Why Is My Cockatiel Shaking? The 7 Most Basic Reasons

Why is my cockatiel shaking? If you’ve ever noticed your beloved cockatiel exhibiting unexpected behavior, such as shaking or trembling, you’re not alone in your concerns. Let’s unravel the mystery behind the trembling and shaking, shedding light on what might be going on in your cockatiel’s world.

Basic information about cockatiels

Cockatiels are a species of parrot belonging to the family Psittacidae, and they are one of the most common pet birds in households. Here is some basic information about cockatiels:

Physical Characteristics

Average Size: Cockatiels are small to medium-sized birds, with an average length of about 30 cm.

Feathers: Cockatiels have soft and glossy feathers. Common colors include gray, yellow, white, and orange.

Basic information about cockatiels
Why Is My Cockatiel Shaking?

Distinctive Features

Crest: The crest on the top of their heads is a distinctive feature of cockatiels, and it can produce various sounds expressing happiness, fear, or calling their peers.

Underwing Coloration: Cockatiels often have vibrant coloration under their wings, prominently displayed when they spread their wings.


Cockatiels primarily eat seeds such as seed mixes, pellet blends, and grass seeds. It’s important to provide a balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.


Friendly: Cockatiels are known for being friendly and adorable, forming strong bonds with their owners.

Curious: They are curious birds, enjoying exploring their surroundings and interacting with objects.


The average lifespan of cockatiels is between 15 to 25 years, depending on care and living conditions.

Why is my cockatiel shaking?

If your cockatiel is shaking, there could be several potential reasons for this behavior. It’s essential to observe other accompanying signs and consider factors such as the bird’s environment, health, and recent changes. Here are some common reasons why a cockatiel might be shaking:

Normal Behavior

As part of their normal behavior, cockatiels engage in shaking or trembling motions to maintain their feathers, aiding in the adjustment of each individual plume. This behavior is a natural and instinctive way for them to release tension, similar to a human stretch, and it often occurs during moments of relaxation or contentment.

Particularly during preening, these subtle shakes serve as a self-grooming mechanism, allowing them to keep their plumage in optimal condition. Understanding these normal behaviors contributes to a more comprehensive approach when observing your cockatiel’s actions.

Why is my cockatiel shaking?
Why is my cockatiel shaking?

Temperature Regulation

Temperature regulation is a crucial aspect of a cockatiel’s well-being, and shaking plays a vital role in this process. By fluffing up their feathers or shaking, cockatiels effectively manage their body temperature.

If you observe your cockatiel shaking, it may be an indication that the bird is feeling cold and is attempting to generate warmth through this behavior. To provide optimal comfort, it’s essential to ensure that the room temperature aligns with the bird’s needs, offering a suitable environment for your cockatiel to thrive.

Fear or Stress

Shaking in cockatiels often serves as a visible manifestation of their emotional state, particularly when experiencing fear, stress, or anxiety. Changes in their environment, the introduction of new elements, the presence of potential predators or other pets, and sudden loud noises can trigger these reactions.

Recognizing these stressors and addressing them with care is essential to create a secure and tranquil atmosphere for your cockatiel, fostering a sense of calm and trust in their surroundings.

Health Issues

Why is my cockatiel shaking? Shaking can be a sign of an underlying health problem. Illnesses such as respiratory infections, nutritional deficiencies, or other medical conditions may cause a bird to shake. If shaking is persistent or accompanied by other abnormal behaviors, consult with a vet.

Recent Changes

Any recent changes in the bird’s diet, living conditions, or routine can lead to stress and shaking. Cockatiels are sensitive to alterations in their environment.

Mating or Courtship Behavior

Why is my cockatiel shaking? If you have both male and female cockatiels, shaking might be a part of courtship or mating behavior.

Preening and Cleaning

Cockatiels may shake as part of their preening routine to clean and arrange their feathers.

Why is my cockatiel shaking?
Why is my cockatiel shaking?

Why is my cockatiel shaking? Coping and care

When dealing with your shaking or trembling cockatiel, coping and caring require special attention to ensure both the bird’s physical and mental well-being. Here are some measures and advice:

Careful Observation

Monitor the behavior of your cockatiel to determine if there are any abnormal signs. This includes changes in eating, activity, and energy levels.

Check the Environmental Temperature

Ensure that the living environment of the cockatiel has a comfortable temperature. If it is too cold, consider providing additional heat sources, but avoid making it excessively hot.

Identify Psychological Causes

If there are changes in the environment or schedule, try to identify the potential causes that may be causing stress for the cockatiel.

Check Health

If shaking persists or is accompanied by other signs such as loss of energy, inability to fly, or changes in feather color, take the bird to the vet for a health check.

Create a Safe Environment

Provide a quiet and safe environment for the cockatiel, reducing noise and eliminating stressors.

Balanced Diet

Ensure that the cockatiel’s diet is nutritionally balanced and rich in vitamins. Adding vegetables and fruits to the diet can provide essential nutrients.

Why is my cockatiel shaking?
Why is my cockatiel shaking?

Interaction and Care

Spend time interacting with the cockatiel, but make sure not to impose if it is feeling uncomfortable.

In conclusion 

Why is my cockatiel shaking? Whether it’s a natural behavior, a response to environmental changes, or an underlying health issue, meeting your feathered friend’s needs is paramount. Remember to consider your cockatiel’s overall health, including its diet, living conditions, and mental state.

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