cockatiel vs conure

Owlet

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Oct 27, 2016
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Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel), Aster (GCC)
So, I've been thinking about what I want my 2nd bird to be. I've been going back and forth between a cockatiel or a conure (gcc) for awhile now and I'm just not sure which.

From my understanding cockatiels are more gentle and calmer than a conure would be, while conures are more nippy and mischevious. That's pretty much the extent of my knowledge when it comes to the differences between the two. I believe their cage size requirements are the same since they're roughly the same sizes. (correct me if I'm wrong on that)

Can someone give me the pros and cons of a conure vs a cockatiel? Just as the bases of the general temperaments and care requirements for the species. I know every bird is different but I'm just looking for the most common behaviors you might expect from them.

What are the differences between dietary requirements?
What kind of toys might a conure like that a cockatiel wouldn't and vise versa? What kind of toys do they generally like?
What about differences in noise volume?
What is puberty like in them?

etc.

I will ideally be getting a baby but due to my work I do interact with older birds a lot so there's a chance I might take one of them (there's currently a 6 month old conure that I'm in love with. not a baby baby but still young. still hesitant about it though)
 

GaleriaGila

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May 14, 2016
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The Rickeybird, 37-year-old Patagonian Conure
As you hinted, every bird is such an individual, even within species... I hesitate to speculate much...

I like the idea of a rehome/rescue... not only are you helping a bird out, but you're dealing with a more "known" character.

I would feed any parrot Harrison's plus chop/greens/chiles/etc.

:)
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
My neighbor has a cockatiel, and I have a GCC. I think the GCC are smarter, and more interactive and cuddly. Both are clowns :) GCC use their feet more to hold stuff and food and play. His cockatiel is a much better talker and clearer, his cockatiel is quieter, though my GCC only screams if a snake or hawk goes by the window! Lol one day she was screaming so much I thought she was hurt, nope big snake in the bush outside her Window!!
 

Jen5200

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Baby - Sun Conure;
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Tee - Pineapple GCC; Jimmy - Cockatiel
I’m sure others will chime in - but I’ll share what mine are like.

My cockatiel (she’s 5 or 6) - mellower than either of my GCCs, pellet diet, some seed, will eat greens, doesn’t like fruit at all (not sure if that’s all cockatiels or just her). Like softer and thinner wood to chew (like balsa), chews yucca, plays with beaded toys. Generally quieter than my conures and usually just wants to sit on one of us and get scritches (she’ll do it for hours if we’ll sit that long). She is dusty so we have an air cleaner in the bird area next to her cage.

My GCCs (both around 4 years) - busy, busy little birds. Pellets, chop, small amount of seed diet. Love fruit but I prefer to limit the amount of sugar....they do NOT need the excess energy. Much more adventurous with toys - wood, beads, shredders of any variety and love the bells. Love affection but also prone to being a bit nippy. Mine snuggle in short bursts and then are off to do other birdie things.

My cockatiel is around 94g and the GCCs are between 75 & 80g. Cage requirements are similar, but my cockatiel is not prone to climbing the bars of her cage so she has far more perches, ropes and ladders in hers. She’s much more dignified than the “monkey boys” who hang from the ceilings of their cages and beat the snot out of their toys.

For pros and cons - it really does depend what type of companion you want. I love them all for what they are and I get something different from each of them. Screamer (tiel) is a great companion and I love to watch her happily preen and get scritches. She’s a comforting presence in the house. Tango & Stanley are loveable balls of energy that you can’t take your eyes off or they get into trouble. They have snuggly moments, bitey moments and make you laugh moments.

Not sure if that helped at all :)
 

Flboy

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Dec 28, 2014
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JoJo, 'Special' GCC, Bongo, Cinnamon GCC(wife's)
My neighbor has a cockatiel, and I have a GCC. I think the GCC are smarter, and more interactive and cuddly. Both are clowns :) GCC use their feet more to hold stuff and food and play. His cockatiel is a much better talker and clearer, his cockatiel is quieter, though my GCC only screams if a snake or hawk goes by the window! Lol one day she was screaming so much I thought she was hurt, nope big snake in the bush outside her Window!!

Ditto, oh, and, ditto!
 

SilverSage

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Eclectus, CAG, BH Pionus, Maximilian’s Pionus, Quakers, Indian Ringnecks, Green Cheeked Conures, Black Capped Conures, Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Budgies, Canaries, Diamond Doves, Zebra Finches, Society F
I’ve raised both and love both.

Conures are more active, more destructive, and thus will require more wooden toys. Cockatiels do particularly well when left flighted.

GCCs are Latin American canopy dwellers and thrive on veggies and fruit, cockatiels are Australian grass parakeets and do better in greens and small sprouts.

