Do Cockatiels Have Ears? Why Can’t You See Them?

How do cockatiels hear? Where are their ears? Do cockatiels have ears at all, or do they use something else to listen? I answer some of these questions.

Cockatiel owners need at least a basic understanding of their pet’s anatomy to be able to take proper care of it and help it stay healthy.

After all, there are several cockatiel diseases that you need to watch out for.

Having said that, you might also have wondered about other things about their anatomy – for example, how do cockatiels hear, and where exactly are their ears?

Do Cockatiels Have Ears

It’s quite a common topic of discussion on bird forums – even I had the same question in my mind at some point.

To put it simply, birds do have ears. But they don’t exactly have visible earlobes like us – which is why there is so much confusion around the topic.

So let me help you figure out where your cockatiels ears are!

Do Cockatiels Have Ears?

Since cockatiels can mimic things they hear during daily interaction, it’s easy to guess that they have ears.

However, their ears are mere holes on the sides of the ears.

Does this mean they don’t have external ears like us? They do. However, a bird’s outer ear stays covered by its feathers.

You can see it, but only by moving the feathers.

Where Are Cockatiels Ears on Their Body?

A cockatiel’s ears might not be usually visible, but there’s nothing unusual about their placement.

Like in the case of humans, cockatiel ears lie on the sides of the bird’s head too.

You can see the tiny ear holes if you move apart the feathers over the region.

Do Cockatiels Have Ear Holes?

As I mentioned earlier, birds have ear holes on either side of their heads.

The ear holes are the only part of their ears that you can see by moving the feathers. Unlike us, they do not have any ear lobes.

Why Don’t Cockatiels Have Ears Like Us Humans?

There’s a very good reason why cockatiels have funnel-shaped ear holes rather than ears with external lobes like us humans.

When in the air, it allows them to pinpoint the source of a sound – whether it’s coming from above them, below them, or somewhere at the same level.

Especially since wild cockatiels are prey animals, they need to constantly stay on the alert for predators.

Do Cockatiels Have Good Hearing?

A cockatiel’s hearing isn’t the strongest in the animal world, but they still hear fairly well.

To be more precise, their ears are sensitive to sounds in the frequency range of approximately 250 to 8000 Hz.

To give you a relative idea, the human ear is sensitive to sound frequencies up to 20,000.

Hearing is one of the most important sensory abilities for a cockatiel. They need it to stay alert for danger and communicate with each other.

They cannot communicate effectively unless they can detect the minute differences in each other’s songs.

Do Cockatiels Like Loud Noises?

To be honest, this depends on what kind of noise you’re talking about.

If you’re worried about getting a cockatiel because your home is noisy, rest assured that it won’t be an issue, as cockatiels make a lot of noise too.

However, refrain from playing loud music near a cockatiel as that might frighten or agitate the bird.

What Are the Other Senses Which Cockatiels Use to Perceive the World?

A cockatiel’s dominant senses aren’t very different from our own. Indeed, they share a major similarity – like us, their eyes are their most important sensory receptor.

They need their vision to perceive their surroundings, search for food, fly, and pretty much every activity.

However, their sense of smell is almost non-existent, and their sense of touch isn’t that great either.

Cockatiels primarily perceive the world through their eyes and ears.

Can Cockatiels Get Ear Infections?

Unfortunately, yes – just like pretty much any other part of the body, a cockatiel’s ear may get infected.

Especially if the ear is somehow wounded and gets exposed to the elements, there’s a chance of developing an ear infection.

Watch out for symptoms like discharge, messed up feather patterns, and behavioral changes.

If your pet cockatiel is sick, make sure it has access to fresh water and a proper diet. You should also consider taking it to a vet if you’re unsure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should you not touch a cockatiel?

When petting or handling a cockatiel, avoid touching it on the back, the flight feathers, or a tail feather.
The head and the legs are the best places to touch.
Cockatiels are particularly fond of being petted around the ears, but be careful not to touch the eyes.

How far can cockatiels hear?

Cockatiels are able to hear at distances of nearly 335 feet away. This is, however, dependent on where you are standing.
Cockatiels have highly sensitive and attuned hearing due to their own vocalizations.
They can pick up on small changes in sound from far away, allowing them to be aware of predators and other dangers in their area.
They also have an excellent directional hearing; this allows them to locate movements or noises that come from a certain direction and take evasive action when they perceive danger.

Do cockatiels have teeth?

Like all other bird species, a cockatiel’s beak is devoid of teeth. It’s believed that birds had teeth millions of years ago but lost them in the course of evolution.
A modern-day bird with teeth and jawbones to support them would be simply too heavy to be flight-efficient.

Do cockatiels have hair?

Hair is a feature unique to mammals alone, and birds do not classify as mammals. Their bodies are kept warm by feathers instead.
The crest on the top of a cockatiel’s head shouldn’t be mistaken for its hair either – that’s made of specialized feathers too.

Wrapping up

To sum up, cockatiels have ears and can hear very well. A healthy bird would consistently maintain its usual demeanor.

If your generally happy cockatiel starts behaving differently and you suspect that it may have suffered an ear infection, consult an avian veterinarian immediately.

If you can’t get a vet right away, just try to keep your pet comfortable with access to clean water and healthy food.

I hope this article has proved useful to you, and thank you for reading it.

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.

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