Many people don’t realize that their cockatiels behavior does mean something. You can interpret and understand what your pet cockatiel is conveying to you by becoming familiar with his personality and actions. This begins to happen as you are around your cockatiel every day and become bonded with him. Just like we can interpret what our spouse or friends are conveying to us by the way they look at us or by their facial expressions, so too, you can understand what your cockatiel is saying to you.
As we humans can easily interpret facial expressions, we can interpret cockatiel behavior by their crest feathers. The crest is the group of long feathers at the top of the head. These feathers and what they convey about cockatiels are similar to facial expressions in humans.
When your cockatiel is quiet, content and happy, his crest feathers will lay flat with the tips pointed upwards. Other actions that tell you your cockatiel is content and happy include singing, warbling, grinding his beak and resting on one foot.
When your cockatiel has his crest raised vertically, it means he is alert, interested and ready for action. Cockatiels are very lively and curious birds, so the majority of the time his crest will be in this position.
If your cockatiel’s crest is straight up with the tips slightly forward, this means he is in a state of agitation. If something alarms him or puzzles him, he will assume this position and may screech the problem is too alarming to him. His eyes will be wide open and he will look around nervously.
If your cockatiel is very agitated his crest feathers will lay straight back, his head will be raised and he will hiss, bite or lunge. When a cockatiel is extremely agitated like this he will either assume a flight or fight position depending on what he thinks the situation warrants.
These are just a few of the behavior characteristics of cockatiels. Once you become familiar with them as you tame your cockatiel and get to know him, you can take appropriate responsive action to them to assure that your cockatiel is happy and well behaved.