Cockatiels have a whistling shrill call, conures have a harsher scream.

Conures are just flat out more likely to bite.

Conures are pair bond birds that mate for life, cockatiels are not. This means fewer jealousy issues with tiels.

Tiels come in a larger variety of pretty patterns, gccs are more brightly colored.


Tiels can usually (excluding pied birds) be visually sexed, conures cannot except where the mutations of the parents are known and sex linked mutations are involved.


Conures are more expensive, both have similar life spans.


Both CAN learn to talk, neither are really known for being great talkers.


In my experience tiels are much more forgiving of emotional retreat and the days where you just can’t handle much.


Cockatiels are very easy to add flock members to, conures much harder/more dangerous.

Conures are silly puppy dog style snuggle muffins, cockatiels can also be very cuddly but are less likely to do the adorable things like rolling on their backs for playtime.

Cockatiels are powder producers.


Like I said, I love both to pieces. I prefer cockatiels though.


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chris-md

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Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
I absolutely adored my red throated conure, Aphrodite. I’ll second everything that’s been said. My personal word would be conures are more intense. More of an experience.

I’d take a conure any day over a cockatiel. Especially for the powder down issue.

I’d say though, do some research outside of the usual sun conures and green cheeks. There’s a whole world of different species available that are pretty damn cool :) I know they are The aratinga and pyrrhura standard bearers but I confess to sometimes feeling...disappointed when people just default to these two.
 
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chris-md

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Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
I’d also say if you look at conures, consider mini macaws as well. Most are actually the same size as conures: hahns macaws, noble macaws, yellow collared macaws. Very similar behavioral characteristics and temperaments.
 

Laurasea

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I absolutely adored my red throated conure, Aphrodite. I’ll second everything that’s been said. My personal word would be conures are more intense. More of an experience.

I’d take a conure any day over a cockatiel. Especially for the powder down issue.

I’d say though, do some research outside of the usual sun conures and green cheeks. There’s a whole world of different species available that are pretty damn cool :) I know they are The aratinga and pyrrhura standard bearers but I confess to sometimes feeling...disappointed when people just default to these two.

I just saw s gold caped conure listed I Craig's list and then read about them! Seems like an awesome conure!!! Plus those golden conures seem amazing, so I agree! As for those nips from GCC it's only what you deserve, like you didn't share your snacks! Or you didn't hold still while they pulled a scab off, or you tried to stuff them back in the cage whilst they still needed more cuddles, those are valid reasons to set you straight! GCC are bold explorers and want to be part of everything. I disagree about them not getting along with other birds, my two excepted everyone, my Ta-dah wants to snuggle every bird she meets.
 
OP
Owlet

Owlet

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Based on what Silversage is saying it seems a cockatiel would be more suitable right now.

I definitely want a conure at some point in my life but.. maybe not right now.
 

SilverSage

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I love them all lol. But be serious about where you get your tiel. They are easy to produce so a lot of people do it really badly. Even if you plan to clip, look for a breeder selling weaned babies that are not clipped, but are tame and sweet. That insures they aren’t being forced and aren’t already full of resentment when you bring them home :)


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EllenD

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Aug 20, 2016
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Senegal Parrot named "Kane"; Yellow-Sided Green Cheek Conure named "Bowie"; Blue Quaker Parrot named "Lita Ford"; Cockatiel named "Duff"; 8 American/English Budgie Hybrids; Ringneck Dove named "Dylan"
I'd agree with most of what has already been said. I have both a female Cockatiel and a male Green Cheek Conure right now, and I got both of them as just-weaned babies, and they are definitely night and day in a lot of ways, but in other ways they are very similar...

From my prior Cockatiel experience, which is extensive since my mom bred them for years, there seems to be a pretty huge difference between a female Cockatiel and a male Cockatiel as far as noise level, talking, and even their temperaments. The male Cockatiels are definitely louder and noisier overall, without a doubt. Some male Cockatiels are every bit as noisy and loud as a Conure is, while Duff, my female Cockatiel, hardly makes a peep. Ever.

Duff wants nothing more than to sit on my shoulder and get her head, face, and neck scratched constantly. She immediately lowers her head for anyone who comes near her, lol. She doesn't play much with her toys at all, once in a while, but hardly ever. She doesn't chew on much at all either. She likes to sit with me, look at the window, and swing. My mom's male Cockatiels play with toys and are constantly singing away, talking away, and flying around.

