Complete Cockatiel Bird Language And Behavior Guide

Cockatiel language and behavior can be very complex but with knowledge of some general cockatiel traits and what they mean, you will be able to learn more about your pet birds. We’ll start with the language of the cockatiel crest.

Cockatiels are unique in that, unlike other small birds, they have a crest that can give us clear insight into what’s going on inside their head. The positions of the crest vary from laying flat on the head to sticking straight up in the air.

1. A flat, angry crest. When your cockatiel crest lays flat on the head, it is usually a sign of hostility and often most often when you get to close to your birds cockatiel cage while eating. Of course, even sweet, tame cockatiels like my baby cockatiel Toby (male cockatiel, a little over 6 months old) has moments where the crest will flatten and the inner demon will emerge | it’s totally natural for babies and adults!
2. A relaxed crest at “half mast.” This is a regular crest position for the usual content cockatiel.
3. A relaxed, yet alert crest position. This is a common position for an inquisitive cockatiel.
4. A completely raised crest. Bright red alert! This is a common position for when a cockatiel is startled or otherwise on guard. This often happens when a cockatiel hears a “bump in the night,” or when he hears the voice of another cockatiel that he can’t see. It’s an all-purpose “alert” crest.

The “Rapidfire Bite” Technique:
If your your cockatiel gets little bunchy eyebrows or a flat crest and then starts quickly biting your finger (or as I like to say, playing your finger like a harmonica), he might be a tad miffed at you. Don’t take it personally. It happens with even the best cockatiels.

Skinny Cockatiel:
If your cockatiel suddenly gets very small and “skinny,” it could mean that he has been startled or is scared. It often looks like the cockatiel crops sucked in, and all the feathers lie flat on the body. This is often accompanied by a “red alert” crest.

The Head Bob:
A cockatiel who is bobbing his head often while in it’s bird cage might be trying to tell you a variety of things. In a young or unweaned bird… it is often a sign of hunger. Your cockatiel may be begging for food. In an older cockatiel, it could be a way of showing off or trying to get some attention.

Heart-Shaped Wings:
Also known as “the big chest.” This is when a cockatiel holds his wings slightly away from his sides with his chest sticking out. From the back, the shape of the wings resembles a heart. This is a male cockatiel behavior 90% of the time and is just your cockatiels body language showing off because he likes you. A big chest is a great tool when flirting with cockatiels as a big ripped chest is a great tool with humans and ladies. You should understand how smart your bird is and how much they pick up daily from you, their owner so do not neglect these signs.

The Bowed Head:
If your cockatiel lowers his head and leaves it there, it is most likely an invitation for you to pet his head. This is very cute! A more demanding cockatiel might beak bang a few times before leaving his head stationary if you don’t respond to his demands in a timely fashion.

Ready for Take-Off:

Often, a cockatiel will stoop down low and hold his wings out, still folded, at his sides while fidgeting or moving back and forth. It may look like he is about to take off flying. If your cockatiel’s wings are clipped, then it may mean that he would like to fly somewhere (often toward you) but isn’t confident enough to take off. A flighted cockatiel may also choose to do this if he thinks that you will come and pick him up; it saves him the trouble of actually flying over to you if possible.

Bat Cockatiel:
When given a new cockatiel cage or play gym, when sitting on a tall object, or when near a nesting site, a cockatiel may hold his wings out all the way, often swishing slightly backward and forward. Sometimes, a cockatiel may adopt the same wing position while leaning far forward, sometimes even upside down. This is a sign of “property ownership.” Your cockatiel is saying “This is mine!”

Beak-Banging:
A cockatiel and most birds may often hammer his beak on a hard object, or on you. It almost looks like a pecking motion. This is beak-banging, and it’s a common behavior for male cockatiels. Like other make cockatiel body language, it is a gesture of property ownership. Your cockatiel may be saying “Whatever I’m hammering on is mine!” However, while the Bat Cockatiel is seen in both male and female cockatiel birds, beak banging on your own birds cockatiel cages is a predominantly male behavior once again but females can do it also. There is no known traits that only a male or female can do or shows besides females laying eggs. A male bird or cockatiel can lay eggs but that’s a whole other story and topic lol.

The “Back and Forth” Cockatiel:
Also known as “pacing.” Sometimes, especially when in bird cages, you may see him or her eagerly walking back and forth very quickly, taking only one or two steps to each side while always facing forward. Sometimes he may chirp repeatedly while doing this. Your cockatiels behavior is begging (rather, nagging, begging – whatever you would like to call it) to be let out of his bird cage. The speed of back-and-forth motion often increases exponentially when people are eating in his field of vision.

