Cockatiels are expressive birds that sing, dance, hang upside down, grind beaks, nuzzle, etc. So it can be hard to make a difference in regular activity from a cockatiel’s mating behavior. But, what are the signs of mating cockatiels?
What Are The Signs Of Mating Cockatiels? When cockatiels prepare to mate, they will regularly call each other, preen their feathers, and touch beaks. The two cockatiels will bond through regurgitation, mimicking each other’s sounds, dancing, flying and sitting together, and sharing sweet-sounding songs.
A pair that regurgitates food for each other is very well-bonded and ready to mate. Therefore, if you hear a consistent mating call that is only for the cockatiel’s partner, you can expect breeding to follow. Cockatiels display these mating signs for their bonded partners once they have reached sexual maturity.
Cockatiel Mating Habits
These mating signs in cockatiels will alert you that breeding will start:
The female cockatiel will choose a male who can imitate her vocalizations. The male cockatiel that mimics her call most accurately will win her affection.
This is why cockatiels are skilled at picking up human words and sounds. It is an innate talent that allows cockatiels to connect, bond, and impress future companions. This can apply to mating or friendship. Listen out for imitating calls between cockatiels. It is usually a sign that a male is courting a female, especially when the breeding season is approaching.
Building a nest
Some cockatiels create nests using other materials, while others don’t. Wild cockatiels, for instance, need holes in trees, cliffs, and other places to build their nests. They don’t use nesting materials because they lay their eggs in the cavity.
As pets, some female cockatiels may continue this behavior and only lay eggs in a nesting box, while others will lay and brood eggs on the floor of their cage.
If you notice a female cockatiel preparing an area, clearing away debris and feathers, or looking for hiding places, she is likely readying a nesting place.
Some female cockatiels nest like other birds do, by gathering things to make a soft, warm place for their eggs. Females may be seen bringing fabric, toys, or shavings from wood perches to one location. Females will chew up any paper they may find as nesting material.
Cockatiel Mating Behavior
If two cockatiels have paired up and are in condition, they will prepare to breed. Cockatiels flirt, which strengthens their bond before mating.
The signs cockatiels are ready to mating include:
- Touching beaks
- Preening and grooming
- Nibbling on each other
- Regurgitating food
- Constantly calling each other
- Males display feathers
Typical behavior in male cockatiels is regurgitating food for females, similar to how cockatiels feed their chicks. This is due to the male providing sufficient nourishment for the female to lay her eggs.
Regurgitating occurs in the courting phase. Here, the male is proving that he is a reliable provider. Males and females take turns brooding the eggs. So, the male will eventually need to feed the mother cockatiel as she nests. Regurgitating now is a test to see if he can adequately care for her.
How Do Cockatiels Mate?
There are two main stages of how do cockatiels mate:
Cockatiels form complex bonds with their partners, which can last a lifetime. This connection is created through bonding and courting behavior, such as:
- Shared feeding
- Flying together
- Imitating each other
Even if cockatiels don’t intend to mate, they may form these special bonds with each other. This is considered a friendship, much like the bond that cockatiels share with their owners.
Seeing cockatiels engage in this bonding activity can mean they will get along well in the future. Also, it can mean that they will begin courting when mating season arrives.
2. Going into condition
When the environment is right, cockatiels will enter breeding conditions. Many refer to this as going into condition or being in condition.
Being in condition means that a cockatiel is ready to breed. Cockatiels don’t need a mate to go into conditions. When the environment is right, they will naturally go in and out of condition, which may only affect their mood. If a cockatiel has a mate and is in condition, females can lay fertile eggs after breeding.
Cockatiels can still breed when they are not in condition. But on the other hand, the female may not lay eggs or deposit infertile eggs.
How Many Days Do Cockatiels Mate?
Cockatiels can mate as long as both cockatiels are in condition. According to the Journal of Birdlife Australia, wild cockatiels mate based on location and the weather. Specifically, there must be abundant rainfall.
Rain is intimately related to a bountiful food source soon. So it is the best time to rear chicks, as there is less likely to be a food shortage.
Cockatiel’s food, water, and shelter needs are carefully controlled in captivity. Therefore, most captive cockatiels are capable of mating year-round.
As long as their basic needs are met and their environment is deemed safe, a male and female cockatiel can go into condition and breed.
