Cockatiels are popular birds; they are currently the most prevalent pet bird in the United States. And they’re great fun too. I can personally attest to the fact that these birds are playful, affectionate, and fun to care for. But there is one question that all potential Cockatiel owners will likely find themselves asking, ‘Is my pet Cockatiel going to be loud?’ Well, let’s take a look.
So, are Cockatiels loud? Cockatiels do not make for silent pets, so if you compare them to a hamster or a small reptile, they are rather loud. Like all pet parrots, Cockatiels make regular noise through a series of chirps, whistles, and occasional chattering. However, compared to most other pet parrot species, Cockatiels are considered relatively quiet as they do not have the reverberating squawk of some of their larger cousins.
So, what you really need to consider here is whether you are willing and able to put up with the sounds of a bird.
But if you are, then a cockatiel may be an excellent option for you.
Let us now delve a bit deeper to see why.
Are Cockatiels Noisy?
A Cockatiel is considered a somewhat noisy pet. Cockatiels use noise to express curiosity, fear, and playfulness. They also make noise when wanting attention as people enter and exit a room.
To claim that a Cockatiel is a silent, or even a truly quiet pet, would be misleading.
Cockatiels are not as noisy as many other parrot species such as Macaws, African Greys, or Amazons, who have loud squawks that can often be heard from far away.
A Cockatiel’s noise typically has an intended purpose.
Cockatiels love to mimic the sounds around them.
While not clear talkers, they can learn a wide variety of whistles and chatters that imitate sounds they hear every day.
They can even be taught “call and response” whistles.
My own Cockatiel has been taught to finish whistling the song “Yankee Doodle” after hearing you whistle the first few notes and will repeat the whistle of the bugle call to charge after anyone whistles it first.
It is a common belief that male Cockatiels tend to be noisier than females.
This is due in part to male Cockatiels using noise as part of their mating routine.
Though females do tend to be quieter than males, don’t purchase a female Cockatiel thinking you are getting a noiseless pet.
Part of owning any pet bird, Cockatiels included, is learning to love and appreciate them for the variety of noises they make and use.
How Often Do Cockatiels Make Noise?
Cockatiels make noise off and on throughout the length of their day but do tend to quiet down for sleep at night. Cockatiels often make the most noise as the sun rises and sets. Another common time for noise is when a human enters or exits the room that the Cockatiel is in.
This short call is simply the bird’s way of showing interest in the movement of those around them and curiosity about where someone is going.
Each Cockatiel will find its own unique cycle of noise and quiet periods.
Every evening around 7 p.m., my Cockatiel named Fruity will chirp, chortle, and sing to himself for a few minutes.
I don’t even need to look at the clock anymore to know that it must be about 7 p.m.
His noise is not overly loud, and if anything, is friendly and relaxing.
Cockatiels also learn the general schedules of their caretakers, and you may find that when you arrive home from school or work, your Cockatiel spends a few minutes happily chattering in his or her cage.
What you will also notice is that if your routine changes one day, your bird will still sing and become a bit louder at the time you usually arrive home.
A dog isn’t the only pet happy to see its human companion at the end of a long day.
Reasons Why Cockatiels May Make More Noise Than Usual
There are several reasons that a Cockatiel may make more noise than usual such as being scared, feeling overstimulated, or being bored. Cockatiels may also make more noise if they see a new Cockatiel in their range of vision or mistake a reflection of themselves as another bird.
This is, of course, on top of the aforementioned tendency for Cockatiels to have patterns of noise that fit around their own personal rhythm and their owner’s routines.
But here are the main reasons why a Cockatiel can become more vocal.
Cockatiels are not high on the food chain.
As a result, they are always keeping an eye out for things that might be trying to harm or eat them.
When a bird feels scared in the wild, it is normal for it to call loudly as a warning to others nearby and potentially scare off a would-be predator.
A scared Cockatiel is often a loud Cockatiel.
A sign that your Cockatiel is being loud due to fear is when the sound is partnered with weaving on their perch and fast-paced bobbing of their head.
A scared Cockatiel may also flap its wings with surprising force.
A Cockatiel that is overstimulated by a room filled with noise is often a more noisy Cockatiel.
Because Cockatiels use their calls to communicate, they want to be louder than all of the things going on around them.
If your Cockatiel can hear a TV, music, loud family members, and a barking dog all at once, it may feel the need to be even louder than normal to make sure its own calls can be heard.
