What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like?

You might have seen cockatiel videos online singing and dancing with their owners. But what type of music do cockatiels like? Do they prefer the hard beats of rock or the mellow sounds of classical? I explore this topic in the article below.

It’s a well-known fact that one can train your pet cockatiel to mimic a song or respond to specific sounds by repeating or whistling them back.

In fact, there are numerous videos online of cockatiels bobbing their heads, singing along, or responding to music in other ways.

But that begs the question – do they like the music, or are they just following the beats because they have been trained to do so?

The way different bird and animal species respond to human sounds is fascinating. I decided to find out whether cockatiels like music, and here is what I found.

What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like

Do Cockatiels Like Music?

I’ll get to it right away and fulfill your curiosity – yes, cockatiels do love listening to music. 

Studies have already shown that cockatiels respond to music by bobbing their heads, dancing, and even singing along. 

However, keep in mind that just like humans, cockatiels have their likes and dislikes in music too.

As we will soon find out in the following sections, there are music genres that cockatiels hate, just as there are genres these beautiful birds are fond of. 

When you play the wrong types of music to a cockatiel, it will even let its displeasure be known to you by its behavior.

Do They Like Songs or Instrumental Music?

Cockatiels love both vocal songs and instrumental music, but as I mentioned, the genre matters a lot. 

They’re equally fond of gentle vocals and relaxing instrumental music but hate electronic dance music. 

So, regardless of whether you listen to songs or instrumental music more often, you can enjoy it with your pet as long as the genre is right.

Do They Understand Musical Genres?

Now that you know that cockatiels have particular tastes in music, you might wonder if they can identify different genres. 

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    Well, not quite – at least not the way we do. Cockatiels don’t understand the idea of different musical genres as these are man-made concepts.

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      However, these intelligent birds can identify subtle differences in the tone, rhythm, beats, and accent in music. 

      As musical genres are based on these aspects, it makes sense that cockatiels may show a liking towards certain genres.

      What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like
      They might not understand human classifications, but they have their own preferences in music

      What Type of Music Do Cockatiels Like?

      Cockatiel owners generally suggest that their birds prefer mellower sounds and abhor heavy stuff like rock or metal. 

      Read on to find out which genres are preferred by them.


      It’s perfectly fine to play some classical music to your cockatiel. This genre is usually pleasing and melodious, with a smooth texture. 

      Just like humans, cockatiels are fond of such tunes too. You can usually stay assured of your cockatiel responding well to classical music.

      Nature Sounds

      The sounds of nature are possibly a cockatiel’s favorite kind of music. 

      Ideally, it should be a mix of different sounds like the chirping of crickets, songs of other birds, flowing water, etc. 

      These sounds make cockatiels feel at home as the birds are accustomed to them in the wild.


      There’s a good chance that your cockatiel might enjoy country music. 

      However, this also depends on the bird’s tastes and the exact music in question. Cockatiels are more likely to enjoy soothing and melodious country music.

      What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like
      These birds prefer mellow music like classical and nature sounds


      I know you might find it a bit weird that pop music is one of the favorite genres for cockatiels, considering it doesn’t carry the serenity they are fond of. 

      After some research, I realized why. The melodies and patterns in pop music are repetitive and easy to grasp, just like classical music.

      Rap (Maybe)

      Cockatiels may sometimes like rap music, especially if it’s slow-paced. 

      As they are vocal and do a good job mimicking human speech, cockatiels can quickly pick up the words in rap songs. 

      However, a fast-paced rap song might irritate your cockatiel or set it on edge, as the bird won’t be able to keep up with it.

      Do remember that cockatiels hate loud sounds, and this applies to music too. 

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        Besides, their ears are more sensitive to loud noises, and they may suffer short-term hearing damage. 

        Even when playing music that your cockatiel loves, keep the volume low.

        What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like
        Remember not to play the music too loud! Cockatiels hate loud noises

        How To Introduce Music To Your Cockatiel?

        While it is true that cockatiels love listening to music, you should not start playing a variety of songs from different genres right away. 

        Starting slow is the best way to go about it, introducing your cockatiel to one genre at a time.

        • You may start by playing natural sounds to your cockatiel since the birds are already habituated to these sounds. This is especially helpful in making newly adopted cockatiels feel comfortable at home.
        • Follow up with melodious and soothing music like classical and country songs. Relaxing instrumental music is a very good choice and can help keep your cockatiel happy.
        • Once your cockatiel grows its liking towards music, start introducing it to other genres like pop, rock, and rap. Be a little careful about rock and rap songs, though, as your pet might dislike them.
        • If you notice the cockatiel showing any signs of distress or aggressiveness when you play a kind of music genre to it, stop immediately.

