Our pet cockatiel parrot has a habit of sitting on his perch "wagging his tail” back and forth seemingly rubbing his bottom area. He also holds a nearby toy close to him with the other foot not on the perch. Our cockatiel is not distracted when we ask him what he is doing. Is this male cockatiel sexual behavior? If so, should we just let our ‘tiel go at it or what? Also, our cockatiel has tried doing this on my hand before. Is this all normal?
Yes, this is normal male cockatiel sexual behavior. Cockatiels are one of the sweetest, most delightful companion parrots, but both female and male ‘tiels can exhibit a great deal of sexual behavior.
The sexual self-stimulation should neither be encouraged nor discouraged. If your cockatiel views a toy as a mate, it might help to remove the toy from the cage. However, this may only deter the behavior temporarily until your ‘tiel finds another source for his devotion. If a cockatiel has developed a sexual bond with his human caregiver, it would not be unusual for the ‘tiel to rub himself on the person’s hand. When he does this, I recommend quietly placing your ‘tiel on a stand or his cage without any drama.
Excerpt from the Popular Birds Series magabook Cockatiels with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Cockatiels here.