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A very ticked cockatiel

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

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