        What Music Can Calm Cockatiels?

        Did you ever think that humans might not be the only creatures on whom music can have a calming effect? 

        You may use music to calm your cockatiel too. Just like in the case of humans, gentle and melodious music has the strongest calming effect on cockatiels.

        What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like
        Music soothes the soul – and apparently the cockatiel as well!

        Signs That Your Cockatiel Likes a Certain Type of Music

        Every cockatiel has its individual choice of music, which means you’ll have to play different songs to understand your pet’s likes and dislikes. 

        This leads us to the question – how do you know which kinds of music your cockatiel likes?

        Well, all you need to do is observe the bird’s behavior when you play music to it. Signs that your cockatiel likes the music you’re playing include:


        As you know, cockatiels use their ability to vocalize by mimicking music and human language. However, they only mimic songs they like. 

        This works primarily for the males because the males are the ones who vocalize more. They use all these sounds to attract females towards them.


        Remember – a chirping bird is a happy bird. If your cockatiel starts chirping to the music you’re playing, that means the bird loves it. 

        Just like other bird species, cockatiels express their joy and pleasure through their chirps.


        This is another clear sign that you should check for when playing music to your cockatiel. These birds tend to whistle and sing along to the music they enjoy.

        You might also find them singing by mimicking the tune of the music.

        What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like
        Pet cockatiels will sing and whistle music they like

        Head Bobbing/Dancing

        You may see your cockatiel dance and bob its head while listening to melodies it enjoys. 

        This is especially true when they can easily grasp the rhythm, such as in the case of pop music. 

        Watch this cute video of a cockatiel headbanging to music:

        Signs That Your Cockatiel Dislikes The Music You Are Playing


        Cockatiels release shrill and high-pitched screams to draw attention when they feel angry, distressed, sad, or lonely. 

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          They might display this behavior when they don’t enjoy the music you are playing.


          This is another negative behavior shown by cockatiels, usually as a form of aggression. 

          If you play music that makes them angry or distressed, they might start hissing with a flattened crest. 

          As most bird parents know, a cockatiel with its crest pulled back is a surefire sign that the bird is under stress.

          No Reaction

          If your cockatiel just sits indifferently without any reaction, it likely isn’t enjoying the music. 

          Cockatiels are very responsive to music they like and usually show it in one way or another.

          What Type Of Music Do Cockatiels Like
          If your bird is not responding to music, you might consider changing the genre

          Do Cockatiels Dance? How To Train Them To Dance?

          Birds are known to dance to music they enjoy, and cockatiels are surprisingly good at it. 

          If your cockatiel already sings well and can pick up musical rhythms fast, it might dance spontaneously when you play music.

          However, not every cockatiel is inherently a dancer. You might have to help your pet figure out how to groove to the beats. 

          Here’s how you can go about it:

          • First, figure out what kind of music your cockatiel loves the most and play it. They don’t usually dance to music they don’t like.
          • If you start dancing in front of your cockatiel while playing its favorite songs, there’s a good chance that it might do the same. However, don’t perform complex moves that a cockatiel would face difficulty following.
          • You may also make your cockatiel watch videos of other cockatiels dancing to music. It will likely begin mimicking the birds dancing in the video.

          Frequently Asked Questions

          How do I keep my cockatiel entertained?

          You can keep your cockatiel entertained by interacting with it and giving it enough toys. Playing music can help greatly because cockatiels love music. 
          When leaving your cockatiel alone at home, keep its favorite songs playing. You can also turn on the TV/radio for entertainment purposes.

          Do cockatiels like watching TV?

          Believe it or not, letting your cockatiel watch TV is a great way to keep it entertained. These curious birds are easily attracted to the brightness and the activity on the TV screen. 
          Cockatiels are especially fond of watching television programs featuring other birds or music. They like to see flying birds a lot, in my experience!

          How can I calm my stressed cockatiel?

          First, check if there’s a stressor in its environment and remove it. Move towards the bird slowly and talk to it in a calming tone. 
          Next, provide it with some stimulation to keep it entertained. It could be music, a TV show to watch, toys, a puzzle to solve, etc.

          Do birds like human songs?

          Birds, in general, enjoy human songs. They also have their likes and dislikes in music, just like humans, and do not like every kind of human music. 
          Melodious and soft music seems to entertain them the most,  and they also seem to like vocals that they can follow along with.

          Wrapping up

          Being a bird owner is more fun when your pet enjoys the same things that you do – like music and dance. 

          I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun playing music to your cockatiel and watching it dance. 

          I hope you found this article worthwhile – just be careful not to play loud music and stick to the right genres!

          Photo of author

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