Conure vs Cockatiel – Most Important Differences

If you are looking to choose between a conure vs cockatiel as a pet, this guide will help you make the right call

There are a total of 350 different species of parrots. Today, we’re taking a look at just 2 of these – the easy-going cockatiel and the super-active conure. 

Most of the world’s parrot species are found in South America and Australia.

But these two are so famous as pets that they are practically on every continent of the world. 

About Conures And Cockatiels

Both conures and cockatiels are members of the larger parrot species. They have similar diets. 

Both birds tend to eat grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, and green vegetables. Home-reared birds can also develop a taste for more unique items like yogurt, eggs, and even chicken! 

Visually, both birds exhibit traits that align with the parrot family. They have a curved beak, ideal for breaking the hardcover of grains. 

They have feet with four toes – of which two face forward and two backward, which are ideal for gripping items and climbing and hanging vertically from trees. 

Both make for great pet birds and are affectionate toward their keepers. However, they belong to different subfamilies and genera. 

And this leads to some distinct differences between the two. In the sections that follow, we will cover these differences in detail.

Conure Vs Cockatiel
Conure Vs Cockatiel

Conure vs Cockatiel: Summary of Key Differences

CharacteristicsParticularsCockatielConure
BehaviorCaring and groomingConsiderably independent birds, require less socialisation and attentionSocial birds, require out-of-cage socialisation and grooming from owners
BehaviorEnergyLaidback and less energeticHypractive and acrobatic 
BehaviorVocal abilitiesMore tuned towards whistling, can mimic many tunesCan pick up words and phrases, but limited vocal capacity
BehaviorNoiseLess noisier, low tones and squeaksNoiser, harsh and shrill tones
BehaviorAffectionateMore affectionateLess affectionate
BehaviorSmartnessTuned towards picking tunesTuned towards learning tricks
BehaviorTraining Takes time to learn and trainEasier to train
BehaviorAggressivenessIf trained, low chances of biting – the bite is not hardIf trained, low chances of biting – the bite is hard 
Physical ColorYellow, white, gray and combinationsYellow, green, red, blue, black, white and combinations
Physical Physical activityRequires less exercise and self-sufficientRequires more exercise time 
Physical SizeSame size but the body is smaller, tail longerSame size but the body is bigger and rounder, tail shorter
Physical LifespanShorter, 10-14 yearsLonger, 15 – 30 years
Physical FoodNuts, berries, grains, seeds, vegetableNuts, berries, grains, seeds, vegetables, worms

Behavioral Differences 

Conures belong to the genus of Aratinga. The name itself means “small macaws”. This is because conures share many similarities with macaws. 

They are very vocal, have a shrill note, and can mimic humans. They can pick up behaviors and training and are quite bold in interacting with humans. 

Cockatiels are energetic, whistling birds. They can get along well with both humans and other cockatiels

They are receptive to training but have a limited capacity for it. 

Males are noisier than females. Compared to conures, they have a laidback personality, especially the females engaging very little in vocal activities. 

Conure Vs Cockatiel
Conures (on the left) need a lot of attention, while budgies can spend some time alone as well.

Which one is easier to care for? 

Cockatiels are much easier to care for, especially when kept in groups. They thrive within themselves. 

Despite still requiring some out-of-cage time, cockatiels are less vocal and active. They also have a simpler diet of different types of pellets and supplements. 

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    Compared to cockatiels, conures are much louder, more playful, and more interactive. Conures enjoy baths, hanging toys, and affectionate scratching. 

    They are a highly social bird species. 

    In the wild, conures can live in large groups of up to 30 birds. Because of this, a pet conure will require significant out-of-cage bonding and socialization time. 

    Which one is more energetic a conure or a cockatiel?

    Conures are certainly more energetic and that is why they are fondly called the “clowns” of the bird family. 

    Each conure bird will have its own unique personality and mimicking abilities. As conures become more accustomed to their new home, they tend to get more vocal.

    Using their feet, they can perch in various places and prefer plenty of toys that they can cling to. 

    Over time, they develop favorites in terms of food, toys, and people. Conures like it when they have lots of toys in their cages as it keeps them occupied. 

    However, the Pyrrhura conures are comparatively quieter. 

    Who talks more?

    Both species of birds have different vocal abilities. Conures have a harsh and shrill scream. 

    They can pick up human words and mimic some sounds, though it’s not as advanced as some other parrots. 

    Cockatiels, on the other hand, are mostly whistling birds. They cannot mimic but can pick up tunes. 

