Why Your Cockatiel Is Hissing And What You Should Do

Why is my cockatiel hissing?Has your cockatiel been hissing a lot lately? Having a beautiful pet bird such as a cockatiel is indeed a proud feeling, but taking care of this beautiful creature is equally important to keep them healthy and happy! Since cockatiels are born communicators, you will find it easier to figure out if your cockatiel is uncomfortable if it makes weird sounds such as hissing.

Why is my cockatiel hissing? The most straightforward answer to why your cockatiel is hissing is that cockatiels often express their discontent or discomfort through this awkward noise. The sound usually means that your cockatiel is either feeling irritated, scared or distressed, and there may be a number of reasons behind this.

Cockatiels love to communicate, and if they have been hissing frequently, it indicates that something is not right! Before you can set things straight for your new pal, it is important to identify the reason behind their current behavior.

What Are the Reasons?

As highlighted earlier, cockatiels usually produce a hissing sound when they are in discomfort or feel threatened. Some common reasons behind hissing that apply to both, male and female cockatiels, include:

  • When they do not wish to be petted
  • When they feel intimidated by another animal or person (If you have a cat and a Cockatiel, you should read our article on that here.)
  • When they feel threatened
  • When you have placed something in their cage and they do not like it
  • When they do not like what you are feeding them
  • When you have just bought an un-socialized cockatiel into your home, and it is not used to interacting with people.
  • When they are simply in a mood (Yes… Birds can be in a mood too!)

Female cockatiels may have a number of different reasons to produce a hissing sound. You will find most female cockatiels hissing when you are close to their nesting site, or when they feel that you are trying to attack their nest.

The hissing sound is a kind of a warning to the intruders to stay away. Most females will also try to avoid confrontation at any cost, and will, therefore, try to intimidate their threat with their hissing sound. It is to keep the scavengers away.

If the hissing is persistent, and the predator calls her bluff, the mother cockatiel may become extremely aggressive and flap her wings. In some cases, the female cockatiel also flies away.

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    If you see this behavior plus your Cockatiel is sitting at the bottom of the cage, your Cockatiel might try to lay eggs. Read more on that in this article.

    How to Identify if My Cockatiel is Angry?

    Cockatiels usually display behavior of discomfort when they are unsatisfied, or not in the right mood. We humans display this negative feeling by getting angry, frowning, and even lashing out at the person in front of us.

    Cockatiels, being highly intelligent birds that have the ability to communicate well with their surroundings, do this by making different sounds.

    When they are about to hiss, they usually pull back their crest fully up, open their beak slightly and then produce the hissing sound that might scare you at first.

    You should also stay away from your cockatiel when its crest is flat since this shows that it may be angry, aggressive or even ready to attack.Cockatiel Hissing Reasons

    What Should I Do if My Cockatiel is Hissing?

    The immediate response to your hissing cockatiel should be to back off and stay away as far as you can. The hissing sound can actually be referred to as a “Leave Me Alone!” noise, a way of showing his / her disdain.

    You would want to avoid the hissing sound at all costs, but if you still experience this, the best thing to do is to give the bird some room. It is probably tired of humans hanging around his / her cage.

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      You should also make sure that you do not force interaction when your cockatiel is frightened and give it time to adjust.

      Furthermore, you should also avoid feeding your cockatiel when it is hissing since it can bite you out of frustration. Their bites can hurt a bit as we show you in this article.

      When your bird calms down, you can attempt to reach for them in their cage and ask them to step onto your hand. If they comply, you should praise them and reward them with a treat.

      This type of positive reinforcement practiced 3 to 4 times every day can keep your cockatiel in a good mood, and you out of the danger zone.

      Can Hissing Be a Good Sign?

      If you have read this somewhere, you are a loving and caring pet owner. Most bird owners do not do their research or attempt to resolve the issues their pet birds may have, and this is when they lead their pet towards feeling unhappy.

      Yes, hissing can be a sign of excitement sometimes, especially with baby cockatiels. Baby cockatiels do not actually hiss, but emit a sound that is similar and is heard more commonly when hand-fed babies are fed. The sound is their way of communicating that they are full and content.

      Adult male cockatiels also hiss during courtship, which is interpreted as positive and non-aggressive behavior. They make this sound before their courtship call, and it is followed by their head bobbing and also a beautiful melody.

      Some male cockatiels will even incorporate this behavior in their courtship display.

      How Can I Get My Cockatiel to Trust Me?

      For cockatiels, trust is often difficult since they may be living in adverse conditions in a pet shop and must be looked at by humans all day, every day. They might also not enjoy the comfort of darkness in pet shops because of the display lights.

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        Therefore, when you have brought a cockatiel home, give him/her some time to adjust to the new environment. You can take it to the veterinarian to trim her wings so that when he/she is comfortable and comes out of its cage, she only flies to you.

        Do not attempt to force friendship on your cockatiel since they will only build trust after they are comfortable. Until then, you will be met with hissing and flapping wings when you come closer to their cage.

        Cockatiels are beautiful tropical birds that are fun to own, and even more fun if you like interaction with pets. You will face difficulties at first, but you and your cockatiel will get used to each other once it starts feeling comfortable and safe!

        Actually, Cockatiels are one of the most friendly pet birds. In this article, we show you 7 facts that show how friendly Cockatiels actually are!

        Related Questions

        How do I find out it if my cockatiel likes me?
        Cockatiels are known to be social and friendly pet birds, so if it is chirping a lot or seeking interaction, it indicates that your pet bird likes you and is inclined towards interacting with you. If its crest feathers are laying back naturally, it indicates your pet bird trusts and adores you.

        How do I find out if my cockatiel is happy?
        If your cockatiel is happy and content, it will wag its tail more often and come closer to you when you’re standing nearby. Excessive talking also indicates that your pet bird is happy and content in their new home.

        Why is my cockatiel spreading its wings?
        If your cockatiel is spreading its wings, this indicates that your pet bird is feeling happy, blissful and joyful. Sometimes, they do this to exercise their wings whilst remaining inside the cage or when they are in the mood to play.

        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 beautyofbirds.com, 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.

        4 thoughts on “Why Your Cockatiel Is Hissing And What You Should Do”

        1. Hey Pierre,
          My name is Jodi and I thank you for the info in this article. I kind of have a forced adoption of a 23 year old female cockatiel. Trying to get to know her a little. She has only ventured out of her cage once, but it is to my understanding that her owner doesn’t allow her out, even when she is cleaning the cage. “Rosie” did seem to like it when she found a wooden leg on a chair to perch. She doesn’t like anyone coming near her yet.

        2. Gm I just bought a cockatiel (female) and she’s hissing and not eating?? I’ve been talking to her and trying to let her know she’s safe and ok. She’s been w me now for 2 days and I don’t know if I should take her back or give her a little time to adjust. I’m concerned because she’s not eating help…..

        3. I was in the hospital for three weeks and now my bird is angry though he has been cared for, don’t know what to do

        4. Hi.
          Thank you for the e-book. I want to know as much as possible to be sure my cockatiel is happy and healthy, while trying to learn about how I should behave during his adolescence.


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