Are Cockatoos Loud? (Find Out)

Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Ali Shahid

Cockatoos are awesome birds known for their cool looks and lively personalities. Lots of bird lovers and folks who have them as pets dig these birds. But there is something about them that makes people curious and sometimes concerned – their loud chatter. No kidding, cockatoos are the champs when it comes to being the noisiest pet bird. 

Their squawks can hit decibel levels as high as a rock concert. This loud talking isn’t just random; it’s a big deal in their social world. It’s how they chat with their bird buddies. Find out why cockatoos are so loud, what their squawks mean, and what you might deal with if you own one. 

Whether you’re into birds, thinking about getting a cockatoo, or just curious about these awesome creatures, this guide spills the beans on the noisy and lively world of cockatoos.

Are Cockatoos Loud

The Volume of Cockatoos’ Calls

Cockatoos are famous for their noisy and unique way of talking. The loudest among them, the Moluccan cockatoo, can hit an average decibel range of 120-135. To give you an idea, human laughter is about 65 decibels, normal talking is around 60 decibels, a thunderclap is 120 decibels, an air raid siren is 135 decibels, and a jet engine or fireworks can go up to 155 decibels. In comparison, even the loudest macaws reach around 105 decibels, which is like a nearby helicopter or a big drum.

Cockatoos are like vocal chameleons – they can copy almost any sound, including words. But how well they talk depends on their type and how much training they get. Galah, sulfur-crested, and long-billed cockatoos are considered top talkers. However, some cockatoos might shout the words they learn, causing a ruckus with neighbors and guests.

These birds use their loud calls for many reasons, like recognizing their flock mates, giving a heads-up about danger, expressing feelings, sticking together, and defending their nests. They can even hiss when they feel threatened. 

Just to put things in perspective, a vacuum cleaner runs at about 70 decibels, a dishwasher at 75 decibels, and a washing machine at 78 decibels. So, when a cockatoo’s call goes up to 135 decibels, it’s way louder than these everyday sounds in our homes.

Male Cockatoo vs female Cockatoo: Which is more louder?

Bird experts and owners differ in their opinions regarding which cockatoos are louder – males or females. However, experts generally lean towards male cockatoos being the noisier ones, especially during the breeding season when they crank up their vocal game to attract mates. This idea is backed by the fact that Moluccan Cockatoos, known as the loudest birds globally, can hit a whopping 135 decibels, hinting that males might be the louder bunch.

Bird owners buzzing on forums and discussion boards, share a mix of experiences. Some say there’s not much of a difference in noise levels between male and female birds. On the flip side, some owners claim that their female cockatiels or cockatoos can match, or even outdo, the volume of males. It’s also pointed out that a bird’s individual personality is a big player in how vocal they are – you might find a quiet male or a chatty female.

While there’s general agreement that males might be a bit louder, especially when they’re feeling romantic, the unique personality of each bird is a key factor in how much noise they make. And don’t forget, things like how much attention the bird gets can also turn up or down the volume.

Are Cockatoos Loud in the Morning?

Absolutely, cockatoos can get quite vocal in the morning. It’s actually a natural thing for them – mornings and evenings are when they’re most chatty. This vocal behavior is in their nature and is a crucial part of how they communicate. 

Being social birds, cockatoos use loud calls to talk to their flock. This includes things like mating calls, staking out their territory, and just chatting with the gang. They might belt out a good scream to let other cockatoos know where they are or if there’s any potential trouble nearby. So, if you wake up to the sound of a lively cockatoo in the morning, it’s just them doing their normal, talkative thing.

Are Cockatoos Loud at Night?

Yes, cockatoos can make a racket at night. Normally, they catch some sleep when it’s dark, but sudden disturbances like strange sounds or shadows can ruffle their feathers and lead to some loud chit-chat. Cockatoos are social beings, and their vocalizations are just their way of talking to others, a natural part of who they are. 

If your cockatoo is squawking up a storm at night, it might be feeling a bit lonely from not getting enough attention during the day or feeling stressed in its surroundings. 

To keep the nighttime noise down, make sure your cockatoo gets plenty of love and attention in the daytime and set up an environment that’s comfy and interesting for them. Keep in mind, though, that each bird is different, so it might take a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best for you and your feathered friend.

