Last Updated on August 8, 2023 by Ali Shahid
One of the greatest charms of owning a parrot is its talking ability. Who would not want a parrot to talk? But there are a few species of parrots that can talk and repeat human words. If you own a Cockatiel, you might be wondering.
Can Cockatiels talk?
Cockatiels can talk but not in the way you think of other parrots talking like Cockatoos, Macaws, Budgies, and African Greys. While they can mimic and repeat whistles, chirps, words, and phrases, you shouldn’t expect them to speak long sentences. In addition, they do not have clarity as do other parrots like African greys.
The Cockatiels are also known to learn some songs, music, and melodies provided they are repeated continuously in front of them. Obviously, that depends on each bird and how you teach it some words. Males are more likely to pick up words and songs, while females are more likely to chirp and whistle only.
The following information will help you understand what these feather companions can say, what their vocabulary range is, and how you can teach them.
Factors Affecting Cockatiel Talking Ability
Han-raised or Wild Cockatiel
As with all other pets, a hand-raised cockatiel is often more receptive to training because of its inherent sociability towards humans. It helps create a more conducive environment for successful training.
Alternatively, it is possible to teach a non-hand-raised cockatiel speech, but you have to show patience and give more time. Normally, avian learning curves are steeper, making it more difficult to achieve comparable results.
When they are young, cockatiels and other birds can pick up any new skill more quickly than adults. Even though older birds can learn to speak, you’re going to have a lot easier time training a young one.
Male Cockatiels are more likely to talk and learn words and phrases because of their natural ability to vocalize to impress females during the breeding season. Females on the other hand are generally more to the side of whistling and chirping. They do not vocalize to impress males during the breeding season.
There’s no doubt that you’re going to play a key role in training your pet Cockatiel to speak. The amount of time you spend with your cockatiel and how motivated you are will also play a significant role in how well he speaks and whistles.
At What Age Do Cockatiels Start Talking?
Like other parrots, Cockatiels begin whistling and chirping at the age of 3 months. To learn to speak words, a Cockatiel needs to be trained, and that training can only begin at age 8-9 months.
Depending on how you are training your cockatiel, it may begin speaking at the age of one year or older. A cockatiel can begin talking and speaking a few words and phrases at the age of 1 year with proper teaching methods.
Do Male Cockatiels Talk?
Male Cockatiels are more likely to talk, whistle, chirp, and sing songs and melodies. The reason is that males use their voices to impress during breeding season which is why they are naturally more capable of talking.
However, as I stated earlier, you will need to train them to speak or sing a few songs or melodies. In addition, their voice does not sound like a human voice but rather like that of a bird.
Do Female Cockatiels Talk?
A female Cockatiel does not use her voice to attract males, and she vocalizes less. As a result, female Cockatiels can talk, but they tend to be less talkative as compared to males. Generally, female Cockatiels whistle and chirp only.
How many words can a cockatiel learn?
There is no exact answer to how many words a cockatiel can learn. It all depends on your training and your bird’s capability to learn words. According to a study published by AFA, a cockatiel learn 90 words in two years.
But that does not mean every bird can also learn a similar number of words. It all depends on how well the training is conducted and the ability of the individual bird.
How to Teach a Cockatiel to Talk?
Cockatiels can be wonderful companions, and teaching them to talk can enhance your bond with your pet. A talking cockatiel imitates phrases, robotically echoing your words or sounds. While your cockatiel’s speech may not match a parrot’s clarity, diligent effort can lead to comprehensible words.
It is important to begin by teaching your cockatiel a few words and then gradually build their vocabulary through practice and reinforcement.
Make your bird feel Comfortable
Make sure your pet parrot is comfortable before training. If your pet is not comfortable then it is useless to conduct a training session. Think of it as preparation for your exams. To score maximum numbers you have to study a lot and for that, you have to be comfortable and focused.
Without focus, you can not prepare yourself for the exams. The same is the case with Cockatiels. When they are comfortable they will respond well to the training. On the contrary, if they are stressed and not focused they will not respond well during the training.
Bond with Your Pet
Teaching a cockatiel to talk relies on human interaction. A common misconception is that language training and taming can be done simultaneously. However, this is a completely false assumption. Before starting speech instruction, you have to acclimate the bird to its habitat.
If you are seeking advice regarding taming your avian companions, talk to your vet or a knowledgeable pet store owner. The advice of a seasoned friend is also worth it.
Use a quiet place for training
Conduct the bird’s training within a quiet setting. This will enable your avian companion to concentrate on your presence and words. If your bird is prone to distraction, you can converse with it while its cage is covered. Taking this approach keeps potential visual disturbances down.
One Phrase at a time
It is recommended that you teach the bird one phrase at a time. Start with short and easy words, like its name. If you choose a different phrase, make sure it’s simple and has one or two high-pitched words.
Because cockatiels have high-pitched voices, avoid teaching low-tone words. Say the words at the right time. For example, don’t teach “Good morning” at night, and vice versa.
Repeat the phrase often and be patient. Your bird isn’t Einstein, no matter how clever it is. Stay patient, or your bird might get scared and lose your progress. Even a small hand movement can do this, so be careful.
Reward your bird with treats and attention when it says a word correctly. The approach depends on your bird’s liking; there’s no definitive “right” way. Certain birds prefer human food, while others opt for special bird treats. Whatever the case may be, ensure that the experience is positive.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.