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Cockatiel Night Terrors: What They Are and How to Help

cockatiel night terrors

Do you have a cockatiel that sometimes has screaming episodes at night? If so, you may be wondering what’s going on. Cockatiel night terrors can be scary for both the bird and the owner! In this blog post, we will discuss what cockatiel night terrors are, why they happen, and how to help your bird through them.

What are cockatiel night terrors?

cockatiel on wire bird cage

Cockatiel night terrors are episodes of intense fear or panic that typically happen at night. During these episodes, your cockatiel may puff up its feathers, flutter its wings, and make loud noises. Your cockatiel may also seem disoriented and may not recognize you. These episodes can last for a few seconds or up to several minutes.

There are a variety of possible causes of cockatiel night terrors, including stress, Nightmare Syndrome, and Sleep Paralysis. While night terrors can be alarming, they are not harmful to your cockatiel and do not indicate that something is wrong with your pet’s health.

Signs and Symptoms of Cockatiel Night Terrors

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of night terrors in your cockatiel is essential to understanding and helping them through these episodes. These symptoms can be categorized into physical indicators and behavioral changes.

A. Physical Indicators

nature, wildlife, bird

1. Thrashing or flapping wings: During a night terror, your cockatiel may thrash about or flap its wings violently, as if trying to escape an unseen threat.

2. Falling off perches: In their panic, cockatiels may lose their balance and fall off their perches, potentially causing injury.

3. Chirping or screaming: Your cockatiel may emit loud chirps or screams during a night terror, which can be distressing for both you and your bird.

B. Behavioral Changes


1. Increased aggression or fearfulness: Cockatiels experiencing night terrors may display increased aggression towards their owners or other birds, or they may be more fearful and timid during the day.

2. Changes in appetite or sleeping habits: Night terrors can disrupt your cockatiel’s normal appetite and sleeping patterns, leading to changes in their eating and resting behaviors.

3. Feather plucking or self-mutilation: In some cases, cockatiels may begin to pluck their feathers or engage in self-mutilation due to the stress and anxiety caused by night terrors.

Understanding these signs and symptoms can help you better support your cockatiel during and after a night terror episode, ensuring their overall well-being and comfort.


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Causes of cockatiel night terrors

There is not always a clear cause of cockatiel night terrors. However, they may be triggered by stress, changes in the environment, or illness. If your cockatiel has never had night terrors before, it is important to consult with an avian vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

How to help your cockatiel through a night terror episode

cockatiel night terrors

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to help your cockatiel during a night fright episode since your bird is not actually awake and will not respond to anything you do or say. However, there are some things you can do to make the nighttime hours more peaceful for everyone:

  1. Create a calm environment for your cockatiel before bedtime by turning off any noisy electronics and dimming the lights. Let the sleeping cage of your cockatiel be in a quiet room away from any commotion. This will help prep your cockatiel for sleep and make it less likely to be startled by sudden noises or changes in light level that could trigger a night terror episode.
  2. Have a small night light on in the room where your cockatiel sleeps so that if it does have an episode, the sudden darkness won’t make it worse. Night lights are also helpful in general for cockatiels, as they are very sensitive to changes in light level and may become agitated if it’s too dark.
  3. Provide your cockatiel with a perch or toy to cling to before bedtime so that it has something to help it feel more secure if it wakes up during the night.
  4. Keep other pets away from your cockatiel’s sleeping area, so they won’t exacerbate any existing anxiety or stress your bird may be feeling.cockatiel
  5. Make sure your cockatiel has access to plenty of water, so it stays hydrated throughout the night. Dehydration can worsen stress and anxiety levels, which could trigger a night terror episode.
  6. If your pet bird is encountering extreme night terrors, please contact an avian vet or cockatiel behaviorist for help. They can give you more specific advice on how to deal with your cockatiel’s condition.
  7. You can purchase a baby monitor to keep an eye on your scared cockatiel if you think it may have night terrors and set it in the cage room to see and hear your cockatiel if it has an episode.

When to See a Vet for Cockatiel Night Frights

cockatiel night terrors

If your cockatiel’s night frights are accompanied by other symptoms, such as weight loss, lethargy, or changes in appetite, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. These symptoms could indicate an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated. Night terrors that persist for more than a few nights or become more frequent may also warrant a trip to the vet.

Cockatiel night terrors can be alarming, but they are not harmful to your cockatiel and do not indicate that something is wrong with your pet’s health. If you think your cockatiel is experiencing night terrors, try to keep the environment calm and quiet. You may also want to provide your cockatiel with a perch or toy to help it feel more secure. If the night terrors persist or if your cockatiel appears to be ill, consult with a veterinarian.

Conclusion: Cockatiel night terrors

Bronzefallow Cockatiel

Night terrors can be scary for both you and your cockatiel but thankfully, there are some things you can do to help ease your pet’s fear and anxiety. If your cockatiel experiences a night terror episode, try talking to it in a soft voice, offering it a perch or toy to cling to, and turning on a light in the room. Most importantly, DO NOT try to hold or restrain your cockatiel during an episode as this will only increase its fear and anxiety levels. Once the episode has passed, be sure to offer plenty of love and attention to your feathered friend.


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