Factors Influencing Cockatoo Loudness

Cockatoo Vocal Patterns Based on Time of Day

Cockatoos tend to be most vocal in the mornings and evenings, a behavior rooted in their natural instincts for communication. This rhythmic vocal activity during specific time frames is considered normal and inherent to their social interactions.

Influence of Environment and Social Settings on Cockatoo Noise Levels

The volume of a cockatoo’s vocalizations can be significantly influenced by its surroundings and social interactions. Changes in the household environment or the presence of other birds can trigger variations in their noise levels. For example, certain parrots may become more vocal when family members arrive home or when the owner is on the phone. The social nature of cockatoos means that their vocalizations serve multiple purposes, including recognizing one another, alerting to potential threats, and expressing individual moods. Furthermore, microhabitat characteristics and alterations in these features, such as seasonal roost switching, play a role in shaping cockatoo vocal activity.

Diverse Loudness Levels Among Cockatoo Species

There exists a range of loudness among different cockatoo species. For instance, the Moluccan cockatoo’s screech reaches approximately 129 decibels or even more, almost equivalent to the noise generated by a jet engine. Conversely, species like the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo are known for their loud calls and piercing screeches. In comparison, the vocal range of a macaw is limited to 105 dB, making cockatoos generally louder. It is crucial to note that individual variations in behavior exist, and not all cockatoos exhibit the same level of vocal intensity.

6 Reasons Why Cockatoos Are Loud

 Here are some reasons why cockatoos are loud:

1. Communication through Vocalizations

Cockatoos, recognized for their noisy nature, employ loud vocalizations to communicate various messages within their social structure. These vocalizations serve purposes such as mating calls, territorial announcements, and interactions within their flock. Emitting loud screams enables them to convey their location, and potential threats, and ensure communication over considerable distances. This is especially crucial for alerting the flock about dangers or the status of separated or frightened members.

2. Behavioral Expressions through Vocalizations

Loud vocalizations also function as a means of behavioral expression for cockatoos. They emit alarm calls in response to perceived dangers, express excitement through cheerful calls, and seek attention with distinctive calls when they desire interaction. For instance, a cockatoo might exhibit heightened vocal activity out of sheer joy during playful moments, with such behavior being more pronounced around dawn and sunset.

3. Domestication and Human Interaction in Vocalization

Domestication and interaction with humans significantly impact cockatoo vocalization. Capable of mimicking human speech to a certain extent, cockatoos learn to talk as a means of communication with their human caretakers. This behavior stems from their social nature, seeking to be part of the human “flock.” In noisy households, cockatoos might mimic the ambient noise level to fit in and garner attention from their human companions.

4. Role of Domestication in Vocalization

The process of domestication further shapes the vocalization of cockatoos. In the wild, they acquire natural vocalization from their parents. When brought into human homes, humans become their “surrogate parents,” motivating them to imitate human sounds. The ability to talk emerges as they realize its effectiveness in communicating needs and desires to their human caretakers.

5. Attention-seeking behavior through Vocalizations

Cockatoos, renowned for their attention-seeking tendencies, utilize loud vocalizations as a means to attract notice. When feeling neglected or bored, they may resort to screaming as a strategy to capture the attention of their caretakers.

6. Imitation of Sounds as a Form of Communication

With a remarkable ability to mimic diverse sounds, including human words, cockatoos employ imitation as a form of communication and interaction with their human caretakers. This skill enhances their ability to connect with humans within their social setting.

Managing Cockatoo Noise in a Domestic Setting

Cockatoos are notorious for their loud vocalizations, presenting a challenge for those sharing a living space with them. However, there are effective strategies to ease the noise and create a more harmonious coexistence.

Training Techniques for Noise Reduction

Addressing excessive noise from your cockatoo involves implementing training techniques that reinforce quiet behavior. When your cockatoo becomes noisy, practice ignoring the loudness or temporarily leaving the room for at least 10 seconds. This communicates to the bird that such behavior is undesirable. Conversely, positively reinforce quiet moments with treats and verbal praise. Clicker training, marking the exact moment of desirable behavior with a clicker sound, can also be beneficial. This helps the cockatoo associate the clicker noise with positive outcomes, encouraging quieter conduct.

