Cockatiels often use their wings to fly, exercise, stretch and communicate emotions. If you own a cockatiel and spend enough time around them, you may start to notice how your cockatiel flaps its wings. So naturally, you begin to wonder and think about why does my cockatiel flap its wings?
Why Does My Cockatiel Flap Its Wings? Your cockatiel often flaps its wings due to frustration, discomfort, boredom, or aggression. Flapping wings has practical benefits, such as gaining attention, getting exercise, and cooling off. Also, It can be a sign of warning or be a way of expressing feelings such as excitement. However, if your cockatiel is flapping its wings repeatedly, it could be its way of communicating with you or its cage mates.
You can always assess the context of wing flapping to determine if your cockatiel is bored, happy, annoyed, or exercising. As well as flapping their wings, cockatiels show a range of other contextual body language and behavior.
Why Do Cockatiels Flap Their Wings?
Cockatiels flap their wings for the following reasons:
- Cooling off
- Improving circulation
- Warning off other cockatiels.
- Communicating excitement or displeasure.
- Night frights or nightmares.
A wing’s twitch, definite and repeated flapping, or a single aggressive flap with tail movement can all mean something entirely different. Learning to decipher the meanings requires the consideration of its whole body.
Beware if your cockatiel is holding its wings out from its body, puffing up its feathers, and screeching or hissing. This may be an aggressive display that says “back off”!
By contrast, holding the wings away from the body and flapping once or twice in a relaxed way is fine as it’s an attempt to cool off on hot days.
Cockatiels Flapping Their Wings At Night
If your cockatiels are flapping their wings through the night, it could be a sign of agitation and frustration. But, the most likely reason for this is that something is preventing cockatiels from sleeping.
If its cage is uncovered, you need to cover it to make sure that your cockatiel has the most restful night possible. If, however, its cage is already covered, you should use a heavier blanket.
Alternatively, you should check for other disruptions. Also, you could move its cage to a room at the back of the house if there is a nearby busy road as the traffic noise may be disrupting its sleep.
Likewise, you can also try to put them in a darker or warmer room at night. Experiment with environments until your cockatiel sleeps through the night with few or no interruptions.
Cockatiels Flapping Their Wings But Not Flying
When we think of a cockatiel flapping its wings, most believe that cockatiels take off or fly.
While flying is the main reason a cockatiel might flap its wings, it is not the only one. Your cockatiel might flap its wings without exercise for flying.
Cockatiels are intelligent, need enrichment, and enjoy routine. If your cockatiel flaps its wings repeatedly at the same time most days, then it may have established a way and is stretching its wings.
Flapping wings like this could expend some energy and get its blood circulating. This is the same thing as people stretching their arms or back first in the morning.
This could also be a sign that your cockatiel needs more exercise. While cockatiels are small parrots, they still require space to move, play, and exert themselves.
However, if the cage you provide is too small or lacks proper enrichment, your cockatiel may start to get stressed and frustrated.
Cockatiels Flapping Their Wings At Each Other
Cockatiels socializing in a relaxed, usual manner will sit close together, chatter, bob, and sing. Also, cockatiels may preen or groom each other or regurgitate seeds into each other’s mouths. These interactions are relaxed, calm, gentle, and cockatiels should not feature too much wing movement.
Irritation, agitation, or open aggression are the most common causes of wing twitching or flapping. Telling the difference between a minor dispute and a disagreement about turning into a fight is a matter of reading your cockatiel’s body language. You also need to understand what the vocalizations mean.
One of the most common cockatiels aggressive behaviors( not to include actual fighting) are:
- Defending a perch
- Guarding food and water
If you notice one of these behaviors, you should take action to make your cockatiel more comfortable. Fundamental problems in their living environment cause most aggressive actions and conflicts.
This could be due to the following:
- Insufficient toys.
- Its cage may be too small for the number of cockatiels living in it.
- Poor sleeping and eating routine.
- Natural stressors like molting or sickness.
Cockatiels are highly social birds, and they benefit significantly from the company of others when kept in a domestic setting.
This does not mean that your cockatiel will always get along. Cockatiels can have huge personalities and sometimes clash with other birds, especially the new ones.
Getting to know other cockatiels can be fraught with more than one big personality in the cage.
Cockatiels Flapping Their Wings And Screaming
If your cockatiel is flapping its wings, hissing, screeching, or harassing each other, there is likely an environmental issue. It will help if you start by improving any noticeable deficiencies in its cage, providing more food of a greater variety, and changing up toys.
The minimum size of a cage for a single cockatiel is 24x18x24 inches in size. However, that is only true if your cockatiel is allowed to exercise regularly outside of its cage. You need to get a cage twice this size for more than one cockatiel or a cockatiel that cannot get out to fly.
If this still doesn’t work, then you may need to separate the bickering cockatiels until you figure out what’s causing the tension and aggression. For example, it is possible that one or more of your cockatiels may be molting. Alternatively, one of your cockatiels may be sick or in pain.
If there is no apparent cause, it might be best to contact a vet and have them assess your cockatiel for injuries or sickness. Health and comfort is the best way to avoid aggression in cockatiels.