Are Cockatiels Cuddly? What You Should Know

Are Cockatiels Cuddly?Cockatiels are not like dogs that love cuddles all the time. The question is, are these birds still cuddly or is it best to just have them sit on your finger without touching them too much? Let´s find out!

Are Cockatiels Cuddly? Cockatiels can, in fact, be cuddly, however, it does greatly depend on their personality and their trust in you. By nature, cockatiels are friendly, playful, and affectionate creatures that thrive on human interaction.

FREE video course:
Stop Your Bird's Biting

    They love to have their head and crest scratched, and they love to be spoken to and interacted with, but before you can get those cuddles that you want, you need to earn the trust of your cockatiel which is something that takes a lot of time, energy, attention, and patience.

    Examples on how your cockatiel cuddles, training your cockatiel and choosing a cockatiel for you are written below.

    How Cockatiels Cuddle

    Cockatiels are not cuddly like your average everyday pet, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less affectionate. In fact, these birds are one of the most friendly pet birds you can get as we explain in this article here.

    Due to their small size, it is much more difficult to cuddle a cockatiel as you could a dog for example.

    A dog you could easily lie on and hug, cockatiels not so much. A cockatiel will sit on the crook of your arm and snuggle against your body as a way of cuddling. Other ways your cockatiel will cuddle/show you affection include:

    • Napping on your shoulder or chest
    • Gently nibbling on your finger and lowering their head indicating that he would like to be scratched
    • Pushing its head into your hand or face as a way of asking for attention and affection Preening your eyebrows or hair similar to how they would the feathers from a member of their flock
    • Chirping or whistling excitedly when they see you enter a room
    • One way that cockatiels are similar to dogs is that they wag their tail feathers in excitement.

    How To Make Your Cockatiel Cuddly

    • When you bring your cockatiel home, it is best that you leave him undisturbed for the first day or two so that he can become accustomed to his new surroundings. You must understand that your cockatiel is stressed from being pulled away from the home that he had known and into yours. He needs time to adjust and gather his bearings.
    • To begin earning your cockatiels trust, you should start by spending small amounts of time sitting outside of its cage. You can spend this time speaking or reading to your new pet in a sweet and gentle tone to help your cockatiel feel like you are its friend and not someone that they should fear. This is a slow process and should be done in small increments of five to ten minutes on a daily basis.
    • After a few days have passed you may begin offering your cockatiel treats with your fingers as a way to encourage their trust in you.
    • Once that initial trust has been built, you may gradually progress towards laying your hand palm open on the bottom of the bird’s cage and allowing him to willingly walk onto your hand. Carefully watch the reaction that your cockatiel has in the early stages of bonding, read his expressions and do not force your cockatiel to be held otherwise any trust that you had developed up to this point could easily be lost. Building a bond with your cockatiel is a long process that takes patience.

    Once your cockatiel has developed a bond with you, it will easily fly out of an opened cage to sit on your shoulder or gently rub its face against your cheek as a sign of affection.

    Be careful because cockatiels do tend to nip at their owners, they do so playfully, but if you have small children you may want to watch them carefully.

    Your cockatiel can be hand-fed or let out of its cage to roam around the house freely. Use treats to encourage your cockatiel to join you outside of its cage, but again, do not force it.

    FREE video course:
    Stop Your Bird's Biting

      If you would like you could offer your cockatiel a piece of fruit such as a banana, that you are eating from to show him that you mean him no harm and would like to become friends.

      Within time you will become your cockatiels best friend to the point that you will feel like your cockatiel is obsessed with you.

      The process of gaining a cockatiel´s trust is not an easy one, but if you can put in the time and effort towards building that special bond with your cockatiel then it will be a rewarding relationship that lasts many, many years.How To Make A Cockatiel Cuddly?

      Choosing a Cockatiel

      Please, only choose a cockatiel as a pet if you have the time to invest in them, they are sociable creatures that need a lot of time and affection.

      Adopting a young cockatiel is recommended for those that wish to create a special bond with their cockatiel if done right your cockatiel will become your best friend.

      FREE video course:
      Stop Your Bird's Biting

        Cockatiels that are parent raised are less likely to become affectionate and trusting of their human.

        Cockatiels that are young and hand-fed will more easily develop a bond with their human and “imprint” with them making the cockatiel look at them as their parent, which will aid in the cockatiel becoming tame and affectionate but also dependent.

        Older, more mature, cockatiels that have been parent-raised are more fearful and self-dependent then young cockatiels which means that they are less likely to give you the cuddles and affection that you desire.

        However it is not impossible to earn the trust and affection of a mature cockatiel, it is just easier to do so when they are young.

        While it is acceptable to have two cockatiels in one cage, it does make it slightly more difficult to bond with your cockatiels because they will most likely have a stronger bond with one another.

        That being said, it is not impossible to bond with both of your cockatiels it just takes a little longer to do so.

        The process to bonding with both birds is similar to when you only have one cockatiel, but it is advised to adopt your birds at separate times or to keep your cockatiels in separate cages and in different areas of your house or apartment and bond with them each individually before placing them in one cage together.

        Food is a great motivator and helps in training your cockatiel. Millet is a popular treat that you could give to your cockatiel, it aids in digestion and is a tasty treat in stressful situations such as being moved into a new home and training to be tamed.

        FREE video course:
        Stop Your Bird's Biting

          Only use millet as a treat as it can lessen your cockatiels motivation to listen if given as a daily food.

          If you need more ideas for awesome treats for your Cockatiel, we have listed 15 treats cockatiels love in this article!

          Using a clicker is also another great way to train your cockatiel.

          Related Questions

          Are Cockatiels more affectionate than Budgies? Generally, yes Cockatiels are more affectionate than Budgies. Cockatiels enjoy having their head and crest scratched while Budgies prefer to just sit on your finger and not be petted.

          Are Cockatiels good pets? Cockatiels are great companion pets, but considering the amount of time needed to put into a cockatiel, they are not recommended for people with busy lives.

          Photo of author

          Gaurav Dhir

          Gaurav is an animal enthusiast. He lives in beautiful Ontario with his energetic family. As a part of his work at, he has been working with ace parrot trainer, Cassie Malina to understand bird behavior and learn more about how he can train his feathered companions.

          2 thoughts on “Are Cockatiels Cuddly? What You Should Know”

          1. My Weiro is deeply affectionate and wants to be close all the time. I can’t even go to the bathroom without responding to his urgent call. I want to know if I have been overly “good” and therefore “bad” at creating such love.
            As of writing this to you BB is cuddled up to me under my jumper. I’m afraid I made him too dependent upon me.

          2. I suspect that I spent a lot of time gently telling him how beautiful he is and blocking bite or anxious type behaviour away from us…I may have won him over


          Leave a Comment

          This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.