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The Pearl Cockatiels are one of the mutations of cockatiel parrots. As one of the most popular pet birds on the market, these species have become common among breeders and rarely found in the wild. Loved for its different color varieties, this breed gets heavily bred by bird owners.

As a pet bird, the Pearl Cockatiel is becoming more popular as breeders develop colored species. The color mutation is sex-linked which determines the pearling the bird will have. Because of this genetic effect, most Pearl cockatiels are female, and just recently, breeders started replicating the same on males.

If you are looking for a pet bird, here’s all you need to know about the Pearl cockatiel.


These medium-sized birds are originally from Australia, where they are called quarrions and weiros. Initially discovered in 1770, they are the tiniest member of the cockatoo family. As they became pet birds, the Pearl cockatiels became a famous export from Australia to other parts of the world.

Over the years, the shipment of these bird species got banned. But with the rising demand by pet bird keepers, breeders now use the available birds to create new Pearl cockatiels. Therefore, it’s much easier to find it at your local pet store if you are looking for this breed.

The Pearl cockatiels are also known as Laced Cockatiels, Opaline Cockatiels, Pearl Tiels, Pearl Cockatiels, Pearly Cockatiels, or Pearly Tiels.

Physical Appearance

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This colorful bird comes in multiple colors due to the mutation. The Pearl Cockatiel mutation first appeared in 1970. With the Lutino Cockatiel being the most popular mutation, there are several other variations that you can have in your home.

Pearling has to do with the feathers. For this breed, the feathers on the wings and back have a white or yellow lace.

The pearling differs and can be light or heavy. While the females don’t lose their markings, the male’s pearlings become very faint over time and only remain slightly visible among mature males.

The distinct difference between males and females is extensive. Apart from the intense coloring, females also have colored bars on the underside of their tail feathers. If you love colorful pets, this bird is a perfect choice.

Mutations and Colors

The grey colors are only for species in the wild. With constant breeding, there are now several different color patterns developed for domestication. Let’s take a closer look at these variations before you get one for your home.

•   Grey

These birds have a gray body, white wing bars, yellowish face with a yellow crest on their heads in their natural wild look. However, the females and young cockatiels who haven’t gone through their first molt have orange cheek patches and grey faces with some yellowish infusion. White or yellow are the prominent colors on the tail feathers.

•   Lutino Cockatiels

This mutation comes exhibits as a yellow-white bird that has orange cheek patches and red eyes. A distinct feature of this breed is the balding spot behind the crest. With the new birds, breeders are working to eliminate this patch.

•   Pieds

For pieds, the grey colors of a cockatiel get replaced with white or shades of yellow. They are a desirable species for domestication due to their stunning color combination. Pieds can be either clear or Pearly.

•   Cinnamon

Pearl Cockatiels with this color shade have grey feathers and some tones of browns and warm tans. A cinnamon brown color has replaced the dominant grey areas on the body.

•   Albinos

Albinos form due to a lack of any color pigment, resulting in a white appearance. Unlike the other species, they don’t have an orange cheek patch or yellow pigmentation. The albinos also have stunning combinations among them, Pied Whiteface, Pearly Whiteface, and Cinnamon Pied Pearly.

•   Silver

The silver color variation can display as recessive or dominant. For the dominant breeds, the bird will have warm grey feathers with brown or black eyes. With the recessive ones, they inherit light blue-gray feathers with red eyes.

Sexual Differences

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Before you get a Pearl Cockatiel as a pet bird, you need to understand the differences between the two sexes. These distinctions determine their behaviors, appearance, and temperament.

The most distinct feature between the male and female is the pattern. Young males and females appear the same, making it hard for breeders or bird keepers to differentiate them visually. However, after the first molt, which happens after six months, the pearling pattern becomes more distinct because the males lose most of the coloration.

When identifying the sex of the bird, breeders also check the pelvic bones. For example, females have wider pelvic bones for the passing of eggs. Breeders require this information to help them during sexing.

Temperament and Behavior

As a popular pet bird, Pearl Cockatiels get the love for their docile personalities. Known for their friendliness, they are easily socialized and can fit in any home. In addition, they are exceptionally affectionate and will be happy to see you when you get home.  

As a trainable breed, they are brilliant birds, and often you will find them whistling. They can learn tricks such as mimicking some noises in your houses, such as the telephone, radio, alarm clocks, or phone ringtone. Males are better at the mimic game than females.

