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Thread: Cockatiel Body Language

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    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Cockatiel Body Language

    Originally posted by PhoenixK

    Hmm, body language... Here's an illustrated guide! ^_^

    Bird's crest is all the way up = scared or surprised, usually. I've heard it can also mean excited, but I've never seen it used in that way.

    Bird's crest is flattened against the head = might mean that your bird is angry. If he does this and gets little bunchy eyebrows and tries to bite, then yeah, he's mad. ^_^ They might also get "skinny" while doing this.

    Bird suddenly gets really tall and "skinny" = usually means very surprised/startled. A lot of times this is accompanied by the crest going up all the way. It might look like his crop is sucked in.

    Bird bobs his head = in a young or recently weaned bird, it usually means he's hungry. In older birds, it might mean that they want attention. But this is a more common action among young birds.

    Bird has a "big chest" = it's when a bird holds his wings slightly away from his sides so it looks like his chest is sticking out. If you look at him from the back, his wings form a heart shape. They usually do this when they're showing off and bragging. Also when they're pleasantly excited. This seems to be mostly a male behavior -- correct me if I'm wrong.


    Bird lowers his head and keeps it there = Be honored! It probably means your birdie wants you to pet him!

    Bird stoops low with wings held out halfway, sometimes leaning forward = If your bird is clipped, then it means he wants to fly somewhere (often towards you) but isn't confident enough to take off. An unclipped bird would usually fly without hesitation.

    Bird holds his wings outstretched all the way when standing on top of the cage/gym = has something to do with "property ownership." They're saying "This is mine!"

    Bird bangs his beak on a hard object (or on you ^_^) = similar to the thing above. This is common with male cockatiels. It looks like they're "pecking," sometimes with an open beak. Again, "this is mine!" If you start tapping your finger in front of him while he's doing this, you can start a war!

    Bird steps back and forth very quickly (sometimes accompanied by short chirps) = bird is very eager. Often done inside the cage when the bird wants to come out.

    Bird puts his beak on your finger before stepping on = this might look like a mini bite, but he's actually just testing the surface of your finger to make sure it's sturdy, or he's using it as a balancing aid while climbing on.

    Bird grinds his beak = you'll usually notice this more by the sound than the visual. Your bird is probably content and relaxed. This is often done before they go to sleep or take a nap.

    Bird jumps onto your chest, runs into your face, and sticks his chest or beak into your face = your bird wants to cuddle. Cute!

    Bird turns his head sideways and tilts it up or down = he is looking at something up high or down below. Because of their eye positioning and the way they move, this is how they look at these things. A lot of times, the bird is looking at his own fluff floating in the air. Sometimes this is also done with sounds, but it's not as common.

    Bird "wags her tail" when you pet near her tail = this is more common with female birds. It means stop petting her over there because you're turning her on, and you don't want her to start laying eggs. ^_^

    Bird rubs his/her butt on an object (often accompanied by chirping) = your bird is masturbating. Yippee. You don't need to worry about this for a little while. ^_^

    Bird turns his head backwards and closes eyes = bedtime. Sometimes they don't turn their head backwards. If they're going to sleep, they'll usually rest on just one foot.

    While cuddling, bird has one eye closed and one eye opened = usually, the eye facing you is closed, and the eye facing the rest of the world is opened. He's relaxed and content, but is still alert enough to want to keep a look out.

    Bird remains puffed for long periods of time (often also staying at the bottom of his cage) = your bird is probably not feeling well and needs to see a vet.

    Bird yawns many many times in a row = often done after preening. It could be that he's readjusting his crop or that he got a bit of down stuck in his throat. Either way, it's normal.

    Bird shakes head rapidly = if done while eating, it could mean that the food has a surprising taste, temperature, or moisture level. If done when listening to the sound, it could mean that it's a tad too loud or sharp or high-pitched, or just that it's an interesting sound.

    Bird wipes his head on his back (rolly head) = it's a normal part of preening. Feel that part of their back, and your fingers will get very powdery. They're distributing that stuff to their head.

    Bird stoops down low and often gets a bit puffy = this is a sign that your bird is about to go to the bathroom. Get a napkin, quick! You'll learn to recognize this soon enough!

    During a bath, bird gets very puffy and holds his wings out, etc. = your bird is enjoying his bath!

    During a shower, your bird looks like he's falling asleep = again, he's enjoying himself!

    Bird sticks his finger in his nare, then sneezes = he's just trying to clear out his nostrils or something. It's normal.

    Bird gets a slightly puffy face/ears when listening to something = bird likes what he's hearing! Ebo did this a lot when I used to tell him certain things. He later learned to say these things.

    Bird raises both wings above his back = bird is stretching.

    Bird holds out one wing and one foot behind him = bird is stretching.
    Last edited by ~Lori~; 08-30-2010 at 06:04 PM. Reason: deleting dead links

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