Significance of Enrichment and Mental Stimulation

Enrichment and mental stimulation play a pivotal role in a cockatoo’s well-being and can contribute to noise reduction. In the wild, parrots face daily mental challenges in seeking food, avoiding predators, and interacting with their flock. Replicating this level of mental engagement in a domestic setting helps keep cockatoos occupied, reducing the likelihood of loud vocalizations due to boredom or frustration. Various forms of enrichment include:

  1. Diverse Toys: Offer a range of toys, including foraging toys, destructible toys, puzzle/manipulative toys, and teach & learn toys.
  2. Interactive Games: Engage in activities that stimulate interaction between you and your cockatoo.
  3. Novel Food Presentation: Introduce new foods in creative ways to stimulate interest.
  4. Training Sessions: Teach your bird new words, phrases, and songs through training sessions.
  5. Contextual Communication: Talk to your birds in context, fostering a sense of interaction.
  6. Trick Training: Train your bird to perform tricks, providing mental challenges.
  7. Outings: Introduce your bird to new environments and people by taking them on outings.

By incorporating these strategies into daily interactions, you can create a more enjoyable living environment with your talkative cockatoo.

Tips for Potential Cockatoo Owners on Managing Noise

Before welcoming a cockatoo into your home, it’s crucial to acknowledge their inherent loudness. While some level of noise is natural for these creatures, there are effective strategies to manage and create a harmonious living environment:

  1. Establish Clear Boundaries Early On Set boundaries with your bird from a young age, offering outlets for expending excess energy and ensuring adequate mental stimulation. This proactive approach can contribute to more controlled behavior.
  2. Soundproof Your Living Space: Minimize noise disruptions by incorporating soundproofing measures. This may involve installing noise-canceling tiles, adding extra rugs, and strategically placing furniture to absorb sound, creating a quieter atmosphere.
  3. Utilize Noise Masking Techniques: Employ noise masking techniques like playing music or white noise to cover ambient sounds, potentially reducing your bird’s vocalizations. This can create a more peaceful auditory environment.
  4. Strategically Schedule Activities: Plan activities such as bath times during periods when you need your cockatoo to be quieter. These moments, triggering preening and napping can be strategically scheduled to align with your preferences for a quieter atmosphere.
  5. Avoid Reinforcing Undesired Behavior: If your cockatoo becomes excessively loud, refrain from inadvertently reinforcing the behavior by acknowledging it or returning to the room immediately. This helps discourage the persistence of undesirable vocalizations.
  6. Recognize Individual Differences: Understand that each bird is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Patience and experimentation are key to discovering the combination of strategies that effectively manage noise levels and suit both you and your cockatoo.

By incorporating these thoughtful approaches, you can proactively address and manage the expected noise level of a cockatoo in your home, fostering a more enjoyable and peaceful coexistence.

Conclusion

Cockatoos are famous for being noisy talkers, and they make a lot of different sounds for different reasons. They use these sounds to chat with their bird group, express themselves, and interact with people. Cockatoos are social birds, and they make loud noises to talk to their group about things like finding a mate, marking their territory, and just hanging out with each other. 

They also make loud sounds to show how they’re feeling, like yelling when they’re scared, making excited noises when they’re happy, or calling for attention when they want to be with someone.

When cockatoos live with people, they can learn to copy human words and sounds, but they might not get it perfect. They figure out how to talk because they realize it helps them talk to their human friends and tell them what they want. If they live in a noisy house, they might even copy the loudness to fit in.

But, having a noisy cockatoo at home can be tricky. There are ways to train them, like giving them treats when they’re quiet and ignoring them when they’re loud. Also, keeping them busy and giving them things to think about can help control the noise. People thinking about having a cockatoo as a pet should think about making their home soundproof, using tricks to cover up the noise, and planning activities for times when they want the bird to be quiet.

Author

  • Dr. Anees Ashraf

    He is a veterinarian by profession currently working in a vet clinic. He loves to treat and breed parrots to produce different mututions.

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