Despite being able to vocalize their emotions, they are much quieter than parrots. Therefore, if you need a calm pet bird, they are a good option. However, if you keep females, they are usually pretty quiet than their male counterparts and will likely hiss or bite you.

Because they are trainable, they can adopt bad habits such as nipping if they are not tamed. Also, if you scold them often, they will retreat and become shy around other people. They like company; therefore, their attention will be stolen from you if you keep them with other cockatiels.

You can identify a male Cockatiel by how they strut around the cage. You will observe that these birds lift their wings slightly and stick their chest out as they strut.

How do you Take Care of a Pearl Cockatiel?

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Cockatiels are easy to take care of as long as they get the necessary affection, nutrition, and exercise.

Before you bring a pet bird to your home, here are a few things to consider.

•   Bird Cage

You can keep a bird alone on its own or have them as a pair to keep each other company. They enjoy being part of a flock as they are sociable. Cockatiels require large cages with a sizable amount of space to prevent them from becoming aggressive.

As active breeds, they need large cages and toys for playtime. Depending on the space you provide for them, they have to feel comfortable enough, which discourages them from escaping. For this reason, you can either have a flying cage or allow them some time to spend outside the cage daily.

When you let them out, keep them away from areas such as the kitchen or areas that have fumes. These areas put them at risk of getting respiratory infections which can be fatal.

•   Exercise

Cockatiels get bored quickly if they don’t have company. They are also active and need you to provide them with means of exercise. You can add two perches in the cage for climbing and have toys available to keep them busy. You can also add a bird swing which they can use for relaxation.

As you install a cage, consider one with horizontal bars. They get lots of activity as they scale across the enclosure using the bars as a ladder. The observed time out of the cage is also a perfect time for your pet bird to get some exercise.

•   Diet and Feeding

Like most birds, Cockatiels are omnivorous and survive on various foods from pellets, leafy greens to carrots. You can feed them seeds which are essential in their diet. However, it should only be about 30% of the diet due to the high-fat content.

A well-balanced combination of pellets is good for your pet bird. To supplement this, you can add vegetables and fruits to the daily meal plan. In a day, a parrot can eat approximately one tablespoon of food. Therefore, make sure you balance all the nutrients and don’t overfeed them to avoid wastage.

Feed your bird in the morning and remove any leftovers after an hour. If you ideally feed your Pearl cockatiel, it can live healthily for almost 15-20 years.

Pearl Cockatiel Health Conditions

When keeping a pet, you need to watch out for any signs of diseases and infections. Ignoring the signs can become severe and result in the death of your pet. So, what are the common symptoms you should look out for?

Here’s a guide.

•   Nutrition Deficiency

The transformation from a wild to domesticated species could result in nutrition deficiency. For example, if you feed them seeds only, they will not get all the necessary nutrients they require. This is why it’s essential to add some vegetables and fruits.

•   Respiratory Infections

Like all birds, the Pearl Cockatiels are sensitive to fumes from chemicals, insecticides, pesticide residue. Exposure to such conditions will cause respiratory infections. Your bird has an infection if they start coughing, wheezing, coughing, or get a nasal discharge. Once you notice these changes, schedule an appointment with the vet.

•   Fatty Liver Disease

Birds are highly susceptible to obesity if they don’t get enough exercise. A less nutritious diet can contribute to this fatty liver disease.

Feeding your pet bird foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats is also risky. To avoid this, ensure that you keep your bird healthy by keeping them active.

•   Other Disease Symptoms

Some infections may not be as direct; therefore, you might need to monitor your Cockatiel closely. Closely check if your pet bird stops whistling, avoids eating and drinking, is resting on the lower birdcage, has puffed feathers, or is experiencing dizziness. Also, observe if there any inflammations, dull eyes, or unusual smell from the droppings.

Where Can I Source a Pearl Cockatiel?

Compared to other cockatiels, Pearl Cockatiels are more challenging to find. However, due to the growing demand, specific breeders sell these breeds. A good breeder will provide you with a healthy breed that can survive for more than ten years if well taken care of.

Final Thoughts

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A Pearl cockatiel is a good pet option. The sex-related genetic mutation gives this bred distinctive color variations. With many breeders focusing on this breed, it’s much easier to get a cockatiel at your nearest pet shop. They are affectionate and friendly birds that can keep you company.

Once you get one to your home, provide them with a well-balanced diet, and meal plan and a means to exercise to keep them healthy. With the proper training, they are fun and can fit well in any household.