As far as the Green Cheeks go, they too love cuddles and snuggles, and are called "Velcro Birds" for a reason; Bowie has to be with me/on me if I'm home, period. He plays with his toys and entertains himself, but in-general he wants to be stuck to me. He too loves his head and face scratches, and loves to lay on his back and roll around like a little clown...that's a main difference, the Green Cheeks are all little cuddly clowns. Bowie isn't that nippy, he never bites. I think the "nipping", at least with a hand-raised/hand-tamed baby Green Cheek is more just the way they play with people and snuggle/cuddle, it's not at all a biting thing. The very first day I brought Bowie home he was immediately stuck to me and that was that. He flies to me as soon as I open his cage, and if I walk out of the room and he's on his play stand and not already on me, he immediately follows me out the door and attaches himself to me. Duff doesn't really do that, she likes to be with me, but she's not constantly having to be stuck to me all the time...Bowie is like your stereotypical closely-bonded parrot who loves his mamma and that's that. Duff loves me and is bonded to me, but there isn't the sense of urgency to always know where I'm at or to be with me that there is with Bowie...

They are both very intelligent, though I too would agree that the Green Cheeks are probably a bit more intelligent than the Cockatiels are, or at least they are much more perceptive, and they understand things that the Cockatiels don't.

Bowie is an oddball as far as the talking thing goes. Green Cheeks in-general are terrible talkers, they don't often talk, and when they do it's extremely gravely and hard to understand, while male Cockatiels are very good talkers and speak very clearly...Bowie started talking around 6 months old, and he's never stopped. He speaks every bit as clearly as any parrot I've ever heard, and he know around 15 or so words/phrases, and he talks all the time. But I don't think that is at all typical of a male Green Cheek...

I love them both dearly, but I guess if I'm being honest with myself, Bowie is my special little baby. I think the Green Cheeks kind of force you to bond extremely closely with them, if that makes any sense. He's always with me and on me, and if her were suddenly gone I would really be lost and lonely. He's my snuggle-bug every single night while I'm watching TV or reading before bed, he's got his spot snuggled in the crook of my neck, and he is content to just beak-grind away for hours while i'm watching a movie or reading a book. I wouldn't hesitate to get either another Cockatiel or another Green Cheek, but if I had to choose one or the other, it would be another Green Cheek, just because I can't imagine not having one around. He's always there...right now, as I'm typing this, he's sitting on my shoulder, waiting for me to go sit on the couch so he can take a nap, lol...
 

Boki

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Aug 7, 2018
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Marcy - double yellow Amazon
Mac - blue front Amazon
Loki - rosefront conure
Thanks for posting this question - I am wrestling with the same decision and thinking I will eventually get one of each. But I have to wait a bit because I have extended travel plans and will wait until that trip is over so I can give the new bird more continuous training time. But for some reason, cockatiels are not so readily available where I live and that might dictate which one I get first.

I now need to research mini macaws...
 

FlyBirdiesFly

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As far as the Green Cheeks go, they too love cuddles and snuggles, and are called "Velcro Birds" for a reason; Bowie has to be with me/on me if I'm home, period. He plays with his toys and entertains himself, but in-general he wants to be stuck to me. He too loves his head and face scratches, and loves to lay on his back and roll around like a little clown...that's a main difference, the Green Cheeks are all little cuddly clowns. Bowie isn't that nippy, he never bites. I think the "nipping", at least with a hand-raised/hand-tamed baby Green Cheek is more just the way they play with people and snuggle/cuddle, it's not at all a biting thing. The very first day I brought Bowie home he was immediately stuck to me and that was that. He flies to me as soon as I open his cage, and if I walk out of the room and he's on his play stand and not already on me, he immediately follows me out the door and attaches himself to me. Duff doesn't really do that, she likes to be with me, but she's not constantly having to be stuck to me all the time...Bowie is like your stereotypical closely-bonded parrot who loves his mamma and that's that. Duff loves me and is bonded to me, but there isn't the sense of urgency to always know where I'm at or to be with me that there is with Bowie...

My Kermit is not at all cuddly, very independent, and I’ve never seen him play on his back. In fact, right now I’m just trying to get him to accept me touching him. He was hand fed as a baby. Weird... I SO wish that he was like all the other green cheeks! Can we trade birds?! Lol just kidding. Any ideas to why he is like this?

Ducky is my special bird. She is very closely bonded with me and LOVES head scratches. She is super cuddly and absolutely loves to nuzzle against my cheek and snuggle up to me. She is so sweet and gentle and has never, ever bitten me.
 
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LeslieA

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Having had both, I'm a bigger conure fan. GCCs seem more active and clownish. A cockatiel seems calmer. A conure is more obvious and moodier. A GCC seems smarter but it's more that cockatiels are sneakier.

They're VERY different birds. It really depends on the owner! But be assured that both are very territorial. Again, a GCC is more obvious and openly demanding. A conure TENDS to be a single-person bird while a cockatiel TENDS to be a family bird. A cockatiel will sit back and watch the chaos while a GCC wants to be in the middle of it.
 

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