Cockatiels – The bird that acts like a dog/cat

Birds Human Classroom

The Cockatiel is one of the most expressive and affectionate domestic birds you can find, although it is a very demanding parrot species in a small but practical and comfortable size to have at home. If you give them the necessary care and time these beautiful birds can become one of the best companions but you must know your Cockatiel as well as possible so that you can understand all their needs and reactions. As they often use their crest to express certain emotions this can help you in the first instance if you are a pet owner with little or no experience. They can become a very complete pet as long as you have the ability and willingness to spend the time that a Cockatiel needs. The Cockatiel lifespan has an average between 12 to 18 years so you are up to quite a long task. It’s up to you how it turns out in the end.


Being one of the breeds of parrot that occupy family homes, used as a bird or domestic pet, very expressive facially as vocals, and they are even compared with dogs and cats as companions. Learn to treat them to gain their trust or you will most likely have a bad experience with your feathered friend or it will be an untrustworthy relationship on the part of your Cockatiel since in addition to being very attached, communication with you is something of great importance to this bird. Being part of the parrot breed, these birds will require time and attention, especially attention, both for long absences, and when hungry they tend to express their frustration by being very loud, this being the most annoying, tedious, or detested aspect of these birds.

Cockatiels are very curious birds, if possible, let them look out the window and see how they entertain themselves by moving the crest every time something catches their attention. They will not be a guard dog, but if they can become just as outrageous. They can learn certain words and every time they can they will try to be part of the story or what is being talked about in the family or they will just try to imitate the sound that the other members of their new family make when communicating with each other even if they do not understand anything of what they are saying. Female Cockatiel does not sing or speak unlike the male Cockatiel, which is common in other bird species as well, but if they want to they will find some way to express themselves.

As they are very vocal pets, they will naturally respond to almost anything that happens in their environment. This is something you will get used to as a cockatiel owner.

You will “learn” his language and ideally respond to whatever he may say, whether it is when he wants to seek attention or some kind of information by making a sound that seems to ask a question, as well as a sound of more amazement when something happens that draws his attention either out of curiosity or something that might scare him. Wolf whistles to the girls, at an early age, being one of the first sounds they often make as it is something that assures them and will provide the attention they want and expect. 


Cockatiels are an easy pet to tame but you should know how to handle and how your behavior should be in front of these curious and observant animals. If you are a person who makes a lot of involuntary, sudden, or unexpected movements your Cockatiel may be afraid, watching you carefully and most likely may not like to be so close to you or seek to be on your shoulder or your hand/finger. You should seek to adopt a Cockatiel that has already been trained (finger-tamed) to be close to you, that has learned to associate that being close to a person or his owner is a good thing, that he can trust you and that his handling is more bearable with everything else. These specific birds or Cockatiels were hand-fed at an early age and are therefore used to such close contact with a person, just remember and keep in mind always to maintain certain behaviors or gestures when you are around your beautiful feathered partner. 

To teach him a song or a word, try to make it a time when your Cockatiel is with you, as this will help both you as the owner and your little big pet bird to make the most of your time together. This is because your Cockatiel will be extremely attentive and curious of everything you do, so devote yourself to repeat something as many times as necessary for your bird to learn or relate, since it is something that he will do better at such times because in itself your Cockatiel will seek to imitate the movements you make with your mouth moving the beak or his tongue in certain ways. She will be more than happy for all the attention you will be giving her, something she will always appreciate and that will bring you closer together making the bond between the two of you better. Remember also to maintain a positive reinforcement of these moments both verbally and with rewards or snacks, if you never use violence or any kind of abuse however slight it may seem you will get along better with your bird and any other pets you may have.

Even if it is not on you or close to you, you must learn to distinguish each one of its gestures and sounds, this way you will know how to act in certain situations or when you must do it as soon as possible since it can get upset in moments where there is no real reason to be and it can get very noisy, as I said before, a Cockatiel’s scream is one of the worst aspects of this pet bird. They may have a very beautiful voice to sing but when the fun and games end, it can be a real disaster. Adding another quality similar to other popular pets like dogs or cats, Cockactiels also molt, only they have feathers instead of hairs. There are certain breeds of parrots that can hurt themselves or pluck their feathers when they get depressed or have similar problems. In the case of the Cockatiels, from time to time you will get at the bottom of your bird cage that there are more feathers than usual, but this is a normal “behavior” because it is leaving old feathers and new ones are coming out. This molt of feather occurs throughout his body, where the new feathers have another type of appearance, besides being smaller than normal are very open resembling thorns. So don’t be scared if you see this as long as it is not due to some disease.


When it comes to choosing the best bird cage for your cockatiel, you have to take a lot of things into consideration to prevent your new bird from having any problems and to ensure the best quality of life possible. Cockatiels require a longer sleep than the average person during the night, requiring about 12 hours so it is very important the location of your birds cage for these and other moments that could come to harm your feathered companion although you have good intentions and consider it a good option for him. Following the idea of sleep hours, the idea of acquiring a Cockatiel’s cage is to provide your new pet a place that is safe, secure, and comfortable, being a bird that is scared or can be altered very easily it is best to cover the cage, this not only prevents any sound (unless it is something really strong) or movement comes to alter it, so you can also control their time in the light, as the races of birds are usually handled with exposure to light. This way you can ensure that it has the necessary hours to rest and most safely, you can provide.