Beak-Assisted Climbing:
When your cockatiel is climbing onto your finger, he may first grab on with his beak before stepping all the way on. This is normal. He is testing the stability of your finger. This is also often used by cockatiels as a balancing aid.

Beak Grinding:
Usually it is the sound of this motion and not the visual that first attracts our attention. Your cockatiel may grind his upper and lower mandible together, producing a scratchy or “zippy” noise. Your cockatiel is probably content and relaxed, and he might be getting ready for a nap.

In Your Face:
If your cockatiel jumps onto your chest, runs up to your face, and maybe even sticks his beak against your face, he is inviting you to join him in a cuddling session! Take advantage of the opportunity! This move is demonstrated in the video “In Your Face.”

The Head Tilt:
If your cockatiel turns his head sideways and then tilts it up or down, he may be looking at something either above or below him. Because of the positioning of a cockatiel’s eyes, this is the easiest way for them to view certain areas. If you can’t tell what your cockatiel is looking at, it’s possible that he’s staring at his own fluff floating in the air. This head motion may also be done when your cockatiel is listening intently to a sound.

Tail Wagging:
Ever petted your female cockatiel on the back or by the tail and had her “wag her tail” in response? Well, stop it, because you’re turning her on, and she might start to lay eggs!

The Happy Cockatiel Dance:
If your cockatiel gets on top of an object (or backs into an object) and starts rubbing his/her butt back and forth on it, often chirping at the same time, be polite and avert your eyes. Congratulations! Your cockatiel is masturbating hehe. Many cockatiels chirp while doing this.

Backward Head:
If your cockatiel turns his head backward, closes his eyes, and buries his beak in between his feathers, he is all ready to go to sleep. You can also expect him to stand balanced on one foot while doing this.

One Eye Closed, One Eye Opened:
Sometimes, when cuddling with your feathery friend, you might find that he has one eye closed and one eye opened. Most often, it will be the eye facing you that is closed, and the eye facing the rest of the room that is opened. Your cockatiel is relaxed and content, but still alert enough to want to keep a look out.

Puffy!:
Your cockatiel may occasionally puff out all his feathers, often accompanied by a brief dog-like shake. Your cockatiel is just fixing up his feathers. This is often done during preening. However, if your cockatiel remains puffed for long periods of time (and might also sit at the bottom of the cage), he might very well be sick, and he should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Repeated Yawning:
Often after preening, a cockatiel may yawn over and over again. It could be that he’s readjusting his crop or that he’s gotten a bit of down stuck in his throat. Either way, it’s normal. They also yawn when they are tired or after waking up from a nap.

The Head Shake:
You may occasionally see your cockatiel rapidly shaking his head for a moment. if done while eating, it could mean that the food has a surprising taste, temperature, or moisture level. If done when listening to a sound, it could mean that it’s a tad too loud or sharp or high-pitched, or just that it’s an interesting sound.

The “Roll Head Magic Trick”:
While preening, you may see your cockatiel wiping or rolling his head on his lower back, or occasionally inside his wing. If you own or owned a cockatiel, I’m sure you even saw the 180-degree head twist which looks like a trick right out of the old magic book. You’ll If you feel the lower back area, you will find that it is very powdery. A cockatiel performing the “Roll Head” is simply distributing all these oils and powders to the feathers on his head… almost like human hair conditioner.

THE FAMOUS COCKATIEL Bathroom Time Stance:
If your cockatiel stoops down low and gets slightly puffy, it could mean that he is about to go to the bathroom. Hurry and get a napkin because BOMBS AWAY! Once you recognize this famous poop stance, it will become much easier to prevent accidents on yourself, the floor and even train your cockatiel to go to the bathroom on command or in certain areas only (such as his cage or playstand only).

Bath Time Puffiness:
While taking a shower or bath, or while getting misted, a cockatiel might become extremely puffy, raise both his wings up away from his side, lean forward, and sway all around. This means that he is enjoying his bath!

Shower Time Trance:
When in the shower, your cockatiel might close his eyes and zone out for awhile, as if he is sleeping. Again, this is a sign that he is enjoying his shower.

Nose Picker:
Occasionally, your cockatiel might stick his toenail up his nose and then sneeze. What an undignified cockatiel! Nah, he’s just attempting to clear out his nasal passages. It’s perfectly normal so don’t be alarmed.

