Can Cockatiels and Parakeets eat the same food?

When it comes to having birds as pets, cockatiels and parakeets are very popular. They are similar in many obvious ways. They fly, their birds, they are cute as heck. But the fact is all birds are not the same. Birds come in all shapes and sizes and require different types of nutrition. 

Still, no one keeps penguins as pets, so we will keep our discussion focused on the two most favored for the sake of household birds. What we found is fascinating.  

Can cockatiels and parakeets eat the same food? No. Parakeets and cockatiels can eat some of the same food because they both have similar nutritional requirements. But parakeets can’t take too much fat, whereas cockatiels need more fat in their diet. 

Can cockatiels eat parakeet food? Yes. Since both are birds of medium size and have similar dietary requirements, a cockatiel can eat food meant for a parakeet, but not the other way around due to the fat issue we mentioned earlier. Of course, feed typically doesn’t give a bird the nutritional requirements needed for a healthy life. We cover what a well-balanced diet for a cockatiel looks like later in this article. 

Can cockatiels eat parrot food? Yes, cockatiels can eat parrot food because technically, cockatiels are parrots. Other terms for them are the weiro bird or quarrion. But, you have to be sure it is the right parrot food. Birds come in all shapes and sizes. African Greys, a larger pet parrot, eat seeds and nuts like other birds, but they can also eat fruits, vegetables, cooked beans, corn, tortillas, potatoes, and more. The same goes for the cockatiel, which we get to in a bit of a bit. While the short answer is yes, cockatiels and eat parrot food, be sure that food is okay for this specific kind of parrot and that it’s in a size that they can eat. 

What is a well-balanced diet for a cockatiel? A well-balanced diet for a cockatiel is a 25% seed and 75% pellets. While you can include various fruits and vegetables, only about 20% of their daily intake should consist of fruits and vegetables like greens. While natural foods might seem like the best choice, the reality is pellets should make up the bulk of your bird’s diet. They give the consumer, your cockatiel, a well-balanced and nutritious meal. 

There are all kinds of pellets available, but each possesses equity between vitamins, minerals, and fat to keep your bird living healthy. Some bird owners swear by the natural diet with various foods, but the ultimate choice is yours. At the end, we will go over what foods are excellent, good, okay, and toxic to cockatiels. You can save this article and use it as a handy reference guide. 

How much should a cockatiel eat? A cockatiel should consume about 1.5 to 2 level tablespoons of seeds or pellets per day. As we’ve said earlier, only 25% of their daily intake should be seed. The rest can either be a variety of foods that meets their dietary needs or use pellets. 

Why does a cockatiel need a well-balanced diet? Just like humans, or living things on the face of the Earth, cockatiels have a daily requirement of vitamins and minerals that your cockatiel must meet; otherwise, they can suffer health issues. While living in the wild of Australia, the cockatiel knows how to find what it needs from instinct, but when a bird is entirely dependent upon humans for their meals, it’s not unlikely for their nutritional needs to go unlooked. 

Some of the issues a cockatiel can suffer from iodine deficiencies, obesity, feather picking, and egg binding, to mention a few. An excellent way to ensure that you are giving your bird the best diet option available is to speak to your avian veterinarian. 

While many experts feel a pellet-based diet is the best choice because they meet all their dietary needs, if you want to give your bird a pellet-free diet, variety is the key. First, you should familiarize yourself with their nutritional needs and consult an avian vet. 

Captive cockatiels seem to leave calcium and iodine, so it’s essential to keep that in mind. 

What can cockatiels eat? You are going to be surprised at the long list of foods that are probably right in your home that you can feed to your cockatiel. 

Raw Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots (grated or chopped)
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Kale
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Peas and pods
  • Romaine
  • Sprouts (fresh)
  • Sweet peppers, red or green
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress
  • Wax beans
  • Zucchini

Cooked vegetables (must be cooked)

  • Sweet potatoes


  • Basil
  • Cayenne (see above paragraph before giving to your bird)
  • Chamomile
  • Chicory
  • Cilantro (Coriander and Chinese Parsley fall under this category)
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Ginger Root
  • Lemon Balm
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Other Safe Food

  • Cooked barely
  • Cooked brown rice
  • Cooked cereals
  • Cooked dried beans
  • Cooked lima beans
  • Cooked oatmeal
  • Cooked pasta
  • Cottage cheese
  • Dried fruit
  • Dry, unsalted nuts
  • Freshly cooked chicken or turkey
  • Newly cooked eggs, hard-boiled, scrambled
  • Freshly cooked fish
  • Freshly cooked lean meats
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Yogurt

Good for Treats

  • Animal Crackers
  • Cheerios
  • Grape Nuts
  • Rice Krispies
  • Shredded Wheat
  • Unsalted crackers
  • Unsalted popcorn
  • Unsalted pretzels

What foods are toxic to cockatiels and should they never eat, and why


  • Anything moldy (blue cheese, etc.)
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Avocado
  • Bean plant
  • Brazil nuts
  • Broccoli 
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Eggs, uncooked
  • Eggplant
  • Fat
  • Fish, uncooked
  • Fresh peanuts
  • Fruit pits or seeds
  • Garlic
  • Meat, uncooked
  • Nutmeg
  • Nuts in shells
  • Onion
  • Rhubarb 
  • Salt
  • Shellfish 
  • Spinach
  • Tomato

Can you warm up the food you feed them? No. The most natural way for a cockatiel to eat fruits and vegetables is raw. Except for the sweet potatoes, which we mentioned above, should be cooked because it offers more nutrition to your bird. 

Not all human foods you can serve your cockatiel needs to be raw. You should cook the following foods and let them cool off completely before feeding them to your cockatiel;  barley, brown rice, cereals, beans, oatmeal, and pasta.

How often should they eat? In their natural habitat, cockatiels eat twice a day in the morning and the evening. So, it’s good to keep their feedings as close to their realistic schedule as possible. 

Items to avoid putting in their cages that might make them sick? While it’s essential to make sure you don’t put anything harmful to your cockatiel in their cage, what’s more critical is remembering to take away things that can become toxic. Cooked foods are one example. They can form bacteria on them, so it’s a good idea to take them out before they spoil. 

Another item you should remove from your cockatiel’s cage are ragged toys or ones that have long strings that they can get caught up. Also, keep an eye out for broken toys that might become sharp. Safety is essential when choosing toys, but there is always a possibility of hazard anytime you put something in the cage. Get used to checking their home daily. 

You should also avoid leaving behind a liner filled with excrement. Sometimes your little guy has to walk at the bottom of his cage,   and this journey will be much easier on them if it doesn’t include all their droppings. 


Food is essential for all living things. Caged birds are entirely dependent upon our choices when it comes to what they eat. As pet lovers we wouldn’t think of giving them anything less than what they deserve and love. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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