Biloela Wild Cockatoos

Biloela Wild Cockatoos series by Leila Jeffreys.

'Jarra' Cockatiel

'Jarra' Cockatiel


©Leila Jeffreys 2012
Photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper
112 x 89 cm, 44 x 35 inch

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People have long known that Cockatiels are native to the outback regions of inland Australia, and favour the Australian wetlands, scrublands, and bushlands.

What has baffled most for years, however, is whether the Cockatiel is a crested parrot or is it a small Cockatoo? The recent answer from biological studies is that it is a Cockatoo. However, it is the sole member of a subfamily called Nymphicus Hollandicus.

How do these naming conventions work? The position of the Cockatiel in a scientific classification goes like this:

KINGDOM Animalia
PHYLUM Chordata (this means animals with a spinal cord)
CLASS Aves (includes all birds)
ORDER Psittaciformes (includes all Parrot type birds and Cockatoos)
FAMILY Cacatuidae (the only family in the super family is Cockatoos)
SUBFAMILY Nymphicinae (Cockatiel has its own subfamily named after mythical nymphs fortheir beauty)
GENUS Nymphicus (the only genus of the sub family is Cockatiels)
SPECIES Hollandicus (the only species of the Nymphicus genus is the Cockatiel named after New Holland – an early name for Australia)

Clear as mud?

So in simple language the Cockatiel is part of the Cockatoo superfamily but it is in a subfamily, genus and species of its own. Interestingly, despite it being small, its closest relative is the large Black Cockatoo.

In conclusion, Jarra is one of a kind!