    In fact, they can pick up quite complex melodies and keep in tune with any playback music. 

    They show remarkable ability in terms of modulating their whistling to tunes. However, since they cannot directly mimic humans – this skill is often overlooked. 

    Generally, how much a bird talks is a trait that depends on the individual bird and how well the keeper has trained it. 

    Conure Vs Cockatiel
    Cockatiels love to whistle, conures have a more shrill sound.

    Are cockatiels more affectionate or conures?

    Cockatiels, when hand-tamed and reared, can become very docile and tame. 

    Despite their small size, they often demand more affection in terms of cuddling and head scratches from their owner. 

    Having said this, both bird species are very affectionate with their keepers. 

    The level of affection between you and your pet is determined not only by its species but also by your bond and the attention you give them. 

    Which one is noisier?

    Conures are much noisier and more active birds than cockatiels. Their sounds are slightly shrill and not as melodious as cockatiels. 

    There are a total of 19 conure species, and each has different levels of ‘noise.’ 

    Sun conures, for example, are extremely shrill. They can also mimic people but learn only a handful of work – a trait that can quickly get tiring. 

    Many owners return their sun conures due to this. As such, it is also advisable to get more information regarding the bird you are going to invest in. 

    Which one is smarter?

    In simple terms – this is debatable. We do not have any definite research or study that points out one bird as being smarter than the other. 

    Both are smart birds, but their talents lie in different areas.

    Cockatiels are master singers, whereas conures are active acrobats. Conures are slightly easier to teach tricks to. But training both requires time, patience and effort. 

    Due to their ability to pick up tricks faster, conures are often touted as being smarter than cockatiels. 

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      Conure Vs Cockatiel
      Both are smart birds, their talents are different!

      Which is one is likely to bite you?

      All types of birds are prone to biting and nipping. There can be many reasons for this. 

      Either they are attacking you as they feel threatened, or they are simply demanding something like food, affection, or attention. 

      Either way, biting is instinctive and you have to train both species to not bite by associating it with negative behavior. 

      In general, bites from larger birds like the green cheek conure are definitely more dangerous. Their beaks are strong enough to break the skin and draw blood. 

      Are conures easier to train as compared to cockatiels?

      Yes, conures are easier to train as they pick up tricks faster. They can learn things like stepping up on a foot, going in a circle, mimicking a few human words, and other simple tricks. 

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        It is ideal to use positive reinforcement in the form of treats or head scratches in training them. By finding your conure’s favorite food, you can use it to motivate them to perform tricks. 

        You can also train young cockatiels. They are inquisitive but take some time to pick up new tricks. If you dedicate the time to training, they can pick up tricks faster.

        Physical Differences Between Cockatiels and Conures

        Physically, conures are stockier than cockatiels. They have thicker bodies, larger heads, and shorter tails. 

        Cockatiels are slender, with a long, pointed tail and a very small beak. They are also vastly different in terms of colors. 

        Visually, there are no similarly colored cockatiels and conures. An easy way to distinguish them is to look at the feet. Conure feet are darker and grey, whereas cockatiels have pinkish feet. 

        Conure Vs Cockatiel
        Conures are visibly more plump and larger in size.

        Which bird is bigger?

        Adult cockatiels have a size of around 12 inches. They can weigh between 2.8oz to 3.5 oz. Their average wingspan is 13.7 inches

        Since they’re a singular species, all cockatiels pretty much adhere to this range. 

        Conures however have many species ranging from small to medium size parrots. Sun conures are around 19.6 inches long and weigh around 8.4 oz. 

        If you compare green cheek conures vs cockatiels, the comparison is a lot fairer. Green cheek conures are smaller birds – reaching only up to 10 inches when fully grown. 

        Conures are also stockier than cockatiels. For the latter – their pointed tails give them a lot of lengths. Conures, on the other hand, have much shorter tails. 

        Who is more colorful?

        Different conure species display a mix of colors. The sun conure, for example, is bright orange and yellow with a green tail. 

        The cherry-headed conure has a red head, followed by a green body. Other species can be a mix of red, blue, shades of green, and white. 

        Cockatiels also display various color mutations between pale yellow, white, and grey. 

        Color mutations in cockatiels may vary based on the type of breeding done. However, for conures, the color depends on their species. 

        Conure Vs Cockatiel
        Conures come in a wide variety of colors.

        Who needs more physical activity?

        Conures require more physical activity, simply due to their larger body build. 

        Ideally, a pet conure should have regular out-of-cage time with at least 3 toys in their cage. It’s best to stimulate them further by exchanging toys. 

