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Home > Birds > Where to Buy a Cockatiel in 2024? Adoption, Online & Retail Options

Where to Buy a Cockatiel in 2024? Adoption, Online & Retail Options

Closeup of a blue cockatiel

Petkeen advocates for adopting before shopping. We understand there are many reasons for seeking a breeder or purchasing from a store, though, so we encourage it to be done the right way. Learn more.

Cockatiels are one of the most popular companion birds, and for good reason. They’re quiet, non-destructive, and relatively easy to care for once you know how. They’re gentle and affectionate, making them a great pet for all kinds of families, including those with children. If you’re considering welcoming a cockatiel into your home and heart, you need to decide where you’ll buy yours from. Read on to learn about how to acquire a cockatiel responsibly.


Cockatiels as Pets: What to Know Before Welcoming One Into Your Home

Unless you’ve kept birds in the past, it’s hard to imagine how different the care required to keep them is. Caring for a cockatiel is not like caring for a cat or dog. You should be prepared to make some significant lifestyle changes before bringing a cockatiel home.

First and foremost, your home will need to be bird-proofed. Using the incorrect cookware and home appliances can instantly kill your bird. Cookware and appliances coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) can create airborne toxins when heated to certain temperatures. For the safety of your bird, you’ll need to donate all your PTFE-containing products (e.g., frying pans, pressure cookers, hair dryers, space heaters, etc.) and invest in PTFE-free alternatives. You’ll also need to avoid using respiratory system irritants like aerosol sprays, candles, incense burners, and certain cleaning products.

Once you’ve made the necessary lifestyle changes, you’re ready to welcome your sweet cockatiel home. These beautiful birds are friendly, gentle, and affectionate, fitting perfectly into nearly any home.

cockatiel with harness
Image Credit: Daria_vg, Shutterstock

Where to Adopt a Cockatiel

Adoption is perhaps the easiest and most common way to acquire a cockatiel; however, this route does require you to do research.

You can adopt a cockatiel from your local shelter or rescue agency. This is a great way to give a loving home to a bird that needs one. However, you must ask the right questions to ensure you get a cockatiel that suits your needs. You’ll need to know everything about the bird’s past, including where it came from, how it was raised, and if it was around other birds.

You may also find adoptable cockatiels from owners looking to rehome their pets. Before adopting, you must meet with the bird to ensure he is in good health and well cared for. This is especially true if you have other pets, as bringing in a sick bird can be devastating to the health of the others in your home.

1. Petfinder

Pet Finder Logo
Petfinder Logo (Image Credit: Petfinder, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Petfinder provides an online searchable database of animals of all species that need a home. It is a directory of over 11,000 animal shelters in North America, so it’s a great place to start searching for a new cockatiel friend. Petfinder is great because you can search by zip or postal code to find available animals near you. The website also allows shelters to upload photos and descriptions of all their animals so you know more about the cockatiel before meeting them.

At the time of writing, there were over 100 cockatiels available for adoption.

Yellow-gray cockatiel perched on a branch
Image Credit: Marlon Roth, Shutterstock

2. Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue

Mickaboo is a Northern California nonprofit organization that aims to rescue companion birds from neglect, abuse, or injuries. Like Petfinder, they don’t specialize in cockatiels; however, a few dozen are currently available for adoption on their website.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist Logo
Craigslist Logo (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

Craigslist is an online classifieds website where regular people can list items to sell. You can find people looking to rehome their cockatiels on this site, though we recommend proceeding with caution. Many irresponsible breeders and scammers use Craigslist, so research any animal you stumble across on this site before adopting. We recommend requiring the seller to confirm the cockatiel is in good health with proof from a veterinary clinic before adopting.

yellow cockatiel on a human hand
Image Credit: tenenbaum, Shutterstock


Where to Buy a Cockatiel Online

Online shopping is surely convenient for many things, but it’s not something we generally recommend when acquiring animals.

The problem with buying a cockatiel sight unseen is that you don’t get to meet them first. You won’t know what conditions they’ve been living in or if they’re even tame. You won’t know if the bird has been hand- or parent-raised or if it’s open to interacting with humans. You have to take the seller at their word, and while this would be okay in a perfect world, not every online seller is responsible, reputable, or even trustworthy.