Now, looking for a good place to put your Cockatiel cage. Previously I mentioned that being in a window entertains themselves with everything that moves or hears from the outside world, but for this same reason it could end up being an experience much more than frightening and harmful to your pet bird since it would be more easily disturbed by being close to where noises come from that do not depend on you as well as objects, people and other animals that can come to frighten and create bad memories and unwanted experiences in your feathered partner. In addition to this, being near a window is exposed to direct contact with sunlight, although it is something they require and need as another pet, an excess will cause damage in addition to bothering your bird, being also prone to that the currents of fresh air can cause certain diseases and alter the temperature of the environment where it is, as well as any chemical or component that may be in the air as the smoke that can affect it.

Also, a place inside the house should be located where it is not exposed to many changes of temperature as in the kitchen where it is also prone to moisture and odors of the same, the bathroom is a very similar place where chemicals are used that can also be harmful to your Cockatiel. If the cage becomes too small will make it prone to boredom, take abnormal attitudes becoming alarming and disrupting their daily lives. Think about how you would feel if you were left in a small room for long periods with nothing to do. Clearly, no one would like such a thing and you should purchase a cage that suits your bird and your home as best as possible, but you should also not buy a cage that will affect your living conditions with other family members. In addition to this, you should consider the place where you would let your Cockatiel free inside your home, since it should be a place that does not have any object that is hazardous to your bird, such as an object that could be a danger to your bird (something that could break), not to mention the possible disaster it could make.

Something you should keep in mind is that not only will they leave feathers on the floor of the house and the cage, but Cockatiels are a very dusty bird, this “dust” in between its feathers, which is normal in birds because it is something they produce themselves for the care of their plumage, but this can be “harmful” to you or a family member if they become allergic to birds. The best thing to do in these cases is to avoid acquiring this breed for this very reason, it is better for everyone to stay as healthy as possible and to get along well. It is important that you keep a good, rigorous and frequent cleaning of the cage of your Cockatiel and that this can ensure to keep an eye on your pet bird in case of any change in behavior that may indicate that you suffer from any disease, to see any change in their stools, any possible bloodstain, if you are leaving food or water runs out faster than normal, and so on. The same is true for his behavior when he starts walking around (pacing) it is an indication that something is wrong with your Cockatiel. Of course, it doesn’t apply all the time, you might as well take this kind of attitude for some emotion as rejoicing when you return home is this the way to drain so much emotion.

This kind of thing is something that an avian vet or breeder can help you with, so I advise you to keep in touch with this kind of people both before acquiring a Cockatiel as a pet and during the time you spend with them, especially if you are someone with little experience, as you will not always know what to do and will require professional help. It is also important that you take your Cockatiel for a periodic medical check-up, as this is something we all need to do every year so that there are no problems. This way you can have another perspective about the state of your beautiful exotic pet and know if the handling you are giving it is the right and most recommended to provide the best quality of life possible.

Not everything has to be careful or a boring subject in terms of having it in the cage or loose in the house. Of course, having it out of the cage more than once a day would be ideal to avoid creating a monotony in their day to day which would make your bird prone to boredom, start with the pacing, etc.. In addition to this, you can help and support you with toys and other accessories from any pet store to keep your bird entertained when you can not provide time to share with her as well as when you can do so and both can spend a good and relaxing time together. I would recommend not only providing a variety of toys but also alternating them every 2-4 days so that your bird doesn’t get bored with them and have problems in the future. This is something you should be careful about because you should not be confident just because you meet certain requirements as stipulated in this article or any other source or literature and think you don’t have to do anything else, it is not only about obtaining and providing the best and most suitable equipment for your Cockatiel, it is about knowing how to use and manage it for the benefit of all.

If you have any other questions regarding the handling of your pet bird and its cage I invite you to review our post on that subject to learn more about it.


Food is one of the most important aspects for any living being, being pets they do not have to be treated differently from you humans, we also require a good water supply. In the case of birds you usually have several options to feed them, but I would recommend you to use as a main dish or concentrated food (pelleted diet) since they bring everything you need and the best for your Cockatiel. Seeds do not usually provide a good amount of nutrients and other microelements that your pet needs in its Cockatiel diet so this type of bird food would be better used as a snack in conjunction with some fresh food like some fruits, which you can use as a reward when training your Cockatiel or when doing something you want it to do and help you with positive reinforcement ensuring a good and better relationship with your little pet bird. As for the amount of food you should give him, this will depend on the type of Cockatiel food you get him and as I mentioned before, if you are inexperienced you can easily ask a professional to recommend the best food to give him that is on the market and in case you can’t afford such food he will be able to give you other alternatives. The best thing is that if you do have a budget that forces you to make sacrifices from time to time to keep your pet, it is best not to get one for the sake of both. Your intentions may be very good but just as their health matters to you, a bird owner, whether you are a novice or not, should still take care of yourself since your pet’s future will depend on you. 

I hope you liked this guide if you plan to acquire this beautiful small bird as a companion, but always remember to take into consideration their requirements, are conditions that must be met and do the best possible way to avoid problems between all, because if it is not a happy bird a good part of your neighborhood will know after so much noise coming from your pet Cockatiel. 

If you think I missed something to mention, let me know below in the comments section.

Professor Whiskers
Latest posts by Professor Whiskers (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *