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Showing & Judging


A Guide to Showing
Show Standards

The ANCS Show Standard was developed when the club first began to have Cockatiel Shows and has been continually upgraded to keep the standard to the highest possible degree. The Standard has served the club well in helping to maintain the best quality cockatiels nationwide. It is that highly respected that a lot of clubs have adopted our standard in full or in part for use at their own shows.

A Guide to Showing

by Terry Casey

Whiteface-Cinnamon-Pied Cock, English BloodlineTo prepare your cockatiels for the show bench you must start training them well in advance of the show date. This is especially true for  young birds, which you should start training as soon as they are capable of feeding themselves.

An ideal size for the training cage would be three times the size of the Australian National Cockatiel Society's show cage, built so that slides can be placed to make three cages when training is in progress. Always use wire cage fronts, not wire mesh, as mesh will damage their tails.

Whiteface-Cinnamon-Pied Cock
English Bloodline

After a period of about two weeks in the training cage, you can place one or two into a show cage to see which of them will be suitable for the show. Also check for broken tail and flight feathers, removing them so they will regrow in time for the show.

Having selected the birds that you intend to show, now is the time to work them so that they can show themselves off to the judge to their best advantage. For a bird to have any hope of taking out the top prize they must respond to the judging stick. A bird that will not perch cannot be judged properly. There are different methods that you can use to get the birds onto the perch, such as an egg carton turned upside down on the floor of the cage, ping pong balls, marbles or a piece of cardboard placed at an angle so as to force the bird to perch. You can also give them a light spraying with warm water, which will also help to tighten their feathers.

When training your birds use as many different judging sticks as you can; one of them may turn out to be similar to the judging stick that the judge has. Also get your show team used to people and the manner in which you are going to transport them to the show. I have mentioned spraying your birds to steady them down, you can give them a light spraying every day up until three days before the show. This will give the feathers time to settle in place.

There are many ways to train birds for the show bench, but if choose birds that are as close to the standard as you can find, and follow the advice given here, you just might find your bird in the running for the Best of Class, Section, Best Opposite Sex or Bird of the Show. But however any show turns out, never be discouraged if the bird you thought would win was beaten. The next time that flight of tail feather that had not reached its full length will be just right and he/she may win. 

A lot of birds do not stand a chance of winning, and it's not because they are not up to the rest of the field or are out of feather. So ask yourself: where does the fault lie? So please, don't just go to your birds on the day of the show and catch the number that you have show cages for. Prepare in advance, and train them properly. And don't forget to ensure that your show cages are in top condition.

One last thing to remember is to have your birds benched at the show as early as possible. If you arrive with your team five minutes before judging starts, your bird or birds could be the first class to be judged and they will have had no time to settle down.

To all the members who exhibit their birds, sit back and enjoy the shows and have fun. Remember, winning is only an extra bonus to your hobby.

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Show Standard


The cockatiel is a sleek bird with a straight back and full chest, giving an overall look of a strong bird able to cover vast areas in its daily search for food.  It should neither be weedy or gross by appearance, but well balanced.  Proportions of wing-to-body to-tail to be equal, with the ideal being 150mm for each.  The crest should be full and long, ideally 60mm.  Aim is a 300mm bird with a 60mm crest, the total being 360mm from tip of crest to tip of tail.  The cockatiel is a strong and fast flier and should appear as such.



Full and long (ideally 60mm) the crest should curve from base to tip when fully erect.  Although density is important, the crest should appear a part of the bird and be smooth continuation from the front of the birdís head outline. 



It should be large, well rounded and proportional to the body with no flat spots on top or back of skull.  Eyes positioned midway between the front and back of the skull and should be large, alert and well rounded.  Brow is to be pronounced and wide to indicate good width of frontal skull.  Beak to be wide at base and normal in length, tucked in so that the lower mandible is partly visible.  Cheek patches to be of moderate size, uniformly rounded with no bleeding into other dead colour.  No bald spots (including lutinos) as this is to be considered a sever fault and penalised as such.  All feathers are to be fully formed. 



A continuation of head outline with a very slight curve at back above shoulders and a slight nip where chest meets neck at base of bib.  Bull or ramrod posture undesirable. 



Side view - A sleek strong bird with a straight back and full chest indicating good substance.  Ideally 150mm long from tip to skull to vent with a high tapering abdomen. 

Front and back view - Will show good breadth of chest and back.  Cockatiels are relatively wide in both back and chest, which gives them flying strength.  Hump, sway or concave backs are considered as faults. 



These should be large, wide, long and strong appearance.  Held tightly together and tight against the body with the tips close to the tail.  No crossing over of wings and no drooping shoulders permitted.  Wings should cover most of the body from side view.  Wing patch to be well defined and clear of darker feathers.  Ideally wing patch should be 16mm at its widest point.  All flights and converts are to be intact. 



Strong, normal length toes with no abnormal bends or curves.  Feet are to have strong toes, with normally worn claws, al intact, and able to grip a perch firmly with two toes forward and two toes back.



Tail to be fully grown with all feathers intact with no curving in any direction.  Tail to be carried straight so as to appear as an extension of an imaginary line drawn through the centre of the birdís body.  Ideal length from base to tip is 150mm.



A well conformed cockatiel will perch at an angle of approximately 70 degrees off the horizontal and appear as a sleek bird. 



Top condition is the aim with clean, tight feathers and a general appearance of excellent health.  No missing toes or claws, overgrown beak or caws, fayed feathers, evident pin feathers, dirty vents, scaly beaks, legs or feet, and no eye or nasal discharge.



This point allocation as set out is merely a guide for selection of the better bird(s).  This guideline serves for both exhibitors, and judges.  In an actual show, although used as a guide, all birds will be judged by the comparison method.




  15 points



  12 points


Balance of proportions

  10 points


Wing carriage

  10 points



    5 points



    8 points


Colour & markings

  10 points


Feet & legs

    5 points



  15 points



    5 points


Cage presentation

    5 points



100 points

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