Cockatiel Vs. Budgie? – Similarities & What Makes Them Different?

Cockatiels and budgies are parrot family members with origins in Australia’s arid and semi-arid regions. However, these birds’ popularity is due to their friendly nature and ease of breeding.

However, are there any differences between cockatiels vs. budgies? Yes, A cockatiel differs from a budgie in various aspects, such as size, weight, and lifespan. They also come in different color mutations to choose from and require distinct cage sizes.

Apart from that, their prices differ, and both parrots produce different amounts of bird dust. In this guide, we will compare a cockatiel with a budgie to help you decide which one is best for you.

Cockatiel Vs. Budgie Comparison Chart

In the table below, you will find an overview of the cockatiel vs. budgie differences to help you determine which bird to adopt.

Length from head to tail12 to 14 inches5 to 11 inches
Wingspan10 to 12 inches12 inches
Weight2.5 to 4.5 ounces1.1 to 1.8 ounces
ColorGray body with orange patched cheeks and yellow faceGreen or blue with yellow and black scalloped markings
Lifespan (in captivity)15 to 25 yearsUp to 15 years
Minimum cage size24 by 18 by 24 inches18.5 by 18.5 by 18.5 inches
Bird dustLarge amountsSmall amounts
CrestRaised crest feathersCrest feathers lying flat
SpeakingNarrow vocabularyExtensive vocabulary
Tail feathersLongerLong
Price$80 to $250$10 to $35

Cockatiel vs. Budgie – What Are Their Differences

Having to choose between a cockatiel and a budgie can be a difficult decision to make. Both birds make good pets thanks to their beautiful personalities. So below, we will look at their differences.

1. Size and weight

A cockatiel measures between 12 and 14 inches long at maturity and has a wingspan of 10 to 12 inches across. In terms of weight, this bird weighs between 2.5 and 4.5 ounces.

A budgie, on the other hand, is a little smaller than a cockatiel as it measures approximately 5 to 11 inches long but with a 12-inch wingspan. It is also lighter than the cockatiel, weighing between 1.1 and 1.8 ounces.

2. Color mutation

A cockatiel is available in around 15 color mutations. However, a typical cockatiel is gray with a yellow face and a bold orange patch on the cheek. The tips of the wings are white, and the crest is yellow or whitewashed.

With budgies, there are more than 30 color mutations available. However, the two primary colors are green and blue. A budgie also has yellow and black scalloped markings on the wings, back, and nape.

3. Lifespan

The lifespan of a cockatiel ranges between 10 and 15 years in the wild. But in captivity, this pet bird could live for 15 to 25 years or more with proper care.

Meanwhile, a budgie can live between 4-6 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity. That means a cockatiel will live longer than its budgie counterpart.

4. Cage size

As cockatiel is a relatively bigger size than a budgie, it needs a larger cage. The standard cage size for this bird is 24″ long x 18″ wide x 24″ high. On the other hand, the standard cage size for a budgie is 18.5 inches by 18.5 inches by 18.5 inches.

5. Amount of bird dust

A cockatiel is perhaps one of the dustiest parrots, followed by the cockatoo and African gray parrot. This bird produces a fine dusty powder when preening, flapping wings, and grooming, which may cause allergic reactions. Conversely, a budgie is considered a low-dust bird because of its small size.

6. Type of crest

A cockatiel features an erectile crest that is flat on the back. However, unlike the budgie, some feathers of a cockatiel’s crest are raised naturally. Meanwhile, a budgie has a half-circular, tufted, or full-circular crest with the feathers lying flat instead of up.

7. Tail feathers

Compared to the budgie, a cockatiel has longer tail feathers. These feathers make about half the total length of a cockatiel. That is why this pet bird needs a larger cage.

8. Ability to talk

A cockatiel can talk like most parrot species. You can teach it a few words and phrases. However, it does not have an extensive vocabulary as a budgie.

On the other hand, a budgie can talk like or even better than most large parrot species. This bird is capable of developing a vocabulary of 100 words. You can teach it how to speak at 3-4 months old.

9. Price

Depending on your location, age, health status, and color mutation, a hand-tamed cockatiel costs about $80 to $250. And a budgie costs around $10 to $35 because of its small size. So, a budgie is cheaper than a cockatiel.

How Are Cockatiels And Budgies Similar

While the cockatiel differs in so many ways from a budgie, these two birds have many similarities. For instance, just like the cockatiel, the budgie, also known as a budgerigar, originated in Australia. Besides their origin, these birds are similar in many ways, including;

  • Eat the same diet, including seed mixes
  • Have hooked beaks for cracking seeds
  • They live in flocks in the wild
  • The birds can be hand-tamed and trained to talk
  • Both are social, active, affectionate, and playful
  • Make a wide range of calls
  • Prone to obesity due to poor diet and lack of exercise

Which Is The Best For A First Time Owner, Cockatiel Or Budgie?

Both parrots make excellent starter birds. This is because the birds are easy to care for. You just change their water and lining daily, clean the cage weekly, and feed them. And, of course, you must let them out of the cage for at least an hour daily.

Another thing that makes cockatiels and budgies good beginner birds is their friendly, affectionate, and social nature. For this reason, these birds are easy to bond with. Not to mention, the birds are easy to tame.

Could I keep a budgie with a cockatiel?

You can keep a cockatiel and budgie in the same home. However, it would be best if you did not house both birds in the same cage despite their many similarities.

Sometimes the two birds can become territorial and aggressive toward other birds. This happens especially during the breeding period. As such, the birds may fight and injure each other, which can be fatal.

Which Is Better: Cockatiel or Budgie?

A budgie is an excellent choice if you want a small, more energetic, and relatively cheaper bird to care for and feed. This bird is also better than a cockatiel when you have limited space. The downside is that a budgie has a shorter lifespan than a cockatiel.

However, if you want a medium-sized parrot with a longer lifespan, more affectionate, docile, and easy to handle, the best choice is a cockatiel. Unlike the budgie, a cockatiel likes to be held and petted. The major drawback of this bird is its high price.


Before we conclude our cockatiel vs. budgie comparison, let’s check out some frequently asked questions regarding this topic.

Are cockatiels easier to train and tame than budgies?

No. Both birds are brilliant and hence, easy to train various tricks and tame. But of course, training any of these birds requires a lot of patience.

Which bird is more affectionate, a cockatiel or a budgie?

It is definitely a cockatiel. A cockatiel is more friendly and likes to be touched, especially around the head and crest. A budgie does not like being touched.

Key Takeaways

The differences between a cockatiel and a budgie are so many. Even so, these parrots have several similar characteristics, like being great beginner birds. However, it is not recommended to keep both birds in one cage. But of course, you can keep the birds in the same home.

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