The New Standard Cockatiel (Final Draft Version)

NEW National Standard of the Cockatiel:  United States Version

General Conformation

The Cockatiel is a long bird, with graceful proportions. From the top of the shoulder curve to the tip of the wing, from the top of the skull to the vent and from the vent to the tip of the tail (ideally) should measure 6″. The goal being a 12″ bird with a 2″ crest. The total bird being 14 inches.  Proportion, not size, is the chief observation in a cockatiel.  Good proportion not only lends itself to great flight but is paramount to size.  You must establish proportion before you can establish size.

Crest and Head

Should be long (goal 2″),with good density, curving from the top of the cere fanning out to give fullness with longer crest feathers in the front of the bird near the cere and shorter crest feathers near the skull.  Crest length should stay in proportion to the birds overall lenth as well as to the size and shape of the head.

Heads should be large and well rounded with no flat spot on top or back of the skull. Baldness will be considered a fault with the amount faulted in proportion to the degree of severity. The eyes should be large, bright and alert, and placed at mid-point between front and back of the skull. The brow should be well pronounced when viewed from the front, the brow should protrude enough to indicate good breadth between the eyes. The beak should be clean, of normal length, and tucked in so the lower mandible is partially visible. Cheek patches should be uniformly rounded, dark and large, well defined, and brightly in color.  Bleeding outside the cheekspot is acceptable in adult males if in condition for breeding as is a natural and temporary condition.  Adult male Cockatiels, other than pieds, will have a bright, clear, deeply colored yellow head, sharply defined where the yellow meets the border of the main body feathers. A deep bib is preferred.


Should be relatively long- have a very slight curvature above the shoulders and have a small nip above the chest area, giving the bird a graceful appearance.  The neck should neither be too long nor too short but should exemplify a transition between head and body and should be proportional to the length of the bird.


The body of the Cockatiel when viewed side should be exhibit a streamlined bird that is accustomed to flying.  The body should exhibit a straight backline.  A frontal view shows more truly the strength of the cockatiel.  The body of a male cockatiel should be streamline and ready for flight.  The body should be absent of any excessive fat.  This fat is often seen by the lack of any space between the birds breast and the perch as its sitting.   Any fat in the abdomen is a sign of obesity and will be faulted.  Strong muscular bodies are preferred with broad muscular chests (especially in hens). A male Cockatiel should have a full but not widely broad chest, a slender, tapering abdomen, a wide, straight back (no hump or sway), and be a proportional, sleek bird.  Proportion will take preference over any size a bird has developed by means of artificial feeding or inactivity.


Should be proportional, wide and long, enveloping most of the body from a side view. The wings should he held tightly to the body, tips close to the tail with no drooping of the shoulders.   Minor Crossing of wings tips is allowed but when the a bird relaxes, the wings of cockatiels will relax and should not cross. The wing patch should be wide (goal of 3/4″ at the widest point), well defined and clear of darker feathers. All flight feathers should be in evidence.

Legs and Feet

Should hold the bird erect at approximately 70 degrees off the horizontal perch. Must grasp the perch firmly (two toes forward and two back), be clean, and claws not overgrown or missing.  Legs that are too long or two short will affect the degree off the horizontal perch.


The longest flights should be the extension of an imaginary line straight through the center of the bird’s body. A humped back will cause the tail to sag too low, and a “swayed” back might elevate the tail higher than desired. The feathers themselves should be straight clean and neither frayed, split or otherwise out of line.


A bird in top condition has clean, tight feathers: no frayed or missing feathers, no half grown or pin feathers. The beak and claws must be of suitable length. There should be no unnatural roughness or scaling on the cere, beak, legs or feel.


In a good show stance, the exhibition Cockatiel should indicate a central line approximately 70 degrees off the horizontal. The bird will present and display well on the perch.


In perfect condition, a cockatiel should exhibit a deep and intense color in the wild type mutation.  Males should have a deep yellow face mask and a solid color on the chest.   The rump of the wild type is permitted to be lighter with striated feathers.   In other mutations the base color of the cockatiel should be deep and any markings shall be symmetrical.   For pieds, a 75% pied marking should be present with symmetrical markings.   Pearls should be prolific on hens and be well formed with defined boards and good base color..  Other individual mutations should adhere to their standard that is outlined in the supplemental standard.

Weight of attributes on placement of cockatiels:


Condition and Deportment:30%

Color and Markings:  20%