

It does not develop grey hair or wrinkles like people.

Fortunately, there are things to look for to determine the age of your cockatiel.

  1. Checking Its legs

A cockatiel which is less than a year old has pinkish legs with minimal scales.

As it grows older, the legs become darker with more pronounced scales.

Eventually, the legs are dark and covered with scales in their prime years.

  1. Less Brightness In The Plumage

As people age, they start having grey hair.

As cockatiels age, they begin losing the brightness in their plumage.

For instance, if the feathers are bright yellow or red, they become dull as they age. 

  1. Less Grooming

Another sign of aging for a cockatiel is that it neglects its cleaning and grooming duties.

Slow movements in older birds are often due to arthritis.

So, if you notice your cockatiel has significantly reduced preening and grooming, it is getting old and probably weaker.

  1. Overgrown Nails And Beak

Generally, as bird’s age, they tend to have longer or overgrown nails and beaks: reduced grooming and preening cause the claws and beaks to outgrow.

The best you can do is to take over some of the grooming needs of your bird.

However, old age is not the only reason nails and the beak of your cockatiel are chapped or unkempt.

Consider other factors such as diet deficiencies, health issues, or genetic dispositions. 

  1. Check The Leg Band

If you got your cockatiel from a reputable breeder, it likely has a birthday ring on the feet.

The band or ring can bear other information, such as the breeder, and the state, among others.

Check this information to establish the exact age of your cockatiel. 

Now that we know the sign of an old cockatiel

Let’s look at how you can take care of them as this is when they need us most

How Do You Take Care Of An Old Cockatiel?

Like people, as the cockatiels age, they require proper care and attention to ensure they are healthy in their prime years and can live for longer.

Do you want your old cockatiel to stay healthy and live longer? 

Of course you do!

Here’s how to take care of your birdie

  1. Good Diet

One sure way to ensure your old cockatiel is healthy is by providing proper and nourishing meals.

As your bird grows older, change its meals to more age-appropriate and nutritious.

A proper diet will provide nourishment and the essential vitamins the body requires.

A good healthy diet can help in reversing some age-related diseases.

The diet for an old cockatiel should have food with a low amount of proteins and fats.

Reduce the corn, seeds, nuts, and soy products you give to your bird.

Instead, consider feeding it more vegetables and especially alfalfa pellets. 

Talk to your vet and seek their advice for more diet options for your aging cockatiel. 

  1. Good Amount Of Sleep

Birds, including cockatiels, should get a 12-hour sleep daily, especially older cockatiels.

Old cockatiels may require more hours of sleep than younger ones. 

Good rest and enough sleep help a bird strengthen its immune system.

Lack of enough sleep can cause stress to a bird and can be a cause of other health issues.

  1. Good Interaction And Simulation 

Older cockatiels do not have much energy like young ones.

It might prefer to stay in its cage all the time.

However, if it gets out of the cage and then allow your birdie to play and interact with other pets and you. 

Give it toys that can mentally stimulate it and keep it active.

Some activity and interaction will keep it healthy and hence live longer.

  1. Regular Vet Checkups

This is a very important one

The best way to ensure your cockatiel is healthy when you are unsure of its health, is by taking it to the vet.

Regular visits to the vet can help identify any impending health issues and get treated as soon as possible.

Have the number of your vet in your phone and at hand at all times in case of an emergency.

Conduct a health checkup for your old cockatiel every morning.

For instance, checking its weight, watching its demeanor, movements, and droppings. 

  1. Proper Hygiene And Cleanliness 

Keep your old cockatiel’s cage clean and your bird well-groomed.

Ensure you bathe it regularly.

Change the liners on the cage every morning.

Also, clean the food and water containers in warm soapy water. 

Can A Cockatiel Live For 20 Years?

A domesticated cockatiel can live for up to 20 to 25 years.

The longest living cockatiel was Sunshine from the US, reported in 2016 and was 32 years at the time.

With proper care, your pet cockatiel can live for a long time.

However, wild cockatiels do not enjoy a long life compared to a domestic cockatiel.

Also, factors such as genetics or health can play a big part in determining the longevity of a cockatiel. 


We at birdcageshere.com write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on birdcageshere.com is for educational purposes only. At birdcageshere.com we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.