If you haven’t had time to get your cockatiel DNA-tested, look for common behavior signs that can tell you if your cockatiel is male or female.
Female Cockatiel Behavior
Gentle Nature: Female cockatiels are more likely to be gentle and not as attention seeking.
Talking: Female cockatiels generally do not talk and tend to whistle less than male cockatiels.
Vocalization/Sounds: Female cockatiels will call to you when you leave a room and will call to other cockatiels in your neighborhood. They make the normal cockatiel “wheeeeep” sound.
Masturbation: While perched or backed into a corner of the cage, a hen will raise her tail up, slightly droop her wings and emit rolling coo vocalizations (unlike any other cockatiel vocalizations).
Egg Laying: A female cockatiel – even one kept as a single pet – may lay eggs. She will generally lay one egg every two days until she has a complete clutch of five eggs. To stop this behavior, allow her to sit on the eggs for about 10 days before taking them away. (If you immediately take the eggs away, she might continue to lay more eggs). Discourage further nesting by reducing her hours of daylight to 10 to 12 hours.
Brooding: Female and male cockatiel share egg incubation and chick-rearing duties. Even a male cockatiel kept as a single male may choose a small object as his “egg” and sit on it as well as defending his “nest” area vigorously.
Male Cockatiel Behavior
Outgoing Personality: Male cockatiels are in your face. They want to be petted now and may bite if you don’t get the message. Keep your guy busy, and teach him how to ask for things he wants.
Cocky Strutting: Male cockatiels hop and then stop to vocalize.
Woodpecker Imitation: Male cockatiels tend to peck furiously at a perch, especially when a female cockatiel is near.
Talking: From initial gurgling noises and imitating speech cadence, to learning to say words, typically only the male cockatiel learns to talk.
Whistling: Mostly male cockatiels learn to whistle. The wolf whistle is a common call most male cockatiels can learn.
Masturbation: A male cockatiel will rub his vent (bottom) on a perch, toy or even a person’s hand.
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Excerpt from the Popular Birds Series magabook Cockatiels with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Cockatiels here.