6 Signs Your Cockatiel Is Relaxed & Sleepy

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

Cockatiels will show how comfortable they are through various signs.

Just like how relaxed humans flop onto the couch, fall asleep, and snore, cockatiels also have their own unique behaviours that indicate comfort. This article will cover 6 signs your cockatiel is comfortable, relaxed, and content. 

I’ll explain how to accurately identify these relaxing behaviours. 

You’ll also learn why a cockatiel would stay puffed up and sleepy all day.

Hint: It’s not laziness…

Let’s start!

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1) Cockatiel Beak Grinding

The most obvious sign of a relaxing cockatiel is beak grinding.

This is what it looks and sounds like:

(Video Credit: Parrot Post)

Kinda sounds like a “crunch crunch” noise, right?

You’ll normally hear this cute beak grinding sound when your cockatiel is relaxed and about to fall asleep.

Normally, they would preen their feathers prior to beak grinding as that’s what they do before sleeping.

Beak grinding is often done at the same time as the next behaviour on this list…

2) Cockatiel Being Puffed Up (Chonky)

Content or sleepy cockatiels will usually fluff up their feathers.

During regular activities, like foraging, the cockatiel’s feathers will appear tighter and close to its body.

However, during relaxing activities, like preening, cockatiels will loosen up their plumage, giving them a puffed up appearance.

Honestly, they look like little fat fluffy marshmallows. 

Just look at my cute puffed up boy:

Cockatiel puffed up

Doesn’t he just look nice and comfortable?

You may also notice that he’s displaying the next sign on this list…

3) Lifting One Leg Up

Humans sleep lying down…

Horses sleep standing up…

But cockatiels sleep on just one foot with the other foot raised into their fluff, like this little guy:

(Video Credit: BirdyTiel)

You can be certain that your cockatiel is relaxed if you see them on 1 foot.

That’s a very clear sign that they’re comfortable. 

Note: Don’t panic! The foot still exists, it’s just been lifted into your cockatiel’s fluffy void. 

4) Relaxed Crest

Relaxed cockatiels will display a loose, comfortable crest position.

Based on your cockatiel’s emotions, their crest will adjust either unfolding outwards or lowering back towards their heads.

A relaxed crest position will sit loosely in the middle of the head.

Just like this:

(Image Credit: Pixabay)

Notice how the crest is up but not completely straight?

That’s a content little birdy!

5) Fanned Cheek Feathers Covering The Beak

Looking at the cheek feathers is yet another way to tell if your cockatiel is relaxed.

Comfortable or sleepy cockatiels will often fluff out their cheek feathers and make them cover the bottom half of their beak.

It’s a very common cockatiel appearance.

When cockatiels fan their cheek feathers, they look like this:

cockatiel beak grinding
(Image Credit: Pixabay)

Your cockatiel is relaxed and chilling out when they look like this.

Feel free to offer a head scratch.

6) Preening

Preening is the ultimate way for cockatiels to display their comfort. 

Cockatiels would rarely lower their guard to preen themselves if they’re distressed, angry, or scared.

This is why, when you see your cockatiel preening their lovely feathers, you can be certain they’re happy and comfortable.

Look at this bird sorting out its plumage:

Wild cockatiels will ONLY preen when they think they’re safe.

And it’s the exact same thing for pet cockatiels.

Is Your Cockatiel Sick Or Just Relaxing?

I’m not trying to scare you into thinking your bird is sick simply because they took a nap, but unfortunately for us, cockatiels often show similar signs whether they’re just relaxing or actually sick.  

It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.

When our cockatiels even sleep in a weird way, it can make us panic a bit.

Do you know how often I’ve taken my cockatiel to the vet for some odd behaviour just to be told he’s completely fine?

Many times.

However, you should look out for the following behaviours:

  • Tail bobbing
  • Lack of activity throughout the day 
  • Unbalanced perching 
  • Not eating for long periods

In general, it’s always best to see an avian vet if you’re unsure about something.

Related: Cockatiel Signs Of Sickness You Should Be Aware Of

What If Your Cockatiel Is Puffed Up & Sleepy All Day?

This lethargic behaviour can indicate a number of things.

If your cockatiel is sitting around with their feathers puffed up and appear ready to go to sleep all day, it could mean:

  • They didn’t sleep well the night before
  • They have nothing else to do
  • Sickness

Hopefully, it’s one of the first two reasons.

In this case, you can ensure they get enough sleep tonight or provide them with a few more activities inside the cage.

Buy your cockatiel some new toys if you’re running low

Again, if you’re unsure and worried, see a vet.

I hope you got some value from this article.



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