Puffy Face:
While listening to a sound, your cockatiel’s face and/or cheek patches may become slightly puffy. This is often a sign that he likes what he’s hearing, or that he is interested in the sound. Toby often gets puffy cheeks while listening to sounds that he later ends up repeating.

Strrreeeetcchhh (haha I like to emphasize the term stretch):
If your cockatiel raises both his wings above his back, usually leaving them folded, he is stretching.

Superman Ice Skater:
Your cockatiel may extend one foot and one wing behind him, often while fanning his tail. This is another way for your cockatiel to stretch.

Mating:
If you have multiple cockatiels, it is possible that you will observe mating. If you have a male and female, this could of course lead to breeding which is not appropriate for everyone. It is also possible to observe mounting if you have a same sex pair since it is far from uncommon for cockatiels to bond to one another regardless of sex. Mating will not always lead to eggs (young females, older females might have a harder time to conceive an egg and obviously a same sex male pair won’t have eggs – ever!).

Crushes:
It is quite frequent for cockatiels to develop crushes on other animals (i.e another cockatiel) or even on other people. Usually, you’ll notice that your cockatiel is acting hormonal around that person (ie protective, displaying, singing etc.). The cockatiel might even try to mate with the chosen object of desire. The male will rub his vent on the object whereas the female will lift her tail and kind of arch her head back and make faint whistling sounds. Crushes might go away or persist, it usually won’t persist if the object of desire is removed. If your cockatiel develops a crush on someone else than you, even if you are the primary care taker, don’t take it as a sign that your cockatiel doesn’t love you… he just doesn’t love you “that” way!

Flock Calling:
In the wild, most cockatiels live in large groups called a flock. In captivity, you and your family are your cockatiels flock, which is why it is important to frequently interact with your cockatiels as you are his social group. In the wild, cockatiels of a same group are not always within sight of each other so they will call to each other to keep track of each others positions. Think of it as a way to verify that all your family is safe and sound. The bird calling usually consist in a high pitched whistle repeated until the caller is satisfied that all of his flock has answered. You can answer your cockatiel by whistling back so he knows that you are there, safe and by extension so is he. If you have multiple cockatiels, they will call to each other in the morning to verify that everyone got through the night alright, they will also call to each other if they are in separated rooms. Be careful, however, as there is a difference between flock bird calling and a behavioral screaming for attention problem. A cockatiel whose flock answers will stop calling after a few whistles, faster if you answer the cockatiel | An attention screamer will just go on screaming for ever until you show up in the room and care for them.

Hissing:
Think of a cat hiss when it’s scared or unhappy, the same applies to cockatiels. If your cockatiel doesn’t want to come out of the cage, doesn’t want to be petted, doesn’t want anything to do with that new $15 toy you put in his cage chances are he’ll let you know by either hissing at you or at the object that is causing him to be scared or mad. If you have multiple cockatiels, they can also keep each other at bay by hissing at one another – this is a simple “don’t get in my personal space!” message to other birds. It’s a mean of intimidation for the cockatiels and they usually fluff up their feathers, open their wings in order to pretend to be bigger and stronger than they really are to scare the potential threat away.

Regurgitating:
This is not to be confused with vomiting which is actually a sign of illness. Regurgitating is the act where the cockatiel empties the food from his crop onto someone, another cockatiel or a toy which they are bonded with. Parents also regurgitate food into their babies crop in order to feed them. If your cockatiel regurgitate on you it is a sign that he is very much bonded to you and he’s trying to feed you. Sadly, cockatiels do not comprehend that we might not want to eat their gift.

Acting out Fear and Aggressions:
Cockatiels who have been abused in the past, either by a mate or an owner can act out fear and aggressions on their toys or new feathery friends. This rarely happens in baby cockatiels gotten from breeders or reputable stores, but if you got your cockatiel from a rescue or from someone out of the classifieds it’s possible to observe this behavior. Keep in mind that not all rescue and classified cockatiels were abused, but there’s more chances of a shady past. If you notice that your cockatiel is aggressive toward other cockatiels it will be important to cage him/her alone, it will help reduce the stress for all your cockatiels and yourself. Time, patience and love will be required to work through this and eventually your cockatiel will feel more confident and safe around you and will settle down.

Congratulations on making it to the end and you can now say you’ve completed the cockatiel bird crash course on body language and behavior, hehe. I hope you all enjoyed it and that it was able to answer any questions you may of had about your loving pet! Please comment or send me any stories or information on your cockatiel if you have anything else to add. I enjoy pictures and am always interested in story’s that are bird related.

