Due to so many people keeping a pet cockatiel or two in their homes, we commonly see people reaching out and asking various questions about the behavior of their pet cockatiel and what various things mean.
One thing that commonly causes heated discussion amongst the cockatiel keeping community is when people ask about the causes of cockatiel tail bobbing.
This is often controversial and can sometimes result in a heated discussion on social media with multiple thinking that they are correct.
In reality, there are actually multiple causes of cockatiel tail bobbing and in some situations, it can be difficult to work out the specific cause of the behavior in your cockatiel.
Can Tail Bobbing Be Normal In Cockatiels?
Many of the common causes of cockatiel tail bobbing in your pet cockatiel are totally normal. Thankfully, the most common cause of cockatiel tail bobbing is the inflating and deflating of the air sacks in your cockatiels body with this actually being a sign of a healthy cockatiel.
Some of the other causes of cockatiel tail bobbing are not considered normal or natural though. Some of them can potentially be serious issues where as others can often be treat quickly with the correct medication or treatment plan.
Why Is My Cockatiels Tail Bobbing?
There are actually 10 relatively common causes of tail bobbing in cockatiels and then there are additional less common causes in addition to those too!
This is why you see so many arguments on social media about the causes of tail bobbing in birds due to the same behavior being caused by a number of different causes.
Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people who keep a cockatiel, it is very difficult to confirm the cause of the tail bobbing in your bird with a high level of accuracy.
Even an experienced avian vet can sometimes struggle but our overview below of the more common causes of cockatiel tail bobbing may be able to help you narrow down the possibilities in your bird.
Air Sacks Inflating And Deflating!
The most common cause of cockatiel tail bobbing that we see is due to the cockatiel inflating and deflating the air sacks in their body.
These are found all over your cockatiels body but are more commonly found around the cockatiels breast and under their wings.
The cockatiel will often inflate these air sacks and then let the air out slowly which is often accompanied by a cockatiel tail bob.
This is actually a very good sign as it means that your cockatiel is healthy and has no problem inflating and deflating these air sacks when needed.
A cockatiel will commonly do this behavior when they are trying to cool down or warm up their body temperature and is not a cause for concern at all.
A Sign Of Sickness!
On the other hand, cockatiel tail bobbing can also be a sign of sickness in your cockatiel. If you notice that your cockatiel is continually tail bobbing and also appears to be lethargic or unwell in themselves, then it is important to take them to see an experienced avian vet as soon as possible
In some cockatiels, you may actually find that they tail bob when they are enjoying themselves or are playful.
This is often seen in cockatiel chicks who are young and playful and is not something that you will commonly see in adult cockatiels.
If you see your cockatiel tail bobbing and they appear to be happy and healthy in themselves, then there is no need to be concerned about this behavior.
A cockatiel that is continually tail bobbing and appears to be unwell should always be checked by an experienced avian vet as soon as possible though.
It is not uncommon for cockatiels to start tail bobbing when they reach puberty which is around 6 to 12 months of age.
This can often be one of the causes that commonly catch people out as they are not used to their cockatiel bobbing its tail and then all of a sudden, puberty hits and they will seemingly randomly start to bob their tail causing their owners to worry.
This is actually quite normal behavior and is often seen in cockatiels who are trying to attract a mate.
One of the less common causes of cockatiel tail bobbing that we see is due to constipation. If a cockatiel is constipated, they will often try to relieve themselves by repeatedly doing a poo which can lead to their tail bobbing.
This is not something that you will commonly see but if you notice your cockatiel is continually trying to relieve themselves and their tail is bobbing, then it is worth making sure that everything in their diet is actually suitable for your pet cockatiel to eat.
Constant constipation is not normal in cockatiels and is usually an indicator of something wrong with their diet but in some cases, it can be an indication of a serious health issue.
A Happy Greeting!
In some cockatiels, you may actually find that they tail bob when they see their owner as a way of saying hello.
This is often seen in cockatiels who are very bonded with their owner and is a sign that they are happy to see you.
If you see your cockatiel tail bobbing when they see you, then there is no need to be concerned about this behavior as it is actually quite normal.
A Blocked Vent!
One of the more serious causes of cockatiel tail bobbing that we see is due to a cockatiel having a blocked vent.
The vent is the opening that your cockatiel uses to relieve themselves and if this becomes blocked, it can cause your cockatiel a lot of discomfort.
A blocked vent is not the same as constipation with the two being confused on a regular basis. Constipation is an internal issue where as a blocked vent is usually an external issue commonly related to poor hygiene.
In most cases, a quick check of your cockatiels vent will give you an idea if it is blocked or not.
In some cockatiels, you may actually find that they tail bob when they are interested in something. This is often seen in cockatiels who are curious by nature and will often cock their head to one side as well as tail bobbing when they are trying to take everything in.
Practicing For Egg Laying!
Some young female cockatiel can have a very strong egg laying instinct and you may notice them bobbing their tail as they sleep.
Although the exact reason for this is not known, many people who keep cockatiel’s feel that it is the cockatiel going through the motions of laying eggs.
Trying To Attract Attention!
One of the more common reasons that we see cockatiel’s tail bobbing is due to them trying to get their owner’s attention. Cockatiels are very social creatures and love nothing more than spending time with their owners.
If they feel that they are being ignored, they will often try to get their owner’s attention by doing things such as tail bobbing.
This is often seen in cockatiels who are spoiled and have their owner’s wrapped around their little finger!
Cockatiel Tail Bobbing Summary!
- Air Sacks Inflating And Deflating!
- A Sign Of Sickness
- Reaching Puberty!
- A Happy Greeting!
- A Blocked Vent!
- Showing Interest!
- Practicing For Egg Laying!
- Trying To Attract Attention!
As you can see, there are a number of different reasons why your cockatiel may be tail bobbing. In most cases, it is nothing to worry about but if you are concerned about your cockatiel tail bobbing, then it is always worth seeking professional advice.