Cockatiels make various weird noises, and each noise has a different meaning. Some sound ominous, while others are lovely and cheerful. You can better understand and communicate with your cockatiel by understanding its sounds. In this article, we will detail talk about all 13 common cockatiel sounds and their meanings.
When cockatiels feel happy, they make bright and sweet noises like chirping, whistling, songs, talking, beak grinding, muttering, and mimicking sounds. On the other hand, unhappy cockatiel noises are louder and, in extreme cases, repetitive. These include hissing, screaming, squawking, chirping, and contact calls.
Some owners think that their cockatiels are too noisy, but a loud and talkative cockatiel is a happy cockatiel. If your cockatiel is constantly making small noises, the chances are that it is feeling contented. Also, cockatiels are not nearly as loud as other parrot species because they are only small birds.
What Do Cockatiel Sounds Mean?
While it may seem like random chatter to us, cockatiels make different sounds to communicate with each other, express their emotions, and warn members of their flock of danger.
Also, cockatiels are naturally chatty birds, so you should expect one to make different sounds constantly. Silence or a sudden reduction in noise usually means your cockatiel is upset, scared, or sick.
It’s normal for every owner to want to understand all cockatiel sounds meanings. Therefore, we will explain all 13 common cockatiel sounds and their meanings in the following.
Whistles are the most common sound that cockatiels make. Most cockatiels learn to whistle independently, while others need to be taught. When cockatiels know how to do it, they will whistle when they are content and happy.
You will often find cockatiels whistling when they hear fun and exciting tunes. Likewise, cockatiels will often whistle to entertain themselves or fill time when they feel bored. If you find your cockatiel whistling, try whistling with them. Cockatiels love nothing more than their owners joining them in a song they enjoy.
2. Beak grinding
Beak grinding is a noise that cockatiels make when they rub their beaks together. Despite its rough sound, this is a positive noise to hear from your cockatiel. If your cockatiel grinds its beak, it means that it is content, happy, and relaxed.
You are likely to hear a beak grinding before a cockatiel sleeps. It is a self-soothing behavior used to wind down for the night. A happy cockatiel will grind its beak as a way to fall asleep.
Unfortunately, beak grinding can be an irritating sound for owners. If this sound bothers you, you need to cover your cockatiel’s cage an hour before bedtime.
Happy and healthy cockatiels will usually make soft chatter. This constant chattering may alarm some new owners, but it is normal behavior.
Cockatiels chat when they are happy. Cockatiels will chatter to other cockatiels, to you, or to themselves. For example, a happy cockatiel will chatter on a perch with feathers slightly puffed up.
Every song can be complex, with different pitches, tones, and notes. However, singing is easy to distinguish from other sounds, as it goes on for longer and is more complicated.
You will often hear cockatiels singing if they hear something they enjoy. This can be another singing cockatiel, music from the radio, or your talking voice.
If you hear your cockatiel singing, consider if anything is prompting it. Maybe it is hearing music it likes, or you are whistling to it. Then, get your cockatiel to sing more. This is a great way to put your cockatiel in a good mood and bond with your pet.
An extended and drawn-out chirp is referred to as a trill. Occasionally, a few notes will be thrown in the middle. A trill would be deemed a song if it was any longer.
Likewise, trills are an upbeat version of chattering, and in that way, cockatiels show happiness. When a cockatiel is excited about playing, listening to music, or eating, you will often hear trills.
Warbling is a type of song. It is like singing but with different sounds mixed in. These sounds can be anything from a few off-key notes to noises and persons.
Males wooing a female are most likely to emit warbles. However, warble can stimulate the production of eggs in female cockatiels.
Other than to woo a mate, warbles are used to socialize with other cockatiels. Unlike most songs, warbling is not loud. However, warbling, like singing, symbolizes joy and happiness.
Soft, monosyllabic, and repeated noises make up muttering. It may sound like a warble, but it is quieter but less pronounced.
Muttering often happens when a cockatiel is relaxed or very sleepy. For example, consider a drowsy child who wants to stay up all night to keep chatting but is too tired.
Muttering is not a sign of joy like singing, but it means that your cockatiel is relaxed, happy, and contented. If left undisturbed, you will soon have a sleeping cockatiel.
Cockatiels can mimic the sounds around them, including their owner’s voices. Therefore, cockatiels consider human speech to be modified cockatiel noises.
Talking in a joyous noise to hear from cockatiels because it means that a cockatiel’s happy and healthy. A cockatiel is contented enough to learn about the world and pay attention to what you say.
Not all cockatiels will talk, and some will talk more than others. Certain cockatiels are just more shy and quiet and won’t ever learn. Also, male cockatiels talk more often and readily than female cockatiels. If your cockatiel doesn’t talk, this doesn’t mean there is something wrong with it.
Cockatiels may mimic the sound or beep of a coffee machine, microwave oven, doorbell, or cough. MImickery signals that your cockatiel is feeling upbeat. Many cockatiels prefer to mimick different sounds than talk, especially if they are not trained early.
10. Contact calls
Wild cockatiels live in large flocks of up to 100 birds.
A cockatiel’s flock can be spread out, making it hard to find each other. That is why cockatiels have evolved to form contact calls, which are sounds used to figure out where their friends are. Even when a cockatiel doesn’t live in the wild anymore, it maintains these instincts. For example, a captive cockatiel will put out contact calls for other cockatiels in its colony, a sound that usually resembles a sharp eep!!
If you find your cockatiel making a sound every time you leave the room, it is likely a contact call. This call can be frequent and shrill, but it shows that it is interested in your welfare.
Contact calls are natural and are not a cause for concern. However, if they occur often, consider whether your cockatiel is lonely. If it is the only cockatiel in its cage, get it a friend or spend more time with it.
Short squawks are harsh, sudden, and loud. Cockatiels will catch your attention, and that is for a good reason. Squawks are a cockatiel’s primary way of demanding something, usually food.
Squawks can happen if a cockatiel is surprised by something. For example, maybe it heard a loud noise, or something was toppled over. At worst, your cockatiel may fear that it is in danger.
Chirping is a warning sound that cockatiels make. This tells other cockatiels to stay away or back up.
It is a cockatiel’s primary way of de-escalating a situation so it doesn’t turn into a flight. It is also a cockatiel’s way of establishing boundaries and personal space.
If you have more than one cockatiel, you might hear this noise. It comes in the form of a sharp tsk!. This often results in the other cockatiel backing away, but it can escalate. If you hear this sound from your cockatiel, monitor the situation closely because you may need to separate your cockatiel.
This noise can be directed at their owners. For example, cockatiels use this noise to let you know they are being mishandled or want to be left alone for a while.
Screams can be harsh and loud noises, easily distinguishable from happy chirps.
Sometimes, screams don’t mean anything, and it is just your cockatiel being noisy. But, usually, screaming is a way for cockatiels to let you know that they feel uncomfortable or afraid.
It’s typically simple to figure out the reason why it is screaming. Sometimes, it can be because your cockatiel’s in pain or scared. Perhaps it got its leg trapped, or it’s fighting with another cockatiel. However, it may appear that your cockatiel is screaming for no reason. If the screams are short and only happen occasionally, there is nothing to worry about.
But, if your cockatiel constantly screams for long periods and its body language is distressed, check for any symptoms of sickness, such as the following:
- Rapid breathing
- Shallow breathing
- Rapidly flapping wings
- Arched back
Cockatiel noises have different meanings, from happiness to extreme stress. So, pay close attention to how your cockatiel expresses itself and respond in kind, if necessary.