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Select LifeStyle Series Cabana Playtop Cockatiel Cage

Canbana Playtop Bird Cage The Select LifeStyle Series Cabana Playtop Cockatiel Cage is a quality cockatiel cage loaded with features. This cockatiel cage’s unique spring loaded door latch uses a easy push button release so no more fumbling around and has a awesome bird proof lock guard for safety. Every door opens and closes with a single finger without jamming or getting caught. The cockatiel cage size inside is 18″ x 18″ x 31-1/2″ high and the outside is 28″ x 28″ x 61″ high. The bars are 3/4″ spacing which is ideal for all cockatiel cages.

The Select LifeStyle Series Cabana Playtop Cockatiel Cage also features quality all metal bars, solid welds, and a non toxic powder coated finish that cleans easily and is safe for your cockatiel. The side panels are designed intentionally to prevent food and debris from getting trapped in the little nooks… which is a huge help especially if you own a cockatiel then you know what I’m talking about. The 2 litter trays (one for the bottom and one for the playtop bottom) are chrome cabinet style pull handles. I also like the removable seed guard, two feeding doors (very easy to open and close), and rolling casters which is great when I need to move the whole cage for whatever reason it may be. Your cockatiel will love the playtop area on the cage because it holds 2 food/water dishes, has a perch and even a hanger to put their favorite toy up to play with. Mine loves to play with a hanging wicker ball toy, he’s addicted lol.

You will find the Cabana Playtop Cockatiel Cage comes with 2 stainless steel cups, 2 natural wood perches, and playtop setup with 2 more stainless steel cups.

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Booda Comfy Bird Perch For Cockatiel Cages

Booda Comfy Perch Your cockatiel will love the shapes, bright colors and feel of any model of the Booda Comfy Perch for cockatiel cages. It is 100% breeder recommended (especially cockatiels) because it provides different conditioning surfaces and levels that cockatiels need in their bird cage. All Booda cockatiel cages perches use natural stimulating colors to help relieve cockatiel cage stress, boredom and related feather picking or plucking.

Depending on which size is best suited for your cockatiel cage: you can create loops, curves and other interesting shapes making sure your cockatiel is always happy when inside his cockatiel cage. Your cockatiel will always love you because the comfy perch allows you to have fun creating different types of angles and mind stimulating fun for any age cockatiel. The Booda company makes some of the best bird supplies to this date and buying any one of their products for cockatiel cages will make your birdie very happy.

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Worlds Freshest Cockatiel Spray Millet 5 Pound Box

Bird Millet Spray When I first ordered this millet for my cockatiels, I was worried if I had made a mistake… because usually in the picture – the millet spray looks quite thin and about the size of ones that most local pet stores sell and try to overcharge you type. Well to my surprise when I opened the box of cockatiel bird food spray millet I was AMAZED! Each millet is insanely big and very long.

Lots and lots of millet seed for all my cockatiels and other birds to munch out on 2-3 times a week (all millet seed in general has a high fat content so don’t give them one everyday… trust me it will make them fat if you give them all the millet they want). These bird treats are so huge on that come off huge branches that you will want to put a portable vacuum close by to clean up the crazy amount of seed/shells that will be on your floor every around your cockatiel cage. What I am saying is it will require extra daily attention cleaning the cage.

Ingredients: Worlds freshest naturally grown spray millet. This is a golden sunshine type spray millet. Birds do know the difference. This is the most sought after spray millet for birds.

The manufacture of these millet sprays say “We have been selling the Worlds freshest spray millet for over 20 years. DO NOT BE FOOLED by others selling low grade millet for almost the same price, your birds know the difference. Our millet is the finest organic grown spray millet in the world. Hand selected and produced with your cockatiel in mind.”

I love this spray millet because is all naturally sun ripened before it is harvested. Spray millet is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as well as a perfect treat for any bird. Use millet for weaning birds as well as for training any bird because anyone who owns cockatiels knows how addicting millet can be to your bird.

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EZ Care Bow Front Clear Acrylic Panel Playtop Cockatiel Bird Cage

EZ Care Bow Front Playtop Bird Cage A lot can be told about a cockatiel by his home. In fact, the way our birds are housed has a tremendous impact on their susceptibility to disease, behavior problems, and breeding capabilities. To keep them safe, secure, and healthy, cockatiels need a cage that is big on space, cleanliness, and intelligent design. I now give to you all, the EZ Care Bow Clear Acrylic Front Panel Series Cockatiel Bird Cage!

