Have you ever wondered what you cockatiel was trying to tell you with her body language? Here is a list of the most common things she may be "saying"
Has crest all the way up = Usually means scared or surprised. It can also mean she is excited
Has crest is flattened against the head = Usually means she is angry, if she tries to bite or hiss at the same time, definitely angry. Sometimes sucks feathers in and looks skinny.
Suddenly stands really tall and "skinny" with crest raised= surprised/startled.
Bobs her head = in a recently weaned bird, it usually means she's hungry. In older birds, it might mean that they want attention or are trying to feed you as a sign of affection.
Holding wings away from chest slightly raised.= They usually do this when they're showing off and bragging. Usually accompanied by whistling and singing. Generally a male behavior
Panting while holding wings away from body= Bird is overheated. Provide a cooler environment immediately. A bath or shower helps too!
Bows head and keeps it down= She is asking to have her head scratched
Leans forward with wings held slightly out = Usually it means she wants to fly somewhere (often towards you) but isn't confident enough to take off. An un-clipped bird would usually fly without hesitation, you see this more often in pets with their wings clipped
Holds her wings outstretched all the way when standing on top of the cage/gym or your shoulder = Claiming territory, stating "this is all mine!"
Bird pecks or bangs beak on perch, table or you= similar to the point above. Mostly seen in male cockatiels. Don't challenge him by tapping finger in front of him unless you want a full scale confrontation!
Steps back and forth (dances) very quickly often chirping = bird is very eager. Often done inside the cage when the bird wants to come out.
She puts her beak on your finger before stepping on = this might look like she is going in for a bite, but she's actually just testing the your finger to make sure it's sturdy, or she's using it for balance while climbing on.
Grinding beak = content and relaxed. Often heard while bird is sleeping or resting
Sticks her chest or beak into your face = she wants to cuddle.
Turns her head sideways and tilts it up or down = looking at something above or below them
"Wags her tail" when you pet her back = this is more common with mature female birds. She is ready to breed, it might be a good idea to get her a mate, or she might start laying eggs on her own (unfertilized)
Closes eyes often with head turned back over shoulder = sleeping, often stands on one foot
Stays puffed up for long periods of time (often in cage or in corner) = Probably feeling sick, needs to see a vet
Yawns several times in a row = often done after preening, possibly readjusting her crop or "clearing her throat". Either way, it's normal.
Shakes head rapidly = if done while eating, it could mean that the food has a surprising taste, temperature, or moisture level. If done when listening to the sound, it could mean that it's a tad too loud or sharp or high-pitched, or just that it's an interesting sound.
Wipes or rubs head on back = it's a normal part of preening. Feel that part of their back, and your fingers will get very powdery. They're distributing that stuff to their head.
Stoops down low and often gets a bit puffy = this is a sign that your bird is about to go to the bathroom. (Very important to remember)
During a bath, gets very puffy and holds his wings out, shakes head etc. = she is enjoying her bath!
During a shower, she looks like she's falling asleep = again, she's enjoying herself!
Sticks her toe in nose, then sneezes = She is just scratching face, this is normal
Has slightly puffy face/ears when listening to something = bird likes what she's hearing! Will often learn to repeat these things
Raises both wings above back = Just stretching/exercising
Holds out one wing and one foot behind him = stretching