Cockatiel Behaviour

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Know Your Cockatiel Articles















Cockatiel behaviour will be different from each bird to another. However, based on my experience with my pet cockatiel and my breeder pair, I found that there are similar behaviour of cockatiel that we can differentiate from other pet birds or we might able to guest what the cockatiel are thinking or doing by studying their behaviour. 

I prepared this topic, because recently I buy some other parrot, i.e. Ducorp’s Cockatoo and a pair of Eclectus parrot. Then, when I try to look for imformation about their behaviour, it is very difficult to find. Therefore, it come to my mind that maybe some of the pet cockatiel owner out there who just have obtain their first cockatiel or who is just looking for a cockatiel as pet need this information. I believe that cockatiel behaviour information is easier to look for compared to other type of parrot, therefore this article is dedicated to all visitor who kind enough to visit to check out the information.


General behaviour of cockatiel.

Cockatiel is a birds species that live in community in the wild. They like to social and this will help them survive i.e. warn them if any danger approach, finding their mate etc. Therefore, pet cockatiel will also like to have friends (it can be us, human or other cockatiel or other birds). Cockatiel is very gentle and they are not harmful towards other smaller species. Therefore, if you have big avairy and spacious place, you may want to mixed cockatiel with other sofbill to make your garden look more beautiful and lifely. 

Some cockatiel like to take bath, and they will bath with water. Please do not lough at this, there were some other species like chicken and quail species which will bath with sand (sandbath). This is to make sure their plumage is in good condition and they feel fresh. When they bath, they will open their wings and their tails feathers. Sometimes they will hang upside down from the pearch. I always notice this behaviour when I spray water to my tame pet cockatiel. Then after their plumage is wet, they will preen their feather, if it is a pair, they will sometimes “ask” her mate to preen her. This is by moving nearer to the other cockatiel and she will lower her head towards or near the beak of her mate. 

Since cockatiel is very social, they will use lots of their voice to communicate. They have many type of voice, and each of them will have different meanings, you  can check out my finding about the cockatiel voice in cockatiel voice page. The most common time that you will hear cockatiel make some noice is early morning and in evening (near dawn).  In the wild, (this is just my believed from my observation of wild mynah and starling species in Malaysia) birds that will sleep together will make lots of noice to communicate among them. It is the time that they are very busy looking for the best perch in a tree and actually they seem very happy at this time. Our pet cockatiel also will inherite this, they will make noice at this time and for my cockatiel, they will start to hungry …and will eat before they go to bed.  However, please note that I didn’t keep my pet cockatiel alone, I keep them in pair and for younger one or the tame one I will keep them in group, but the cage is near to the whole flock also.

 Regarding cockatiel voice, in a group it can be noisy as each birds contribute some to it… in my case, it can be heard from about few hundred meters away. Last time I think that it is very noisy, but then, after I had some big parrot, I realise that it is still acceptable.

 Cockatiel will bite if we catch them (except tame cockatiel). However, they will never try to bite us if they have a chanve to ‘run’, cockatiel’s bite is harder than budgie and our hand may bleed. Therefore it is advise not to catch a wild cockatiel.

I found that my cockatiel is not destructive, they will and do try to trim their beak, but it is not so descructive towards the perch. Therefore, it is not necessary to change the perch too often. However, we have to always clean the perch for them once in a while to prevent any disease.

 My cockatiel normally will be very active in the morning and late afternoon.  They will try to sing, answer each other and challenge each other if the cage is near. However, after a while they will calm down, normally after they have their food. I guest this is because they need more energy to digest the seed (the food) that they have taken. During this particulat time, they will preen their plumage and if they are in pair or in the group, they sometime will preen each other.

 In the noon, I found that normally my cockatiel will try to relax, they didn’t moved much, may be because of the hot wheather, however, sometime they do have some chatting among themselves. The birds sometimes will have a short nap during the day. This is not a long nap, if you birds seem to be sleepy all the time, he may have problem.

 In the late afternoon, the birds will be lifely again and lots of calling (very noisy) from them. During this time, they will start to eat again which I believed it is for their supper.


Cockatiel Books and Video Tapes from Avian Publications

The Complete Pet Bird Owner's Handbook (Revised Edition) by Dr. Gary A. Gallerstein

Avian Medicine: Principles and Application (Abridged Edition) by Dr. Branson Ritchie, Dr. Greg Harrison, Linda Harrison & Dr. Donald W. Zantop


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November 2003