Are Cockatiels Aggressive?

Cockatiels are generally affectionate, loving, and gentle.

They only crave for a little attention and petting.

They are happy to see you and want to be around you, but not necessarily cuddle. 

So if you love to cuddle, cockatiels won’t allow it!

Well, unless you manage to make your cockatiel a cuddle bug

Some cockatiels can become aggressive to their owner, people around them, or other pets despite the pleasantness.

There are several reasons that cause your bird to be aggressive as cockatiels are generally friendly

Carry on reading to discover the possible reasons why your cockatiel is being aggressive or trying to bite

Why Do Cockatiels Get Aggressive?

Birds have small bodies and are thus not fighters, unlike other animals with larger bodies, fangs, teeth, and claws for fighting.

Although your cockatiel cannot fight, it might display aggressive tendencies such as biting, hissing, flapping wings, and flying aggressively. 

If you have noted any of these behaviors, here are the reasons why they may be aggressive:

  1. Your Cockatiel May Be Experiencing Mating Hormones

When your cockatiel is experiencing mating or breeding hormones, it might start acting aggressively.

Both the male and the female cockatiel can display defensive and territorial behavior.

They are trying to protect the areas they consider perfect for nesting.

Also, your cockatiel may see you as its mate, and it expects you to act like you are flattered.

Most likely, your cockatiel is biting you because you are not behaving the way it wants you to.

So, this leads to being aggressive due to frustration that you’re not behaving the way your birdie wants you to

  1. You Are Not Reciprocating The Affection

If your cockatiel is affectionate towards you or another pet or toy, you should try to reciprocate the affection.

If this affection is not given back to your cockatiel, it will become aggressive towards you whatever they are showing affection to

  1. It is Feeling Threatened

The cockatiel will become aggressive if it is confronted by danger or threatened.

Most birds will fly away to escape imminent danger.

However, if it cannot fly, it will try to fight back by biting or flapping its wings incessantly. 

  1. Your Cockatiel iIs Frightened

Another common reason why cockatiels bite is fear.

They do not adjust quickly to changes, and they get frightened easily.

Situations that are likely to scare your cockatiel are loud noises, deep or unfamiliar noise, a change in your grooming, approaching the bird from behind, sudden movement of kids or other pets, or moving the bird into another unfamiliar location or cage.

It might respond to the fear impulse by biting, hissing, or any other aggressive behavior. 

  1. Your Cockatiel Is Cranky Or Tired

Your cockatiel will become cranky if it is overstimulated.

Also, it might get cranky if it is tired from playing for long or doesn’t get 10 to 12 hours of sleep.

Crankiness will cause your bird to bite. 

Avoid interrupting it when it is playing, eating, resting or sleeping.

If it shows crankiness, leave your birdie alone and let them “recharge” by giving them alone time 

  1. Too Much Time In The cage

If your cockatiel hardly leaves the cage, it will get attached to its cage.

Trying to take it out of its cage might trigger aggressiveness. 

Birds that have been abused, left at home alone for long or ignored become overly attached to their cages and toys.

They end up being overprotective and territorial of their cage and toys.

They will bite or become aggressive if you try to touch them.

Related article you may find interesting

Should I let my cockatiel out of his cage?

  1. A One Person Bird

If your cockatiel does not get to interact with different people, it will become possessive and protective of you.

It will try to bite or attack anyone coming close to you.

Alternatively, it will bite you to make you escape a threatening situation.

Allow your friends and family members to give it treats and spend time with your birdie 

Related article – My cockatiel is too attached to me

Why Do Cockatiels Bite?

As discussed above, there are several reasons that can cause your cockatiel to bite.

One of the primary reasons your cockatiel bite is fear or lack of trust in the person handling it.  

Other reasons for biting are if it is overstimulated and feeling playful or needs a lot of attention. 

It will bite if it is in the breeding mode and you are not being responsive.

Also, it will bite if it feels threatened or its territory has been invaded.

So does the bite of a cockatiel hurt?

Let’s find out

Does A Cockatiel Bite Hurt?

A hard bite from your cockatiel will hurt.

If it bites you a bit harder, it might tear your skin, and you will feel pain.

However, in most cases, the bite from a cockatiel does not hurt.

Instead, you feel a bit of discomfort or get a little frightened. 

There are different cockatiel bites, and some are not meant to hurt you.

For instance,

  • Pecking for stability – Your cockatiel may peck you while trying to stand on your hand or finger. In this case, it is helping itself climb and not trying to hurt you.
  • Nipping bite – This bite will cause you discomfort but not hurt. Your cockatiel is trying to communicate something to you. For instance, a loud noise, scared, or uncomfortable.
  • A forceful bite – This bite will hurt and leave a mark. You are probably doing something your bird does not like and trying to get you to stop.
  • A hard bite – It is a painful bite and might break your skin. It will bite hard if it is terrified, threatened, or feels like it’s in danger. 

Are Cockatiels Friendly? (Can They Be Friendly?)

Cockatiels are popular birds and loved because of their friendly nature.

They are easy to tame and fit well in small spaces such as apartment living.  

If well tamed and loved, your cockatiel would enjoy spending time with you.

They also love being touched and petted.

To create a friendship with your cockatiel:

  • Spend time together playing and talking.
  • Give it treats and sit and chat with your birdie
  • Most importantly, ensure it is always healthy by visiting the vet occasionally and observing it closely for any abnormal behavior. 
  • Ensure your cockatiel has a healthy diet


Cockatiels are friendly and lovable birds with an even temperament.

However, they can become aggressive for any of the reasons discussed above.

If your cockatiel is aggressive or biting you, it is probably trying to communicate something.

So, pay attention and understand what’s happening around it and find ways to calm your birdie down 

We at write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on is for educational purposes only. At we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.