Can Cockatiels Drink Tap Water?

People who keep cockatiels as pets have a responsibility to take care of their food, hydration, the prevention of illnesses, and the provision of a safe space conducive to their well-being and health. One of the most important things cockatiels need to do is to provide their birds safe drinking water.

Cockatiels can be given tap water for drinking only if it is also safe for human consumption. Unsafe tap water may contain chemicals that can result in lead poisoning. If in doubt of the quality of tap water, it is best to give your cockatiel bottled water for drinking.

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    So, does this mean you need a huge budget if you want to keep a cockatiel as a pet? Not really! There are many ways to keep your cockatiel healthy by giving it clean and safe drinking water. There are also various methods to make tap water safer for drinking.  

    Why tap water is not safe for cockatiels?

    Unsafe and untreated tap water can have adverse health effects on your cockatiel because it contains chemicals, as well as biological contaminants. Examples of contaminants include:

    • Salts
    • Pesticides
    • Bleach
    • Nitrogen
    • Metals
    • Toxins
    • Bacteria
    • Microbes

    One of the most common effects of the prolonged consumption of unsafe and untreated tap water in cockatiels is lead poisoning. The following are a few symptoms of lead poisoning in birds:

    • Lethargy
    • Seizures
    • Dehydration

    If your cockatiel has been consuming unsafe tap water for some time and is exhibiting the symptoms enumerated above, it’s a must to take it to an avian veterinarian for urgent medical attention.

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      How will you know if the tap water in your area is safe for cockatiels?

      The quality of tap water varies from one location to another and from one country to another. The rule of thumb is, if tap water is not safe enough for humans to drink, it’s also not safe enough for pets to drink.

      Most places publish information about the quality of water supplied to homes so contact your city hall or check the city’s website to learn more about the quality of your local water supply. If you have doubts, it is best to serve your feathered friend bottled or purified water.

      Is it possible to treat tap water so that cockatiels can drink it?

      Tap water, whether for drinking, misting, soaking, and bathing can be treated to make sure it’s 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals. There are various ways to treat tap water and ensure it’s safe for your cockatiel to drink.


      Boling is the cheapest and safest way to purify water. Bring covered clean water to a boil for about 1-3 minutes and let it cool.


      Certified water filtration systems come in various shapes and sizes. Choose those that have passed stringent tests and have certifications to prove that they can significantly reduce lead.


      Chlorination is another method to treat water and make it safe for consumption. It kills parasites, germs, and other organisms. Off-the-shelf purification products such as chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine can be used for this cheap, yet effective water treatment process.

      Remember to only give your cockatiels treated tap water or bottled drinking water.

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        Is it safer to use bottled water for your cockatiel?

        Giving your cockatiel bottled water is the safest option because it eliminates the worries of contaminants and pollutants getting into your feathered friend’s system.

        This also eliminates the necessity of having to purify and making the water safe for consumption. The only caveat to this is that the cost can add up over time.

        That being said, different types of bottled water are suitable for cockatiels to drink.

        Spring water

        Spring water is generally considered an excellent choice for the majority of birds, including cockatiels. It’s important to check the label to ensure that it’s natural spring water that comes from natural springs underground.

        This water is known to taste better than other types of bottled water and contains dissolved minerals.

        Mineral water

        Mineral water differs from other types of bottled waters because it has a consistent level and relative proportions of minerals. No further minerals can be added to this kind of bottled water.

        Purified water

        This type of bottled water is produced by deionization, reverse osmosis, or other processes which meet the definition of “purified water”. However, be very careful NOT to use distilled water because it can cause severe medical problems. It doesn’t have the minerals that are necessary for vital bodily functions.

        What can happen to your cockatiel if it drinks the wrong kind of water?

        Ideally, before you get yourself a cockatiel or any pet for that matter, you should find out as much as you can about its nutrition and health requirements, temperament, and the best way to care for it, to name a few things.

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          If you haven’t the time to read about your pet’s water requirements and have only come to realize now that you have been giving your cockatiel the wrong kind of water all this time, it’s not the end of the world yet. 

          What you must do is to change to the safe water as soon as you can. However, if your cockatiel has been drinking unsafe water for a long time or is showing signs of lead poisoning as previously enumerated, you need to take it to the avian vet as soon as possible for immediate medical attention.

          Final Thoughts

          It is perfectly safe to give your pet cockatiel tap water for drinking, as long as it is also safe for human consumption. Furthermore, there are many ways to treat tap water and make it safe for drinking before giving it to your cockatiel. Ultimately, making sure that your pet bird is drinking enough clean and fresh water daily throughout the day is most important.

          If you don’t have the time to treat tap water and make it safe for consumption, the best alternative is to give your cockatiel bottled water but only stick to spring water, mineral water, or purified water. You must avoid distilled water as it may result in adverse health effects.

          If you have been using tap water for your cockatiel, don’t worry too much. As long as your cockatiel is not exhibiting signs of lead poisoning, it should be fine as long as you immediately change to treated tap water or bottled water.

          Photo of author

          Gaurav Dhir

          Gaurav is an animal enthusiast. He lives in beautiful Ontario with his energetic family. As a part of his work at, he has been working with ace parrot trainer, Cassie Malina to understand bird behavior and learn more about how he can train his feathered companions.

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