How Many Times Do Cockatiels Mate?
Cockatiels can mate several times a day, as long as both cockatiels are in their breeding condition. Environmental factors, like temperature and humidity, will affect how regularly two cockatiels mate.
Cockatiels mating age
Male and female cockatiels can start breeding from 6 months old. However, it is unsafe for them to do so until they are ten months old. If cockatiels mate when they are too young, they will experience physical and mental stress. Also, raising chicks will be far more complex.
Younger females are at a higher risk of:
- Laying underdeveloped eggs
- Abandoning fertilized eggs
- Breaking their eggs
Also, female cockatiels can continue breeding for up to 4 years after reaching maturity, while males can continue for up to 6 years after reaching adulthood. However, it would help to avoid breeding cockatiels older than four years.
Cockatiel mating call
A cockatiel’s mating call consists of short chirrups, usually 1-2 syllables long. It is characterized by repetitive, constant, and persistent noises. Unlike cockatiel’s usual calls, a mating call will lack variety.
However, the sound of the call will differ between cockatiels, and males usually have a lower octave than females. Mated pairs, according to animal behavior, recognize each other’s sounds.
Cockatiel mating dance
A pair is often building up to mating if they start dancing to each other, but the male usually does this. He will jump from perch to perch while chirping and bobbing his head up and down.
The male will ultimately make his way to the female’s perch and tap his beak on hers. When the female accepts his advances, she will arch her back and raise her tail.
Will Cockatiels Breed Without A Nesting Box?
Cockatiels don’t need a nesting box to mate. As mentioned, cockatiels are cavity nesters and will make do with whatever conditions they find themselves in. Although a nesting box is preferred, and some cockatiels are more likely to reproduce with one, it is not mandatory. Without one, a female cockatiel will search for a place to lay her eggs.
A cockatiel may lay eggs in cage corners, food bowls, wide perches/platforms, and bigger toys. Then, she will line them with material from around the cage.
Why Won’t My Cockatiels Breed?
Many things can go wrong when encouraging your cockatiels to breed. Here are why won’t your cockatiels breed:
1. Not bonded
If two cockatiels have not known each other for long, the chances are that they have not bonded yet. Cockatiels won’t mate until they have formed a strong connection. A bond won’t occur until the cockatiels are familiar with each other and are accustomed to living in the same space.
Give your cockatiels time to warm up to each other’s presence. Unfortunately, some cockatiels never get along. If you notice any fighting, immediately separate them, especially if blood is drawn.
2. Two females or males
Sometimes two cockatiels won’t behave like a mating pair. Are you cockatiels the wrong sex? Sexing cockatiels can be difficult. Depending on each cockatiel’s mutations, you may be wrong about the gender of one or both of your cockatiels.
Cockatiels may be unwilling or unable to mate due to immaturity. If both cockatiels are under one year old, they may be disinterested in mating, despite having the physical means. If one cockatiel is under six months old, it will be unable to mate.
Sometimes, a cockatiel won’t breed with another cockatiel that is much younger than itself, even if they are both sexually mature. If there is a significant age gap, choosing another pairing is recommended.
4. Wrong diet
Some cockatiels breed and lay eggs, even if they lack nutrients, such as calcium. This, however, may result in infertile eggs or egg binding. Egg binding is a life-threatening condition for cockatiels.
Even if the eggs hatch, poorly fed cockatiels would produce weak and disease-prone chicks. Furthermore, the female will be more susceptible to illness, and some will abandon their babies. Most cockatiels will refuse to breed if they are not well feed.
5. Unready to pair up
Cockatiels are monogamous species, so if a cockatiel’s partner dies, it may not be ready to pair up. However, their bonds are complex and deeply ingrained connections. In one study published in animal behavior, scientists separated mated pairs and let the females hear their partner’s calls. The females preferred the call of their mates, even after six months of separation.
If your cockatiel’s mate has just died or escaped, you will need to give them time to recover emotionally.
6. Lone pair
Cockatiels are colony breeders, meaning that they nest and breed in groups. Therefore, the presence of other cockatiels may trigger a hen’s hormones to put her into breeding conditions. Furthermore, if there is only one pair of birds in the cage, they may feel too isolated to lay eggs.