Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?

What kind of pets do cockatiels make? Are cockatiels friendly, cuddly and fluffy like dogs, or aloof and imperial like cats? Let’s find out.

Cockatiels are small parrots from the Cacatuidae (Cockatoo) family, a part of the parrot species.

They are extremely popular as companion birds because of their lively and affectionate nature.

Yes, cockatiels are super friendly with their pet parents once they get to know them, and they may demonstrate it in a variety of ways.

Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?

One of the many ways they display their love is by letting their parent pet them often. Cockatiels love being petted and scratched.

So once they’ve bonded with you, they will ask for attention and affection!

Why Are Cockatiels So Cute/Cuddly?

Cockatiels are adorable pets with a lovable and friendly nature. They are primarily social creatures and like playing and interacting with their pet parents.

Being a companion type of bird, they thrive on interaction and affection. So it’s natural for them to seek that emotion from their pet owner in a closed environment.

They use various ways to establish a bond with their human, one of which is cuddling or physical affection.

Cockatiels like being petted and touched. They will display their love for you by perching on your arm or chest and nestling against your cheek or body.

Cuddling is how the bird builds a deeper relationship with its human and establishes trust and companionship.

Another way they show their love for you is by imitating the sounds you make and words you say or teach them.

Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
Cockatiels love to perch on their favorite human’s shoulder or arm

They are quick learners, so they will pick up on words and repeat them back to you to get you to spend more time with them.

Another reason why bird owners love cockatiels is their adorable appearance. Their fluffy feathers, yellow head, crest feathers, and orange cheeks (in some cases) all add to their cuteness.

Are Cockatiels Affectionate?

Yes, cockatiels are quite affectionate as pets. They may not be as cuddly as dogs, but they are amazing companions and will leave no opportunity to display affection.

It is often said that cockatiels choose their humans. When it comes to birds, individual birds might gravitate toward different people.

For instance, some birds may prefer male pet parents over females and vice versa. Cockatiels, too, may display a preference for a certain kind of ownership over another.

However, once the cockatiel has picked you and warmed up to you, it might constantly remain in your proximity. This is a clear indication of their affection.

FREE Parrot Training!

Don't waste time searching for bird training videos. Learn from a professional parrot trainer.

Where should we send this FREE 3-part video training course?

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.
    • Body language: Keep an eye out for their body language to notice their demonstration of love. Often a cockatiel will display courtship behaviors for their human to show their feelings.
    • You can notice dilated pupils, raised upper body, and, more noticeably, a rise in their crest and jaw feathers.
    • Asking for pets: Cockatiels are very cuddly birds. They like to be petted and scratched. They especially enjoy petting in the spot behind their crest and on their head. Once they warm up to you, they may also voluntarily ask for attention.
    • Vocalizing: Cockatiels will sing and whistle all day when they’re happy and cheery to be around you. They’re playful birds and will like interacting and playing around with you.
    • Perching: These cuddly birds also like to perch atop their pet parent’s arms and snuggle. Some birds could also go so far as to nap on their human’s body.

    Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
    Your cockatiel would want lots of petting from you!

    They Are Good For Elderly As Pets Too!

    The best part about these pet birds is that they’re okay with both outright and ambient attention. Unlike budgies who don’t handle isolation well, cockatiels are happy just to be in your presence.

    They can spend some time alone in their cage or fly around while you attend to other chores or indulge in self-care activities.

    For this reason, cockatiels also make great companions for the elderly, who cannot always indulge and play with them. They’re also a great choice for those who spend several hours outside the house for work.

    However, the most important part of having a cockatiel as a pet is you have to work on building a bond of trust with your bird.

    Only once they feel bonded to you, trust you, and become comfortable will they start being affectionate with you.

    For this reason, many people prefer getting a young cockatiel because it’s easier to imprint on them and gain their trust and build a positive relationship.

    How Do Cockatiels Show Affection?

    As we discussed above, cockatiels are loving and cuddly birds. If you’re looking to get a feathery friend, you might consider getting a cockatiel.

    They’re very affectionate and friendly pet birds. They express their love for their human through physical touch and other body languages.

    However, before this, you must spend time bonding and building companionship with your cockatiel.

    Once you’ve established a strong bond, you can easily notice the way in which your cockatiel shows its adoration for you.