That’s not even mentioning the logistical nightmare of having a live bird shipped to you.

Pet Stores That Sell Cockatiels

Pet stores are another common place where you can find cockatiels for adoption. Most pet stores will have cockatiels in stock as they’re one of the most popular companion birds. A great perk of purchasing from a pet store is that it can be your one-stop shop. You can buy all the essentials you’ll need for your cockatiel at the same place, and their helpful customer service team can provide valuable insight into what supplies you’ll need for your new pet.

1. PetSmart

PetSmart is the largest pet supply company in the United States, though it also has stores across Canada and Puerto Rico. All the animals sold by PetSmart are vet-assured and screened for illnesses. Many stores have cockatiels available for adoption from local rescues and shelters, so buying from PetSmart is a great way to provide a loving home to a bird in need.

side view of a young male cockatiel
Image Credit: ONGUSHI, Shutterstock

2. Petco

Petco is the second largest pet supply company in the United States. As with PetSmart, this company partners with local animal welfare organizations to provide adoptable animals.

3. Locally Owned Pet Stores

Most cities have “mom and pop” style pet stores owned by local citizens and not operated at a chain level. These smaller shops typically don’t have as many bird options, but it’s still worth popping in to see what they have in stock.


How Much Does a Cockatiel Cost in Stores?

The price of the cockatiels you’ll find in stores will vary depending on which store, where you’re located, and the type of cockatiel you’re adopting. Cockatiels typically range between $80 and $150 at Petco and $100 to $150 at PetSmart. Most locally-owned pet stores will have higher prices, so you can expect to pay closer to $300 for a cockatiel at these shops.

Cockatiel Breeder Information

Many cockatiel owners acquire their birds through a local breeder. This does require some research on your behalf, however. Unfortunately, some irresponsible breeders are in the business for all the wrong reasons.

A Google search should provide a list of cockatiel breeders near you. After locating several options, you must separate the good and bad ones. Interview all potential breeders, asking questions like how long they’ve been breeding cockatiels and if they would allow you to tour their facilities. Any responsible breeder will have pride and enthusiasm for the birds they’re producing and should be more than willing to show you their facilities. Ensure the breeder you work with can provide proof of healthcare and vaccinations.

Cockatiels in aviary
Image Credit: QuickStartProjects, Shutterstock

Tips for Adopting or Buying a Cockatiel

Whether you choose to acquire your cockatiel through a rescue agency, pet store, or breeder, there are some key things you should look for.

  • Appearance and behavior. A bird’s appearance and behavior can tell a lot about his overall health. Are there visual signs of illness, such as discharge from eyes or nostrils, dirty or ragged feathers, or improper droppings? Is the bird energetic and interested in you or hiding away in a corner, lethargic? This is why it is so important to never buy a cockatiel sight unseen. Unethical sellers and breeders will take photos to hide signs of illness.
  • Parent- or hand-raised? Hand-raised cockatiels make much better pets than parent-raised ones. They will be naturally closer to humans and easier to bond with. While you can certainly bond with parent-raised birds, your new pet will take much longer to trust you.
  • Male or female? Before adopting a cockatiel, ask yourself what qualities you want your new bird to have. We suggest you go with a male for a friendly, chatty bird. Males can learn to imitate sounds and have a unique sing-song, melodious way of communicating, while females generally don’t talk much or whistle.
  • Environment. What environment is your potential pet in right now? Is it clear that he’s been given love and attention by his current caretakers? Is the cage clean? Is he being kept in a proper-sized cage? What does the area smell like? Were you asked to sanitize your hands before handling the bird? The answers to these questions can provide insight into the bird’s health and help you determine if the source you’re adopting from is legitimate.



Cockatiels make fantastic pets, but you must do your due diligence before choosing one to adopt. You must educate yourself on how to care for a bird properly and research the sources you may adopt from. Unethical breeders and irresponsible sellers may try to sell you on a sick bird or one that hasn’t been properly cared for. The last thing you want to do is welcome a sick bird into your home and heart.

Featured Image Credit: CapturePB, Shutterstock

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