Cockatiels are brilliant birds with a knack for having fun. They need plenty of stimuli both inside and outside of their enclosures to live a long and happy life. Even though these interesting birds can make a toy out of almost anything, they also tend to be quite hard on their toys or tire of them quickly.
Engaging your cockatiel with great toys is often more of a challenge than it sounds. However, there are now hundreds of toys available to entertain your winged friend. We have whittled these down to 10 of the best toys currently on the market in 2020.
Read through the reviews and check out the buyer’s guide at the bottom to learn about what you should look for in a toy for your cockatiel.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites (Updated 2023)
|Best Overall||Planet Pleasures Pineapple Foraging Bird Toy||
|Best Value||JW Pet Activitoy Birdie Disco Ball Toy||
|Premium Choice||Prevue Pet Coco Hideaway Bird Toy||
|Super Bird Creations Flying Trapeze Bird Toy||
|JW Pet Activitoy Birdie House of Mirrors Toy||
The 10 Best Toys for Cockatiels
1. Planet Pleasures Pineapple Foraging Toy – Best Overall
Foraging is a natural part of a cockatiel’s life in the wild. Although they might not have to forage to survive when kept in captivity, they will always feel the desire to do so anyway. This Planet Pleasures Pineapple Foraging Bird Toy is designed to satisfy that desire in a cockatiel or any other foraging bird.
The toy is made with natural materials from high-quality sources meant to emulate those found in their natural habitat. The inside material is shreddable, which has been proven to be a good stress relief activity for most birds, especially those who suffer from separation anxiety. The toy comes in multiple sizes, but some of the larger sizes can frighten some birds.
The toy hangs, typically from the top of the enclosure, but it can also hang from the side. It is colorful to entice your bird to try it out. Personalize the toy by hiding your feathered friend’s favorite treats inside. They can nip and poke through the spaces on each side of the pineapple to try and forage the treats out. Hide them well, and your bird will remain entertained for many hours.
2. JW Pet Activitoy Birdie Disco Ball Toy – Best Value
It is no myth that birds are typically attracted to bright, shiny things, and this toy takes advantage of that keen interest. The Birdie Disco Ball comes as a small to medium size. It contains a hook at the top to hang from the top of the sides of their enclosure. In the middle of the toy is a flashy disco ball, and then a bell dangles underneath that.
Although the toy is marketed for any bird, it typically works best for smaller species like cockatiels or parakeets. The multifaceted surface of the disco ball reflects light to keep birds fascinated. It becomes even more engaging when they figure out how to ring the bell. The plastic is relatively durable, but if your bird is rough with their toys, you are bound to have to replace it.
The plastic hanger is secure and will not fall to cause any harm to your bird. The toy is primarily made from plastic. It has been tested for safety and proven to be free of any harmful substances for birds, including the paint. It has proven for many to be one of the best toys for cockatiels for the money.
3. Prevue Pet Coco Hideaway Bird Toy – Premium Choice
Mimicking your bird’s natural habitat is a great way to get them to engage with their surroundings and make them feel more at ease in their enclosure. This premium product from Prevue Pet does just that.
Prevue Pet has fashioned this toy from a coconut, cutting a hole out of the side for a small bird species, such as a cockatiel, to hide inside. They can climb up to it using the little wooden rope ladder and huddle up whenever they feel like resting or taking a break.
This toy has two places to fasten onto their enclosure or to another perch. Both of the fasteners are small, metal carabiners that twist securely shut once you have them in place so they won’t ever tear or fall.
This toy is constructed from 100% natural Hevea wood and coconut shell with a natural sisal rope. All of the materials are eco-friendly and safe for your bird. The textured landscape it gives your feathered friend encourages their engagement and gives them good foot and beak exercise.
4. Super Bird Creations Flying Trapeze Bird Toy
The trapeze bird toy from Super Bird Creations is among the premium toys you could get your cockatiel. There are so many ways for your bird to play around with this toy that it is like getting them three or four toys in one. It is best to get a larger size for a cockatiel since the toy runs relatively small.
The trapeze toy is made up of 4 rope and chain lines that all connect at the top in a pear link cage connector so that it can hang from the top of the enclosure. At the bottom, they all work to hold up a mat made from natural seagrass that your bird can walk on, use for a rest, or dangle from, depending on what they want to explore. Many birds like to treat it as a swing and sway on it for hours.
