10 Possible Reasons Why Your Cockatiel Is Screaming - CaringForFeathers (2023)

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

Cockatiels have a lot of great qualities.

They are affectionate companions, friendly, and very playful, but there is a big downside to owning them as pets…

And that is their loud screaming.

We love our birds dearly, but we can’t help going insane during a screaming session.

Sometimes we wish we can just turn them off for a few minutes.

Although it’s annoying to us, cockatiels won’t scream loudly for long periods without a reason.

It’s up to us as responsible cockatiel owners to identify that reason and help them overcome their problem.

Solving this problem will ultimately reduce their screaming.

10 Possible Reasons Why Your Cockatiel Is Screaming - CaringForFeathers (1)

Below, you’ll find 10 possible reasons why your cockatiel is screaming.

Number 7 might surprise you…

Quick Navigation:

  • 1) Loneliness
  • 2) Boredom
  • 3) Nutrient Deficiency
  • 4) Flock Calling
  • 5) Screaming To Birds Outside
  • 6) Alert Call
  • 7) Competing With Room Volume
  • 8) Screaming In Pain
  • 9) Wanting To Fly
  • 10) It’s That Time Of The Day
  • Short Summary
  • Sources

1) Loneliness

Cockatiels are flock birds, meaning they would rarely spend any time alone in the wild.

Flock birds who are left alone without any companionship for long periods will become stressed.

These birds need constant attention from their companions to be happy.

Without enough socialization, cockatiels will become lonely and depressed which will lead to excessive screaming.

If you only have one bird in your home, your cockatiel will rely solely on you and other household members for companionship.

It is strongly recommended to have more than 1 cockatiel for this reason.

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A pair of cockatiels will keep each other company most of the day.

You can also keep them company by training them, talking with them, giving them scratches, and generally hanging out with them.

2) Boredom

Wild parrots spend around 70% of their waking hours foraging for food.

Other parts of their day include flying, grooming, and playing.

Cockatiels in the wild are rarely bored and will always have things to do.

Pet cockatiels on the other hand will finish their food within 20 minutes and can find themselves bored for the rest of the day.

Cockatiels are highly intelligent and need almost constant mental stimulation to be happy.

Without enough stimulation, they’ll become stressed and bored, which leads to screaming.

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We humans have a lot to do during our days, work, studying, and personal lives among other things.

However, our pet birds are completely reliant on us to give them things to do with their time.

Birds can’t self entertain as easily as we can.

Boredom can be overcome by providing your cockatiel with plenty of different toys.

The ideal bird toys allow them to both shred and forage for food to keep them busy as they would in the wild.

Hiding treats around the cage is also a fun idea to keep your parrot engaged.

Low on toys?

Check out these fantastic shredding toys for cockatiels.

If you don’t want to buy any toys, make some DIY toys!

3) Nutrient Deficiency

Cockatiels who are heavily deficient in certain nutrients can become stressed.

Extreme nutrient deficiencies have been known to cause birds to pluck their feathers out of stress.

Based on this, it’s safe to assume a bit of screaming would occur.

To ensure you’re feeding a proper diet, read this guide on cockatiel diets.

Always make sure you provide a large variety of vegetables to your cockatiel.

Here’s the basic diet plan of a cockatiel (recommended by my vet):

  • 40% pellet diet
  • 30% budgie seed mix
  • 20% fresh vegetables
  • 5% fresh fruit
  • 5% treats (sunflower seeds, honey sticks, nuts)

Pellets and seeds alone are not enough to make up a good diet.

Neglecting to provide any of the above foods in their approximate amounts can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

4) Flock Calling

Cockatiels who lose sight of their flock members will call out to them in an attempt to find them.

If you’ve left the room, they’re likely screaming for this reason.

This is a cockatiel flock call:

Flock calling is done by all flock birds as a way to keep track of all members’ locations.

Without flock calling, wild cockatiels can become disorientated as they lose track of their flock mates.

When your bird flock calls to you, respond back with a whistle or a word.

This will tell your cockatiel that you’re still nearby and that there is no need to panic.

If you don’t respond back to your cockatiel, they will continue screaming until they get a response.

Flock calling will typically happen when their companion leaves their sight.

5) Screaming To Birds Outside

As an owner, I can say this with confidence: cockatiels love to scream at the birds outside.

My cockatiel loves to sit near the door and scream at the birds squawking outside.

This will happen especially if you live in Australia (cockatiel’s native country).

Australia is home to many different species of parrots, such as lorikeets and cockatoos, who cockatiels love to scream at.