    Physical Traits

    Cockatiels will express joy by perching on your shoulder or arm or even by nestling against your body.

    They will seek affection from you and ask for attention. This is a clear sign that your cockatiel loves you.

    You can notice other body demeanors such as warm feet, a relaxed body, constant blinking, and even a wagging tail like a dog!

    Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
    Eyes are the window to the soul, and that’s true for tiels as well! Dilated pupils are a great sign that your bird likes you

    These are all expressions of your cockatiel’s adoration for you.


    Once they bond with you, cockatiels will repeat words and sounds you make and teach them.

    Among the parrot species, cockatiels are known to be relatively calmer than budgies or conures. They are the gentle giants of their kind.

    So if your pet cockatiel starts to chirp, sing or whistle, it indicates that it’s happy to be around you.

    They will want to spend time whistling or talking to you. Spending quality time daily with your pet bird is crucial to build strong affection.

    Crest Feathers

    Yet another thing you can look out for is their crest feathers. If your cockatiel’s crest feathers are relaxed, it indicates that the bird is comfortable with you.

    On the other hand, if you notice a flat crest, your cockatiel might be angry. A straight crest would mean the bird is in distress or scared.

    FREE Parrot Training!

    Don't waste time searching for bird training videos. Learn from a professional parrot trainer.

    Where should we send this FREE 3-part video training course?

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      Noticing your bird’s crest will give you a clue about its state of mind, so always keep an eye out for the same.

      Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
      Raised crest feathers are a surefire sign that your cockatiel is enjoying itself

      Preening Feathers

      Your pet cockatiel will also show affection by preening its feathers in front of you. Grooming and smoothening its feathers is a display of their comfort with you.

      Sharing Food

      Last but not least, the ultimate form of affection is sharing food for all species, including humans!

      Cockatiels, too, believe in this. So if your bird is bringing you the food you served in the first place, it’s a display of their affection for you.

      Do Cockatiels Bite?

      Cockatiels are friendly but also moody birds. They can bite you in retaliation if they’re irritated or hassled.

      But it’s important to understand that biting is your feathered friend’s way of communicating their state to you.

      So it’s important to consider the context in which your cockatiel bit you. They could be scared, overwhelmed, angry, or feel threatened.

      In most situations, the cockatiel may try to communicate distress by creating a hissing sound. Only when that doesn’t work will it attempt to bite.

      So if you notice any hissing or different behavior from your bird, try and figure out the reason behind it to avoid hurting yourself or your pet.

      Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
      Tiels will bite you – if only to get your attention!

      How Much Attention Do They Need?

      Cockatiels are social birds and companion pets. So it’s important to give them attention and keep them in a lively and active environment.

      Interacting with them regularly is a major part of giving your pet bird proper care. Spend a couple of minutes to an hour every day, playing and interacting with your bird daily.

      You can talk to your cockatiel. They are quick learners and will imitate your sounds and words, which can be a fun way to spend time with them.

      Let them out of their cage and let them fly around or sit on your shoulder. You can also dance with your cockatiel!

      You can also get them some toys that they can play with in their cage when you’re not available to play with them.

      Can They Live Alone?

      Even though cockatiels are companion birds, they can be left alone for a couple of hours.

      These larger parrots can spend time by themselves as opposed to, say, the budgies, who tend to quickly spiral into loneliness and depression if they don’t see their human friends.

      When it comes to a mate, cockatiels can live without one, which is not something a lot of other birds can do. But then the owner has to make sure that they pay enough attention to their bird.

      Cockatiels will thrive on interaction and socialization. So, if you’re not able to give your bird ample time, you should consider getting it a mate or a fellow bird.

      How Big Does A Cockatiel Get
      Cockatiels also want some alone time now and then

      Cockatiels And Other Birds: Can You Put Them Together?

      Cockatiels are friendly and social birds, so they generally would not have a problem with other birds when kept in proximity.

      However, it’s crucial to remember that they can get jealous and moody too. Cockatiels can feel possessive of their owners and might not be able to gel with another bird easily.


      Yes, cockatiels and parakeets can live together. Both birds are friendly and social and can live in harmony with each other.

      However, you should bring this change around gradually and with caution. Bringing in another bird can definitely trigger feelings of jealousy and territory in the one who was there first.

