How to Know if Cockatiels Are Too Cold Indoors

If your cockatiel puffs up or tucks his beak or leg, it may be a signal to turn up the heat.
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Since your birdie can't ask you to turn up the heat, you have to watch for signs he's cold instead. Some actions he may exhibit are the same ones he does before sleep. But if he's doing these at unusual times of day, he could be cold.

Puffing and Fluffing

If your tiel looks puffed-up or his feathers are unusually fluffed up, there's a good chance he's cold. Puffing up creates space between feathers, trapping warm air in close to the body and keeping cooler air out. They often puff up at night to sleep, because their body temperature's naturally lower during sleep. So if it isn't nighttime or nap time and your 'tiel is sitting puffed up, try warming the air.


Birds shiver when they're cold, just as humans do. Since they're so small, you have to watch for it. Shivering nonstop can be a sign of illness and warrant medical attention right away. But if you see your birdie shivering like he had a wave of goosebumps, he just might be cold.

Tucking His Beak

If you see your birdie tucking his beak into his back at odd times -- and he's not preening or sleeping -- he might be sheltering his head against the cold. It's almost as if a cold winter wind is causing him to shield his face. Since he can't don a scarf or face mask the way humans can, he tucks his beak instead.

Standing on One Leg

Cockatiels often stand on one leg while sleeping, when stretching or when giving a foot a rest. But tucking a leg and foot up against the body is also a good way to warm up. So if he's alert and tucking his leg, cold air could very well be the culprit.

Cures for the Cold

Look for obvious drafts when deciding where to place your bird cage. If he shows signs of being cold, see if a new draft has occurred. Though birds like to view the outside from a sunny window, it can be a cold spot when the temperature dips outside. Consider buying him a soft toy he can cuddle up to for warmth. Many birds find comfort in snuggling up to a pal in addition to the added warmth it brings.

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