How do I know if my Cockatoo is happy?

Two cockatoos

cockatooHappy cockatoo has captured the heart of bird enthusiasts around the world due to their various characteristics. They are also very beautiful and adorable with their plumage having different shades of beautiful colors.

This bird is also very intelligent, they can learn to speak some of the words you tell to them and even learn to do some tricks.

Cockatoos are very good companion birds with a lot of body language which signifies their mood whether happy or sad, mad or moody. However, it is very hard to detect this bird’s mood especially if you are a new cockatoo owner.

Unlike regular pets such as dogs and cats that can easily show when they are happy, dogs will wiggle their tail, jump on you and try to kiss when they are happy while cats will try to jump and sit on your lap. But this isn’t the same for cockatoos.

Knowing if your cockatoo is happy is very complex, it might require reading a series of articles and taking a lot of time to observe them. Although, in this article, I will be revealing all you need to look out for to know if your cockatoo is happy or not. This article will turn you from a novice to an expert in the aspect of reading cockatoos’ moods.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the main article “How do I know if my cockatoo is happy?”

How do I know if my cockatoo is happy?

There are a series of ways to detect a happy cockatoo but the best and the most reliable way is from their body language and vocalization. Cockatoo doesn’t speak like humans rather they use their body parts such as eyes, plumage, and crest to do the talking.
Let’s discuss these two points (Cockatoo body language and Vocalization) extensively.

Cockatoo Body Language

When your cockatoo is happy, they show a series of signs such as

  • They present their head for scratching: When your cockatoo is happy and comfortable around you, it will try to present its head for scratching.

Although, this also occurs when they are sick, they will feel lethargic and always bow their heads. If your cockatoo is bowing his head for a long time and you also notice other visible signs of sickness, that simply means they are not feeling well.

  • They raise their crest feather and fly around: When your cockatoo is happy, it will try to get your attention by raising its crest feather and flapping it while making noise.

They usually do this when they want to assert their dominance, especially when they see another bird around. They display their crest feather to show how big and strong they are. It is also a sign of overconfidence when they do it often, you need to be wary of it because they might be overconfident and will start to bite you anytime you do something they don’t like.

  • They dance to any music or sound that is being played: Cockatoos are very happy and social birds. You may find your happy cockatoo bopping his head and moving his leg to the rhythm of a song.
  • They snuggle through your chest and try to rest on your shoulder: Your happy cockatoo will huddle through your chest and try to rest on your shoulder. Doing this shows that your bird is very comfortable around you. You might even be lucky to receive a kiss or a peck on your cheek from this adorable bird.
  • They engage in any fun activities with you: A playful Cockatoo is a happy one. When these birds are happy, they will engage in fun activities such as swinging, climbing, and playing with toys.
  • They preen their feathers: Preening is a natural phenomenon that happens in birds. It is a condition that involves shedding out some or part of their feather leaving them with a new plumage that is free from dirt or parasites. Preening occurs mostly when the bird is happy and comfortable. Your happy cockatoo might preen often because they are happy.
  • They flash and pin their eyes when you are approaching them: Cockatoos can control their iris, and they can adjust them to tell their mood. If your cockatoo flashes his eye and pin on you while you are approaching him, it is a sign of affection and it means they are happy to see you.

However, flashing and pining of eyes might also be a sign of aggression so you need to be very observant and check their other body movements while they do this.

If you notice all this body language from your cockatoo, it means they are happy and feeling comfortable. Apart from all these signs, you can also detect a happy cockatoo through vocalization.

Vocalization of Cockatoo

  • Singing and whistling: A happy Cockatoo usually sings and whistles, they may sing along when you play a sound or music around them. Cockatoos do this when they are happy and also to get your attention.
  • They chatter and mutter some words: Cockatoos are very intelligent and they can mimic sounds or words. A happy cockatoo might try to say a word they’ve heard you utter before. They do this to impress you and also to get your attention. if you walk past their cage, they will try to mutter some words to get your attention.
  • They make sounds by tongue clicking: Cockatoos also make sounds by clicking their tongue against their beak. This sound is used to get your attention and they do this mostly when they need you around them.

They might also make this sound when they are alone just to entertain themselves but most of the time they do it when they need you around them.

All these signs indicate happiness in a cockatoo. Your cockatoo not showing these signs doesn’t mean they are unhappy either.

How to know if my cockatoo is unhappy

These are the signs you should check out for when trying to detect if your cockatoo is unhappy.

  • Growling aggressively: An unhappy cockatoo will growl aggressively, this might be because they have been threatened by another pet or something in the environment. Don’t approach them when you notice this because they might be destructive and try to bite you.
  • Loud screaming and screeching: This is a sign that your cockatoo is not happy. This happens most when they are bored because you don’t give them much attention. Don’t approach them until they stop to screech. Give them treats and rewards them when they stop making the annoying sound. Doing this will make them learn that screeching and screaming is a bad habits.
  • Showing less interest in fun activities: An unhappy cockatoo will also show less interest in fun activities. They will feel lethargic and uninterested in anything you do.
  • Change in body language: Pay proper attention to your dog’s body language as it is a very crucial thing that tells us the state and mood of our bird. When you notice that they are agitated, frightened, lethargic, etc. it means they are unhappy. When you notice these signs, pet them, buy them toys, and make them feel loved.

How can I make my cockatoo happy?

If you notice that your cockatoo is unhappy, there are a lot of things you can do to make them happy and some of these include:

  • Providing a large cage or aviary for them: This will make your cockatoo move freely without any hindrance. A large cage or aviary will make your bird flex his wing and explore.
  • Socialize your cockatoo: Cockatoo is a social birds they are also very demanding and they crave plenty of attention from their owner. As a cockatoo owner, you should spend enough time with your bird, buy them toys and engage them in interesting activities, with this, they will feel loved and happy.
  • Provide them with a good diet: A healthy cockatoo is a happy one. Buy good and quality fruits, vegetables, and grains for your bird. Provide them with supplements such as calcium and vitamins also to ensure overall wellbeing
  • Provide plenty of toys for them: Cockatoos like to play with toys. Endeavor to provide your cockatoo with plenty of toys. This will help to stimulate them mentally and also make them active.
  • Ensure their cage is clean and well maintained: always clean your cockatoo cage. A clean living area will be free from bacteria or parasites that can affect your bird’s health

By following all these tips, you will ensure that your bird lives a happy and healthy life.

Final thought

Cockatoos are generally loud birds but you should know that not all cockatoos will have the same personalities. Some cockatoos might be less active, timid, and shy, they might not show any of these signs meanwhile they are happy. However, it is very uncommon to see a timid cockatoo because this bird is known to be very active and sociable.

I believe with this article; I have been able to provide an answer to the query “How do I know if my cockatoo is happy”

Before you go, you can also read:


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