Highlights:
1. Pet cockatiel bird cage with acrylic front panel for seamless viewing – for you and your cockatiel
2. Bird cage with LARGE access door – entire front panel of this cockatiel cage swings open
3. Includes 5 ceramic cups with spill-proof holders and 2 natural wood perches.

This cockatiel cage with acrylic front panel gives you and your bird crystal-clear viewing all around.
Features a bowed design that gives cockatiels more room and acrylic panel swings open entirely for easy cleaning access. Steel bird cage with solid welds and textured gray powder-coat finish. Cage also comes equipped with pull-out grill, pull-out tray, seed guard, locking casters, and large playtop with several toy hooks. Comes in different bar spacing depending on the size. The sizes are listed as 1/2″ For Mini and Small, 3/4″ For Medium, 1″ For Large Models.

The sizes of each cage are as follows:
Mini – 18″ x 18″ x 41″
Small – 25″ x 25″ x 70-1/4″
Medium – 32″ x 32″ x 80″
Large – 41-1/2″ x 40-1/2″ x 90″

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Cockatiel Hypnosis

Hypnosis and Birds That’s right… I said ‘Cockatiel Hypnosis’!

I’m a HUGE believer in NLP, which is a form of self hypnosis used to help people quit smoking, achieve more success, get a better job, do better in athletics etc…

So, to help you understand how I’ve been recently using hypnosis to instantly change the mood of my Cockatiel, Magoo, here’s a brief glimpse into how my brain worked up this crazy theory…

How Self Hypnosis Could Work In Cockatiel, Parrots and Any Type Of Bird

First, let me say that Hypnosis is VERY real!

I first saw a hypnotist act while I was still going to high school in Spokane, Washington. And my brother, who’s now a professional magician, was a fanatic at making sure we went to see every new entertainment act he could so me, his reluctant brother went to see this hypnotist in action.

And WOW, did he make a BELIEVER out of me!

The hypnotist took volunteers from the audience, put them into a trance, and literally programmed these people to do weird and funny behaviors whenever the hypnotist would say a certain word.

He programmed one guy, who was the toughest looking, over-weight trucker in the audience, to stand up and scream at the top of his lungs.. “I LOVE wearing women’s underwear!” every time the hypnotist said the guy’s name.

It was HILARIOUS

But, hypnosis is more than just a funny side show that makes you laugh; it can also be a powerful tool for self improvement. One type of self hypnosis, that has become VERY respected for the results its achieving, is NLP.

NLP, otherwise known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, trains you to take something that you’re really
scared of, like spiders, and replace that ‘scared’ feeling with a feeling of extreme calmness or peace.
Then, it shows you how to trigger that feeling of peace every time you think of spiders, until you no
longer feel afraid.

So, as I was reading up on this NLP, I got to thinking: I wonder if this would work on all birds also?

Could it be possible to replace the feelings of aggression in my birds, with the feelings of joy or happiness by ‘hypnotizing’ him?

I know it sounds like a long shot, but I think it actually works!

Here’s how I tested it on my Cockatiel. As you know, I recently released a course that teaches Parrots how to talk on cue, which is now available. As I was producing that course, I realized that our Cockatiel was VERY willing to step up and be pet while he was in the act of singing or talking. Something about how he felt while talking made him a LOT happier.

This allowed me to know exactly when my bird was in a GREAT mood which was when he whistled his happy song I call it but I’ve yet to figure out where he got it from. So if my cockatiel feels happy while singing or saying a certain word, would making him say that word also put him in a better mood?

Could these two actions be connected?

For my bird, they WERE!

I can now simply start to mimic his favorite whistle when he’s in a bad mood and refusing to behave, and WHAALAA his bad mood vanishes instantly! It’s truly amazing and makes you relieze how smart your cockatiels are!

It’s like I’m the pied piper taking control with my flute, excuse me – I mean whistle lol.

I think it’s using the same hypnosis principals. It’s taking a feeling of happiness and pairing it with an action, in this case, singing Winnie The Pooh. The bird is then trained to not just sing the song when he’s happy, but actually be HAPPY while singing the song. I can then sing the song myself, and this seems to trigger my bird to actually feel happy.

Sure sounds like hypnosis to me.

Or at the very least – a cue to be happy. I know this theory sounds like it’s an episode on some late night Sci-Fi channel, but I think it’s worth exploring. I’d love to hear back from you if you’ve had similar experiences with your birds.

So, Until Next Time, Happy Training From Cockatiel Cages!

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