As the U.S.’s favorite bird, the cockatiel’s talent lies in its whistle. Male cockatiels are more inclined to come up with elaborate songs; either made up, renditions of popular songs or mixtures of both. Indeed, a home with a cockatiel can sound like one with piped-in Muzak; a cockatiel can turn practically any song into a whistled version.
Cockatiels can also be the perfect cuddle bug, often preferring to perch on their favorite person’s shoulder, and play with their hair or nibble on their jewelry. Female cockatiels have a reputation for being particularly friendly and easy going. Of course, for your cockatiel to want to spend time with you, you’re going to have to earn and maintain its trust.
A cockatiel is pretty good at expressing its mood. A cockatiel that wishes to interact is likely to jump to the front of its cage in anticipation of interaction when you approach. Another time, another day, that same cockatiel might not budge from its perch and instead hiss at you if it doesn’t want interaction. A happy cockatiel is likely to break out into song, especially if it has a mirror to look into (or any reflective surface, including appliances, glass photo frames and metal cabinets).
Cockatiels in the wild are ground foragers, meaning that they fly to the ground to forage for food. A companion cockatiel will happily eat from a bowl, but it will also enjoy “foraging” for treats sprinkled on the floor of its cage. (If your bird’s cage has a wire grate, cover it with paper so the food doesn’t fall through, or remove the grate temporarily for foraging time.)