Boredom and/or Loneliness
The other common cause of a noisy Cockatiel is boredom and loneliness.
Cockatiels are very intelligent and inquisitive birds.
They enjoy the company of humans and will explore every inch of their cage on a daily basis.
When a Cockatiel becomes lonely, it may begin to call out more in an attempt to locate a friend or bring its owner into the room.
A bird that is bored may find entertainment in listening to its own noise and begin to sing or squawk loudly as a way to entertain itself.
How Do I Keep My Cockatiel Quiet?
Some of the best things to do to quiet your Cockatiel are to quiet the environment around the Cockatiel, limit the amount of light your Cockatiel receives, provide your Cockatiel with new and interesting toys, and give your Cockatiel attention before it feels the need to cry out for it vocally.
Let us now explore each one further.
I mentioned that an overly loud room could cause a Cockatiel to become very noisy.
To prevent this, make sure your Cockatiel has a room that your family frequents, but that isn’t the central hub of your family get-togethers, movie nights, and other loud events.
If your Cockatiel is in a room with a frequent loud noise, you may want to designate certain times of the day where you turn down the volume and spend quiet one on one time with your bird.
If your Cockatiel is being extremely loud, it is also helpful for you to keep your own voice at a whisper and remain calm to encourage your pet to match your volume level.
The amount of light a Cockatiel receives can have a direct effect on its noise level.
Cockatiels are happiest with an equal 12 hours of light and dark each day.
Placing your Cockatiels cage in an area where it is easy to control light exposure will help you to keep your bird both happy and quiet.
Long periods of light beyond 12 hours may trick your Cockatiel’s biological triggers into thinking it is time for mating season.
Mating season for Cockatiels is not a quiet time, and your bird could be much louder than normal.
By keeping light to around 12 hours, you can prevent this from happening for you and your bird.
Another way to control the light that your bird receives is with a cage cover, which is usually a solid lightweight sheet.
Some pet stores also sell specially designed and fitted cage covers.
I have always found a sheet to work just as well at providing my bird with a quiet, dark space that encourages sleeping and silence at night.
Make sure not to use a fabric that is too heavy which may trap in extra heat or limit the ventilation of your Cockatiel’s cage.
From time to time, there are Cockatiels who struggle with noise-making at night.
This is not an occurrence for all Cockatiels but is a possible owner experience.
The term that is used to describe a Cockatiel that cries out for seemingly no reason during the night is “night frights.”
This problem is easily remedied by using a small plugin night-light near the cage at night that gives your Cockatiel some level of visibility if it wakes unexpectedly from sleeping.
A Cockatiel that is making noise from boredom can easily be brought back to quietness by mixing up the available cage toys or spending more time out of its cage in contact with you.
For my Cockatiel, I have two sets of toys that I rotate about every 4 weeks in order to encourage play and prevent boredom.
I also like to spoil my Cockatiel around special holidays with a new toy now and then.
A Cockatiel that gets plenty of quality time with its owner is also less likely to call loudly from loneliness.
A word of warning, if every time your bird makes a loud or unwanted noise, you drop what you are doing and walk to the cage to speak to it, you may accidentally be training your bird to continue being noisy.
It is okay to respond to your bird when it makes noises at appropriate times, but be wary of jumping up right away if your bird makes a noise at an unacceptable time.
Instead, wait a moment and then take measures to quiet your bird by lowering the room volume, adjusting lighting, or covering the cage.
Some Final Thoughts On Cockatiel Noise
As you have read, a Cockatiel is not a pet that you can count on to lounge silently in its cage all day.
It is much quieter than many other types of pet birds but will certainly make noticeable noise during regular daylight hours.
If you live in an apartment or with people who are bothered by unexpected noises, you may want to take time to carefully consider what steps you will take to keep your Cockatiel’s noise from becoming a complaint.
A Cockatiel’s noises are typically fun and friendly but can be high pitched. Do consider this.
A Cockatiel is a great pet if you want an animal that greets you vocally when you walk in the door, and that will interact with you through whistles, both original and taught.
Before purchasing a Cockatiel, speak with other owners or visit a place that has Cockatiels so you can hear their sounds and decide if their noises could be music to your ears.
And remember this, if your Cockatiel is being unusually noisy, there is usually a reason for it.
Thankfully, there are things you can often do to encourage them to keep quiet.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.