Can cockatiels talk? | How to get your cockatiels talking

black yellow and white bird on brown tree branch

Parrots’ ability to mimic sounds is arguably the most entertaining aspect of many domestic parrots. Many species have the capacity to learn phrases and songs to some extent; some talking parrots truly have amazing voices and memories. So, can cockatiels talk?

Learn all you need to know about how well cockatiels can speak and how to teach your own ‘tiel some words and songs.

Can cockatiels talk?

Short answer: yes, they can!

Short answer: yes, they can, but… There are a number of things to consider before deciding if your cockatiel can mimic sounds.

You’ll also need to bear in mind that they’re no African grey or budgie; their voices are gruff, and lengthy phrases don’t work. Simple tunes and words can be taught, although how well your cockatiel understands them depends on the type of music you play.

  • Gender. Male cockatiels, on the other hand, are the ones that make more complicated noises. They do so as a flirtation technique to attract ladies, which results in fewer vocalizations and mostly flock calls. As a result, if you want your cockatiel to learn to talk, it will most likely be a guy.
  • Age. Cockatiels, like other birds, will pick up things much faster while they are young. While older ‘tiels can learn to talk, it will be much easier to teach a younger bird.
  • Upbringing. Cockatiels that are hand-reared will be more receptive to training, as they are more people-oriented and see you as a member of the flock. You can teach a cockatiel that wasn’t hand-raised to speak, but it’ll take longer.
  • You. While the techniques you use to teach your cockatiel to speak and whistle are important, so is the motivation you have for doing so. The extent of time you’re willing to devote to your bird, as well as your own commitment, will obviously have an impact. Keep in mind that this is a long-term endeavor; it won’t happen overnight and some birds never catch on. You must practice diligently every day, especially at first, and you must not lose your temper.

How to teach a cockatiel to talk

If you’ve never taught words or music to a bird before, the suggestions below will help. Start practicing with your ‘tiel(s) while wearing your patience cap!

Before you begin training, be certain that your bird is in good health and feels at ease with your presence.

Pick your phrases

When selecting a phrase or song to teach your cockatiel, keep in mind that it must be brief. They’re not good at lengthy and complex talks.

When it comes to speaking, you don’t want to use words that the bird doesn’t understand. Things like “hi-hi!” when approaching the cage and “bye-bye” when leaving work are fine. Simple things such as “hi bird,” “beautiful bird,” or the cockatiel’s name are best.

If you’d want to play a tune for your parrot, make sure it’s not too complicated. Consider the lyrics to “if you’re happy and you know it”: just a few distinct tones that you can easily whistle to your bird or loop. If you want to know how much your cat loves you, just ask him! Make sure it’s not too annoying since they’ll be hearing it a lot! It’s easier for a bird to whistle than speak, so it might pick up tunes faster than words.

Tip: Remember that your cockatiel won’t be able to recall many of the songs and phrases you teach it, so don’t overthink it! If you do, it’s possible that it will cease repeating some of them or start creating its own mixes using its favorite music.

Female cockatiels are not strong talkers like the males are, but you can try!


  • Repetition is the key to getting your cockatiels to take. I mean, until you’re ready to blow a gasket in your own head! You should talk and whistle to your cockatiel when you’re near the cage so that it becomes familiar with your voice.
  • Positive association is when your cockatiel learns that the sound of your voice and the words you choose are associated with pleasant times, making it easier for him to learn tricks. This is called positive association, and it’s how you should go about teaching birds anything. When learning new skills, they won’t respond to negative reinforcement or punishment.
  • Take your parrot out of its cage for 10-15 minute talking/training sessions one or more times a day, in addition to chatting with it all day every day. Sit down and talk to the bird in a loud voice while giving it some head scratches. If the bird picks up any of what you’re saying, give it something delicious right.
  • If your bird doesn’t seem to be comprehending a certain word, it could dislike it or have difficulty saying it. Try switching to something simpler.
  • When you gently shake the bird up and down or side to side while it’s perched on your hand, speak to it at the same time, it will be enthused. Some cockatiels adore singing to anything, and not just something that makes sense. It may actually enjoy serenading your foot, a crumpled tissue or even food. It might also need a leaf of spinach on its head to get in the singing mood.

Tip: You can record yourself reciting your favorite phrases and play the recording to your bird throughout the day. There are also YouTube videos dedicated to teaching parrots how to talk. Personal interaction is more effective in terms of building a positive association, so keep that in mind when training your parrot.

The Cockatiel Contact Call: “Where’d you go?!”

With contact calls, a pet cockatiel will generally attempt to keep household members’ movements in check. When you depart the area, your cockatiel lets out a chirp or series of chirps, as though to ask, “Where are you going and when will you return?”Cockatiels may also contact call when they are not connected to a person they are close to. Even if you leave the room while your cockatiel is perched in its cage, it will send out a contact call from its perch location. When you turn a corner away from its view, respond to its contact call with a quick whistle.

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