The Cockatiel, or Quarrion as it is popularly called, is actually a cockatoo, although its slender body and long pointed tail is more characteristic to that of a parrot. It is widespread throughout mainland Australia, but large numbers are found in the more arid inland areas, where it can be seen feeding on a variety of grass seeds, nuts, berries and grain. Feeding may take place either on the ground or in trees. When seen its predominantly grey plumage with white wing patch, orange cheeks and a distinctive crest, make it unmistakable. The male differs from the female by having a bright yellow forehead, face and crest.  Although mostly silent, the Cockatiel utters a prolonged and distinctive “queel-queel” in flight.

Interesting fact: The Cockatiel is a popular cage bird, second only to the Budgerigar, and is an affectionate pet.  Free flying flocks, however, have a characteristic beauty that adds to the uniqueness of the Australian outback.

Scientific name: Nymphicus hollandicus

Size: 30 to 33 cm