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The cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), also known as weiro bird, or quarrion, is a small parrot that is a member of its own branch of the cockatoo family endemic to Australia. The cockatiel is one of three commonly kept parrots that create an abundance of bird dust. The other dust culprits are the cockatiel’s close cousin, the cockatoo, and the African grey parrot. You might notice a layer of fine, white dust covering pretty much everything near your cockatiel’s cage, especially objects that draw dust with static, like the television. What’s unique about the powder down feathers is that the tips crumble into a fine dust as the bird preens, spreading the powder throughout the feathers and helping to waterproof the bird. They are prized as household pets and companion parrots throughout the world and are relatively easy to breed. As a caged bird, cockatiels are second in popularity only to the budgerigar.
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The cockatiel is the only member of the genus Nymphicus. It was previously considered a crested parakeet or small cockatoo; however, more recent molecular studies have assigned it to its own subfamily, Nymphicinae. This dust comes from white powder-down feathers that grow close to the bird’s skin. These feathers emerge among the down feathers, and both are used to help insulate the bird. It is, therefore, now classified as the smallest of the Caparrotuidae (cockatoo family). Cockatiels are native to Australia, favoring the Australian wetlands, scrublands, and bushlands.