The chains and ropes are all very colorful, some of them featuring beads that they can move around and others having dangling porcupine balls and other hoops and toys hanging from them. Your bird will love to chew on them and move them around while they interact with the toy.
The best part of this toy is that it encourages your bird to exercise and work on their muscles. It promotes balance, coordination and allows them to forage. All of the materials are recycled, and other than the seagrass mat, they are plastic. If your bird is hard on fibrous materials, the seagrass mat might not last very long, and the toy will be quite useless.
5. JW Pet Activitoy Birdie House of Mirrors Toy
Another of the Activitoy products, this birdie horse mirror sets your bird up for carnival-like fun. This toy uses mirrors to bed and misshapes your bird’s view depending on how they view themselves. Many birds find mirrors fascinating, and if your bird is one of them, they will get hours of entertainment from these fun mirrors.
The toy is a small to medium size and is entirely made from plastic, including the mirrors. Making the mirrors from plastic might seem chintzy to some people, but it is much safer than involving any kind of glass in a toy for a bird. Since the mirrors are plastic, they are sometimes clouded, making reflections challenging to see. Another safety feature is the easy-bolt attachment so that you can safely hang it anywhere in their enclosure.
This toy can provide hours of entertainment. Instead of being normal mirrors, each one is different. The one on the left side gives a “wacky” view of your bird. The central one makes your bird look very short, and the final one on the right makes them look incredibly tall. Smart birds like cockatiels are amazed by this and enjoy moving from one mirror to the other and trying to figure out the differences.
6. Kaytee Forage-N-Play Ladder Bird Toy
The Kaytee Forage-N-Play Ladder Bird toy helps your feathered friend stay mentally and physically occupied. The toy’s design is meant to invoke your bird’s desire to explore and put their detective skills to work. It also encourages their instinctual need to forage.
There are 6 ladder sections on this toy that can be changed around to fit almost anywhere in their enclosure. Up and down the ladder are materials of differing textures. Some of these include wooden ball caps, and some are pieces of shredded paper for them to forage things. You may need to replace the paper if they enjoy playing with and foraging it.
This ladder is ideal for medium-sized birds like cockatiels and others like conures or lovebirds. The vertical design with varying pieces encourages the birds to continue getting exercise and alleviating cage boredom that could result in unwanted behaviors.
7. Super Bird Creations Rainbow Bridge Bird Toy
The Super Bird Creations Rainbow Bridge Bird Toy is meant to help your birds practice balance and exercise their lower legs. Some chains and bells are hung between some of the sticks and beads to encourage your bird to hang on it and play with it. There are 3 different sizes, although it is primarily created for larger birds like parrots.
The Bird Bridge can easily connect to the sides or top of their enclosure, depending on how you want to place it. The carabiners are metal and rotate open and closed. This operation means that they will safely stay closed and fixed, but it also means that it is more of a challenge to place it or to move it around once affixed.
The colors on these beads are greatly varied, and their size is as well. It doesn’t make it extremely easy for your bird to get across, giving them more exercise and physical interest. All of the materials are bird-safe and have been designed for chewing and perching. The beads and wooden pieces are mostly made from pine.
8. JW Pet Activitoy Birdie Basketball Toy
Another toy from one of the most popular creators for bird toys is the Birdie Basketball Toy. The size is small to medium, perfect for cockatiels and parakeets. All of the pieces are made with safe plastic, so if your bird chews on them, it won’t do any damage to them. The plastic isn’t very durable, and rebuying the toy might be necessary if your birds get into playing with it.
The basketball hoop comes with a bright red hoop and basketball to attract your bird to the toy. The ball is attached to a bar that runs across the middle of the hoop so that it won’t get lost or pose as any kind of loose hazard to your bird. The back of the basketball hoop is also a mirror, attracting most birds as they study their reflections.
This toy does help birds to exercise a bit but is primarily good for providing healthy entertainment. It stimulates their brain, giving them a puzzle to figure out every time you take the basketball out of the hoop. Birds tend to enjoy moving parts and getting a chance to change the appearance of things.
9. Bonka Bird Toys Foraging Star Bird Toy
The Bonka Bird Toy is the ultimate toy for birds who like to forage. This toy looks like a birdie version of the mad hatter, with bits of paper sticking out all of the toy’s sides. Each of these toys is made from materials with slightly different colors so that every time you get another version, it is somewhat different and engaging for your bird.