      You can take a few steps to familiarize both the birds with each other before you put them together in one cage.

      This can include placing their respective cages in close proximity and letting them initiate their first physical contact.

      However, the trick is to respect their individuality and need to retreat in times of distress into their own space. As long as both the birds have their own space, they can cohabitate peacefully.

      FREE Parrot Training!

      Don't waste time searching for bird training videos. Learn from a professional parrot trainer.

      Where should we send this FREE 3-part video training course?

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Cockatiel Behavior
        They can be put in the same cage parakeets


        Although both birds have very similar characteristics and belong to the same parrot species, letting cockatiels and budgies live together is not recommended.

        There’re a couple of reasons for this, such as the stark difference in their personalities. Budgies are a louder and livelier than cockatiels.

        Their constant hyper behavior can put the cockatiel in distress.

        Secondly, budgies can quickly get territorial and consider some spaces as their own, which may cause stress between the two types of birds.

        Cockatiels, on the other hand, can get easily scared at night. Their flapping around may cause the budgie to react violently, or they may injure each other in the process.


        Conures are also friendly and social birds. A cockatiel and a conure can live together.

        Cockatiels are calmer and more laid back as compared to conures which can sometimes cause the former some stress.

        If the second bird is larger in size than the cockatiel, it might even get bullied, causing stress.

        However, if you give the conure and cockatiel significant time to get used to each other’s presence, they can learn to live together in peace.

        But you should keep them in separate cages and monitor their socialization in the early days to avoid tension and fights.

        Male & Female Cockatiels: Can They Be Put In The Same Cage? Should They?

        No, male & female cockatiels should not be put together. At least not when they are young, i.e., below two years of age.

        If you do not have any plans of breeding, it is best to continue keeping them in their respective cages. If you do plan to breed them, it’s wiser to keep only adult birds together

        If you put male and female birds in the same cage, it could create mating issues.

        For instance, if either one matures early and wants to mate while the other doesn’t, the mature bird might attack and pick on the other.

        Are Cockatiels Friendly? Cute? Affectionate? What Kind of Pet Will My Cockatiel Be?
        Putting males and females together may not be a great idea

        FREE Parrot Training!

        Don't waste time searching for bird training videos. Learn from a professional parrot trainer.

        Where should we send this FREE 3-part video training course?

          We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

          Frequently Asked Questions

          Do cockatiels like kisses?

          Cockatiels are affectionate birds, and they love physical affection. They enjoy petting and getting scratched on their head and behind their crest.
          So it’s likely that it might be like getting showered with an occasional kiss. You can give your bird a little peck on its head and see how they take it.
          At the same time, avoid kissing frequently and near their mouths or beaks.

          Are male or female cockatiels more affectionate?

          There’s practically no difference in affection between male and female cockatiels. Both of them are equally affectionate and loving birds.
          They will both whistle and sing for you. However, females are quieter as compared to their male counterparts. But they’re both very loving and friendly.

          Do cockatiels get jealous?

          Cockatiels thrive on the bond they build with their human parent or mate. Hence, it might get jealous of another family member or another pet.
          A lot of cockatiels are monogamous, and this quality begins to develop at a young age. So it’s possible that a cockatiel might get jealous of other people in their owner’s life or even other pets and birds.

          Can you sleep with a cockatiel?

          It’s best if you leave your cockatiel in the cage to sleep. It’s not a good idea to have them sleep next to you. They might accidentally get trapped under your body, causing suffocation. Or you might risk rearing an emotionally insecure pet.
          Moreover, cockatiels, belonging to the cockatoo family, are dustier than other birds and may cause breathing or lung issues. So it’s best to avoid that.

          Wrap Up

          Cockatiels are companion pets – friendly, sociable, and very affectionate. Once you establish a bond of trust with them, they will display their affection for you in various ways.

          They’re great pets to have for the elderly or adults because they love both active and passive attention and affection! So if you’re looking for a companion pet bird, consider getting a cockatiel!

          Thank you!

          Photo of author

          Team Beauty of Birds

's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

          You can meet our team here.
          Team Beauty of Birds is separate from the “Parrot Parent University” parrot training course and its instructors.

          Leave a Comment

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