Do Cockatiels Play?

Cockatiels are quite active and love to play.
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Cockatiels are playful, intelligent and thrive from interaction with their pet parents. Teach your little Featherhead to talk, dance and whistle. Cockatiels also enjoy playing with simple toys, such as clean rags, twig balls and unused popsicle sticks. Discover your bird’s natural skills and introduce new games and tricks.

Toy Play

Cockatiels enjoy a plethora of simple toys, including toys with moving parts and toys that shake, rattle and roll. Provide your feathered friend with shreddable toys, such as leather strips and twig balls, as cockatiels love to chew. Even a balled up piece of paper or chunk of balsa wood can make a bored bird excited to play. Toys should be free of sharp pieces, toxic metals and hooks to avoid injury. Hang a toy or two near your cockatiel’s perch to entice your bird with colorful trinkets and new sounds.


While not all cockatiels like to talk, many can learn to speak a handful of words with practice. Teaching your little Featherhead is a fantastic way to build a positive relationship between you and your bird while he learns new skills. Words and phrases must be repeated daily for an extended period of time before your cockatiel will begin to repeat speech. For example, say “Do you want a banana?” and follow the question by offering your bird a banana slice. Your cockatiel will soon learn what these words mean.


Cockatiels can learn how to whistle in the same manner as they learn talking. When your little bundle of feathers masters the art of whistling, he can then create music for himself whenever he’s bored. Begin by whistling a brief tune for your cockatiel to mimic, such as the tune to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Move onto more challenging songs to give your bird a variety of music. It may be helpful to play the song on the stereo until the bird memorizes the tune.


If your cockatiel has a handle on talking and whistling, he may want to learn to dance. Cockatiels have a natural rhythm and enjoy moving their petite bodies to music. Allow your bird to sit on your finger as you sing, hum or whistle a favorite tune. Gently move your hand to the rhythm of the music and you may notice your bird moving his body to the same beat. Leave the radio on low when you’re not home to allow your cockatiel to listen to an assortment of delightful songs.

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