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If you want this screaming to stop, simply shut the windows so your cockatiel can’t hear the outside birds.

Problem solved… hopefully.

6) Alert Call

Cockatiels will go on high alert when something suddenly frightens them.

The crest will shoot all the way up and, if it’s really scary, they’ll be screaming like an alarm.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Cockatiel Crests

This intense screaming lets other flock members know there is danger nearby and to be cautious.

My cockatiel will scream like an alarm when a bird quickly flies past the window.

There’s no way to prevent your cockatiel from getting scared, these guys literally get scared of their own feathers.

All you can do is comfort them to stop their screaming.

7) Competing With Room Volume

When the volume of the room becomes loud, so will your cockatiel.

Birds have a natural desire to be heard among their flock, this will cause them to try screaming louder than the room volume.

Cockatiels will attempt to compete with loud chatter, T.V noise, and other loud sounds in the house.

Their goal is to be as loud or louder than the current volume of their environment.

To stop this, simply make sure the area is relatively quiet.

When the volume of the room is quiet, it’ll influence your bird to also be quiet.

8) Screaming In Pain

Similar to humans, cockatiels will scream in pain after an injury.

It’s pretty sad when this happens.

If the injury is serious, the screaming will be extremely loud and continuous.

You would definitely be able to tell if they’re screaming from an injury as nothing would be able to calm them down.

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Cockatiels, as you may know, are extremely clumsy.

They can easily get their nails stuck in a toy or blanket, or they can fly into a window when scared.

There are so many ways fragile birds can injure themselves.

And injuries don’t always happen in front of the owner.

A vet visit is strongly encouraged if you see your bird injure themselves, even if there are no physical signs of injury.

The cockatiel would be screaming all the way to the vet if it’s a serious injury.

The best way to prevent injuries is to bird proof the room as best you can.

Make sure there are no hazards such as fires, loose fabrics, or anything else that can hurt your bird left in the open.

See the full list of household dangers to cockatiels.

9) Wanting To Fly

I’m not sure if this happens with anyone else, but my cockatiel will scream for a while before flying.

Right before he flies around the room, my cockatiel will scream for about 10 minutes before he decides to actually take off.

I’m still not 100% sure why he does this.

I suspect it may be him looking for attention before he flies as he wants to show off his flight ability.

Whatever the reason is, he’ll stop screaming when he flies and then lands.

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Send me an email letting me know if any of your birds do this as I’ve never seen a bird scream in anticipation of flight.

10) It’s That Time Of The Day

Wild birds will vocalize at sunrise and sunset, it’s a natural instinct.

This natural instinct still exists in pet cockatiels, which causes them to scream at certain times of the day.

Mornings and nights are the more common times cockatiels scream.

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Here’s a pro tip: Take note of the time your cockatiel likes to scream and give them something else to do at that time. If you provide a new toy during their screaming time, it’ll distract them and they might forget they booked a screaming appointment.

This works all the time with my cockatiel.

11) Happy Chirps (Extra Reason)

(Here’s an extra potential reason for you 😉

Not all screams are negative.

A happy cockatiel will start singing toward their owners which can often be misinterpreted as screaming.

Happy parrots also spread their wings out while singing.

I thought this was worth mentioning as people can easily confuse this singing with screaming.

No need to stop this lovely sound. Sing with them!

Short Summary

Having a completely silent bird is not something you should aim for.

A cockatiel needs to express themselves, they do this through the variety of sounds they make, which includes screaming.

Taking steps to keep a bird completely silent might hide potential problems they may have.

When checking for problems, we only have a few things to go by:

  • Their body language
  • Their poop
  • And their vocalisation

Stopping a bird from vocalising is removing something that can indicate a problem.

Screaming and other annoying sounds are part of the pet bird package, there is no such thing as a completely silent bird.

Here’s a shorter list of the 11 reasons why cockatiels scream:

  • 1) Loneliness
  • 2) Boredom
  • 3) Nutrient Deficiency
  • 4) Flock Calling
  • 5) Screaming At The Birds Outside
  • 6) Alert Calling
  • 7) Competing With Room Volume
  • 8) Screaming In Pain
  • 9) Wanting To Fly
  • 10) It’s That Time Of The Day
  • 11) Happy Chirps

For more tips on reducing your cockatiel’s screaming, I highly recommend you read this post.

The linked article dives deep into the 2 more common reasons why cockatiels scream and most importantly, how to reduce the screaming.

I hope this was all helpful.




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