        Cockatiel vs conure – how long do they live?

        All parrot species tend to have long life spans. Conures can live for anywhere between 15 to 30 years. 

        In the wild, the green cheek conure might only live for 10 to 15 years. Some like the sun conure can live for 30 to 35 years.

        Cockatiels in the wild live for only 10 to 14 years. As is the case with most birds – when domesticated, they can live for much longer. Larger bird species live longer than smaller ones. 

        What food does each bird take?

        Both birds have a similar diet, as they belong to the same superfamily. They feed on seeds, soft plant shoots, leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, blossoms, and more. 

        Conures also eat insects, which cockatiels don’t. 

        When kept as pets, birds feed mostly on seeds and grains. However, these are typical ‘junk food for birds. 

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          A healthy diet will also contain vegetables, fruits, and corn. If your pet bird is averse to leafy greens, you can try feeding them vegetable pellets by mixing them with grains. 

          Which Is More Expensive: Conure or Cockatiel?

          The cost of buying a conure depends on their species, and some are under conservation laws. It can range anywhere from $75 to $800. 

          Sun conures cost anywhere between $200 to $800. The blue crown and mitered conure are among the more expensive of the lot. 

          You might need to special order them from reputed breeders.

          Cockatiels are commonly found in most pet shops and do not have a large price range attached to them. 

          Conure Vs Cockatiel
          Conure vs cockatiel – typically, conures tend to be more expensive than cockatiels

          Can You Put a Conure and Cockatiel Together? 

          Is it possible for these 2 birds to get along – but a lot depends on the temperament of your bird and how you introduce them

          Ideally, you should introduce them slowly to each other over many sessions rather than simply sticking them in a cage together. 

          This can cause them to become territorial and start fights with each other.

          Generally, larger birds like conures may bully the mild-mannered cockatiel. If you see any signs of pecking or bullying, it’s best to separate them. 

          You can allow them to have playtime outside the cage together while keeping a close eye. If you see any signs of trouble, immediately separate the birds.

          Which Bird Is A Better Pet For You?

          With pets, it’s best to go for a bird that complements your personality. Conures require more work in terms of training and socialization, but they are loud. 

          Cockatiels are calm and composed birds and whistle melodiously but are comparatively less interactive. 

          Many bird owners occasionally begin with a cockatiel and get a conure or larger parrot later on, as they develop bonds. 

          You can decide based on:

          • Your visual choices: Conures are much more brightly colored. They are also heavier and bigger in size which makes them easier to handle
          • Your time constraints: Conures are active and social. They need time, attention, and care. Cockatiels are much more independent. 
          • Your interest in training: If you want a bird that can sing – go for the cockatiel. If you want your bid to perform cool tricks – go for a conure. 

          Conure Vs Cockatiel
          Conure vs cockatiel – the choice really depends on your circumstances

          Frequently Asked Questions

          Are conures more intelligent than cockatiels?

          Intelligence in this case is subjective. Conures can be considered to be more intelligent as they are easier to train in terms of physical tricks and activities. 
          However, cockatiels can pick up a wider range of vocal whistle tunes – and sometimes, all by themselves.

          What is special about conure?

          Conures are especially known for their bright colors and small size. Their ability to learn tricks and mimic us makes them a great companion bird to have. 
          All species of this type of bird are usually very affectionate and cuddly with their human keepers.

          Are conures louder than cockatiels?

          Conures are much louder. Their voice is more high-pitched and even loud in terms of decibels. The common sounds they produce are squawks and shrill screaming notes. 
          Cockatiels have a more subdued voice, mostly tuned towards whistling and sometimes squeaking.

          What is the difference between a conure and a parrot?

          Conures are a type of parrot – as long as we take ‘parrot’ to refer to the superfamily including all parrot species. 
          However, if you want to compare to the commonly found green parrot or Psittacara holochlorus – then the two are different in terms of color, size, and vocal ability.

          Wrap Up

          Whether you prefer one over the other – all companion pets require care and attention. You can keep out simple food trays for both these birds, along with water bowls. 

          Fresh water is also mandatory for conures as they often take a dip in their bowl. Make sure their cages have enough toys and puzzles to keep them occupied.

          While choosing between a cockatiel and a conure, please keep in mind that you (or we) can only look at the common behavioral traits.

          A lot of the bird’s personality depends on the individual you end up with. We hope that you have a long and happy pet bird ownership experience.

          Thank you for reading!

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          Team Beauty of Birds

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