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 Cockatiel Behavior

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PostSubject: Cockatiel Behavior   Thu May 27, 2010 8:35 pm

Cockatiel Behavior
By Kanika Khara

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Cockatiels are social and intelligent companion birds that can be great pets. If you are planning to have one, then the article on ‘cockatiel behavior’ will be very beneficial in understanding your pet’s behavior well.

Commonly known as small cockatoo or a crested parrot, cockatiel is a bird, belonging to the Cockatoo family and genus Nymphicus. Scientifically termed as Nymphicus Hollandicus, meaning "Goddess of New Holland’’, the bird is native to Australia and is commonly found in scrub lands, bush lands and wetlands of the country.

It is an exotic bird, popular for its attractive crest, bright orange patch in its cheeks and its long sleek tail. In the wild, the bird is usually gray colored, however, some domesticated cockatiel breeds are found in colors of yellow, peach, gray, orange and white. Domesticated or household cockatiel life span is usually from fifteen to twenty five years. However, in the wild, due to the danger of living and predation, it has a comparatively shorter life span.

Cockatiel is a social and intellectual bird that can charm its owner with its entertaining nature, love and companionship. The bird loves to be in the company of its owner, hence, quite often you will see it riding on its owner's head or shoulders. Being too sociable and naughty, especially, the male cockatiel that can talk and whistle, the bird is known to express its different moods and behaviors right from being happy, curious, afraid to being ill or sad, through its elevated crest of feathers over its head. Hence, if you bought yourself this amazing companion, for proper cockatiel care, it is important to know and understand the cockatiel behavior well. So to know more about baby cockatiel behavior, problems, and care, keep reading...

Cockatiel Behaviors and Moods

Understanding a cockatiel behavior can be a bit confounding for any new cockatiel owner. However, the best way to know and understand the bird’s behavior is to observe it properly. Over a period of time, you will start understanding why your bird is behaving in this manner and what it wants. Cockatiel is a playful and active bird which usually communicates through its voice and behavior. Bobbing of the head, scratching and grinding of the beak, hanging upside down and wagging of tail are some of the common behaviors that you may notice in your bird. To make a good start with your new companion, read on for some of the common cockatiel behaviors explained below.

Beak Grinding: Grinding the beak is a mysterious cockatiel behavior which signifies that the bird is about to roost for the night, take a nap or is relaxed or sleepy. The bird may also exhibit this behavior in order to prevent a build up of living tissue and overgrowth of the upper and lower mandibles. Hence, chewing toys made of freshly washed, tree branches such as eucalyptus, willow, apple, maple, etc. can keep the bird from grinding its beak.

Moving Crest Over Head: Another aggressive cockatiel behavior is that it tends to move its crest on top of its head. Quite similar to the way we humans raise eyebrows or enlarge eyes when scared or afraid, the bird also exhibits this expression by moving its crest over its head. The bird can be afraid of anything like other pets, a dog or cat, or an object that can make it feel uncomfortable. Moreover, if the bird gets mad or frustrated of something it may start flattening its crest against its head. In such situations, avoid being too close to the cage and start speaking politely to the bird showing that you have no intentions to harm it.

Hanging Upside Down: A common behavior that generally stumps new cockatiel owners is to see the bird hanging upside down with opened wings and tail feathers. At times the bird may also flap its wings vigorously. This behavior indicates that the bird needs a spray misting or has a strong desire to bathe. However, if the bird wants to breed or is sitting on a clutch of eggs, this behavior is a straight warning that you should not come close to its cage else you may receive a warning bite.

Screaming: Seeing your dear cockatiel screaming can be intimidating for any owner, however, there may be various reason for such behavior, like change in the environment or too much of noise around. The bird may start screaming if you are about to leave the bird all alone or the bird is not getting enough sleep, as on an average the bird should get at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep daily.

Exaggerated Yawn: Another mysterious behavior that you may see very often in your cockatiel is the opening of the beak wide in an exaggerated yawn. The reasons for this could be that the bird is trying to obtain more oxygen, unblocking the ears or clearing its throat due to some allergy or dust. However, if the yawn is accompanied by excessive head-bobbing or head-pumping, do not ignore as it could be sign of a sinus infection or some respiratory problems. However, if the bird’s feet are warm, it means it is healthy and happy, as having cool feet is an indication that the bird is sad, afraid or sick.

To sum up, in order to understand cockatiel behavior well, one has to interact with it and have to gain its trust and love by taking good care of this amazingly adorable and fun loving bird. However, to deal with any strange or abnormal cockatiel behavior problems, do not hesitate to consult an experienced aviculturist or an avian veterinarian.
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