This small to medium-sized toy is best for cockatiel-sized birds and others like budgies or lovebirds. All of the bits of paper sticking from the side are different colors and give your bird the chance to chew and forage as much as they want. This is until they have pulled most of the papers out, but you can replace them with relative ease.
All of the materials are bird safe, and each piece is either wood or paper. The toy is about 6 inches high and 6 inches wide and can easily be placed inside the cage with the top carabiner. There is also a bell attached at the bottom for audible fun.
10. Wild Harvest Sunrise Rope Bird Toy
The Wild Harvest Sunrise Rope Bird Toy is advertised to be an 8-in-1 toy, containing plenty of fun and engaging pieces for your bird. There are multiple strands of rope made from a natural fiber that is entirely bird-safe.
There are all kinds of pieces and trinkets hung on the rope to make it easier for your bird to climb and to give them something to chew and move around. The wooden beads encourage them to play. It is about 9 inches long and about 4.5 inches wide, a perfect size for birds like parakeets and cockatiels to climb on and play.
Hanging this toy is easy with the tamper-resistant lock on the carabiner. It is easy to hang from the top or the side of the enclosure. The tamper-resistant lock also makes it difficult to move or to take out of the enclosure.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Toy for Your Cockatiel
Toys for cockatiels and other birds come in all kinds of sizes, shapes, and colors. It is up to you to find toys that will keep your bird safe, entertained, and healthy. However, what makes any one toy different from another?
The safety of the toy is the most important. Birds are pretty hardy creatures with plenty of capacity to fall or dangle without getting hurt. However, most birds chew on anything they can get their beaks around, enjoying the sensation of tearing things apart or moving them around.
If the toy’s material is hazardous or toxic to birds, and they are bound to chew on it, then the toy can end up causing serious health issues for your cockatiel.
Plastic is often the most common synthetic material used since it doesn’t need to have a layer of paint. Most paints are quite dangerous for birds to ingest since they contain many different chemicals that they cannot break down very well. Some metals are also toxic to birds, which is why nothing but small carabiners will typically be made from metal.
The safest materials for your bird are natural materials. It is best if your toy is made from fibers, grasses, or wood. All of these are materials birds will naturally forage and chew on in their native habitats. If they ingest any of it, it is not only safe but can also improve their gut health.
Investing in a toy should feel just that, like an investment. If toys are made too cheaply, then it will decrease the amount of time it will take your birds to destroy them. You must find toys that won’t shatter if your birds peck or bite them.
For example, even if your bird enjoys looking at themselves in mirrors, it is best they are plastic and not glass. If the bird decides to try and attack their reflections, they could shatter the glass and cut themselves.
Making Your Own
You don’t have only to buy your own or repurchase a toy if your bird has partially destroyed it. Save some money on new sets of toys all of the time by being willing to repair, restring, or restuff some of their toys.
Satisfying Their Instinctual Needs (Foraging, Gnawing)
Birds have deeply ingrained instincts that they need to satisfy to some degree or get cage boredom and become dangerously restless. Most of them need to forage, as they would in the wild, to build their nests and find hidden food. Even if your birds aren’t making a nest, they will want to try and find treats buried in piles of paper or wood.
Gnawing is essential for a bird since their beak can overgrow if they don’t have something to work it out on. Getting them a toy they can gnaw on would look like getting something with wooden pieces.
If you’re new to the wonderful world of cockatiels, you’ll need a great resource to help your birds thrive. We highly recommend taking a closer look at The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels, available on Amazon.
This excellent book covers everything from the history, color mutations, and anatomy of cockatiels to expert housing, feeding, breeding, and health care tips.
If you are looking for a toy that encourages birds to gnaw and forage safely, the Planet Pleasures Pineapple Foraging Bird Toy does it all. Tearing it to shreds can also be a great way for them to relieve stress.
Perhaps your bird is hard on their toys, so you need to find them something extremely budget-friendly. The Birdie Disco Ball fits these criteria while simultaneously being visually and audibly entertaining.
Keeping our pets happy and satisfied often results in us feeling happier as well. Getting your cockatiel toys that will keep them healthy, encourage physical activity, or test their mind is a great way to do just that. We hope we have given you enough options to satisfy every entertainment need of you and your feathered friend.
Featured Image Credit: Chrisad, Pixabay