Can a Cockatiel Live With a Meyer's Parrot?

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Birds of different species can bond and safely live together. These birds are a severe macaw (left) and an umbrella cockatoo (right).
Birds of different species can bond and safely live together. These birds are a severe macaw (left) and an umbrella cockatoo (right). (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

While birds of different species can be kept together successfully, there are unknown variables of individual behavior traits. Keeping birds found in similar geographical regions and habitats can increase the chances of their peaceful cohabitation. In the wild, cockatiels are native to Australia, while Meyer's parrots are found in parts of central and southwest Africa. Both types of birds are members of the parrot family, but their physical and behavioral characteristics differ.

Understanding Parrot Behaviors

Understanding how parrot species behave in general, and how your birds behave in particular, can help with making the decision to keep your cockatiel and Meyer's parrot in the same cage. Parrot species typically mate for life, and in the absence of a mate, may bond with a human or another type of bird. Parrots are subject to hormonal fluctuations during breeding season that can cause them to become aggressive and unpredictable. In the case of a cockatiel and a Meyer's parrot, the heavier bill of a Meyer's parrot could seriously wound or kill a cockatiel. If either bird views you as its "mate," jealousy and territorial instincts could lead to aggression between the birds.

About Cockatiels

Cockatiels are popular pets known for their cheerful whistling and gentle personalities. They're not aggressive birds and typically do not instigate conflict unless protecting their nests and babies. Wild cockatiels forage for food in large flocks and enjoy company. Cockatiels mate for life; any pair bond they form in captivity (including with a bird of a different species or humans) is typically hard to break. Cockatiels are slender birds that are about a foot long, including their long, pointed tails. Cockatiels are known to experience "night frights," which cause them to flap and crash around their cages. Night frights can cause cockatiels to injure themselves and possibly their cage mates.

About Meyer's Parrots

Meyer's parrots are part of a group of small African parrots that resemble other parrot species with their chunky bodies, strong curved bills and short square tails. They are about 10 inches long and are grayish-brown with yellow accents on their heads and wings. Their underparts are blue-green. They are sturdy and compact parrots that live individually or in pairs. Meyer's parrots also nest in tree cavities. Meyer's parrots are excellent pets if hand-raised by humans. Otherwise, they tend to be wild and flighty. They are not domesticated birds, but have been bred in captivity for many generations. Meyer's parrots do not live in huge social flocks as cockatiels do, which is a good reason for keeping these species in separate cages.

Tips for Keeping Multiple Parrots

Introduce pet parrots gradually by keeping them in separate cages and supervising them closely when they're out of their cages. Each bird should have its own perch outside of its cage that is out of reach of other birds. Watch for signs of aggression among your birds; separate your birds immediately if they attempt to harm each other. Parrots, including cockatiels, consider their cages their territory and are more likely to aggressively defend themselves within their cages. Parrots can be unpredictable and may turn on one another. Providing each bird with its own cage reduces opportunities for conflict. Your Meyer's parrot may feel crowded by your cockatiel's more social and "needy" behavior; this could cause problems between your birds.

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