The cockatiel is a popular pet bird type that can be funny, friendly, and welcoming. Like many birds, they can warm up to their owners over the years and spend time with them outside of their cage.
However, one of this bird’s most distinctive and unique traits is the cockatiel heart wings or a particular behavior that some cockatiel birds make that creates a heart shape from the back.
This lovely look is something that many cockatiel owners have tried to get their birds to do for years with little luck, as cockatiels can be pretty stubborn. However, other owners find that their cockatiel loves showing off their heart wings and rarely stops to take a break.
So what is the purpose behind this behavior, how can you make your bird create this heart shape, and do all cockatiel birds make these gorgeous and unforgettable heart wings?
Let’s take a deep dive on this subject to find out more about what makes your cockatiel create heart wings in this way. You will also get a deeper look into cockatiel’s general behavior, as their unique courting rituals and personality all play into their display of heart wings.
In this way, you can become a better bird owner and avoid doing things that may frustrate, annoy, or even injure your cockatiel, which could be possible in a few circumstances.
Why Do Cockatiels Show Heart Wings?
Cockatiels are like all birds in that they don’t understand what they are doing when they make heart wings: they’re certainly not trying to create a heart to impress their owners.
Instead, your bird is trying to fluff themselves out to produce what bird experts call a big chest: the wings are secondary to the bird’s desire to make their chest appear as big as possible.
This behavior is a standard courtship action and is something you’ll see if you own a male and female cockatiel.
However, your cockatiel may also show signs of defensiveness when they create cockatiel heart wings, as they could feel threatened by you or someone in your home.
Creating heart wings and a big chest helps to make them appear more prominent and more intimidating, a common way of scaring off threats in the wild. If your cockatiel shows this behavior when you interact with it, it may tell you to back off and leave it alone.
That said, a cockatiel that has bonded with its owner may also make the big chest or heart wings as a way of playing with you.
Cockatiels are surprisingly funny and fun birds when they are happy with their owners and may bob their heads, dance, and even create heart wings when they feel silly and want to play.
You’ll probably notice this type of behavior if your cockatiel likes to interact with you outside of your cage and feels comfortable strutting his stuff.
Is There A Way I Can Encourage My Cockatiel To Make Heart Wings?
If you want to encourage your cockatiel to make heart wings, you have to create the kind of behavior that typically triggers mating behaviors or a playful showing off.
In addition, you need to tap into the bird’s natural desire to stand out from others and to be the center of attention at all times. Typically, this process works best with male cockatiels, as they are the showiest gender.
One way to encourage this behavior is to buy a female cockatiel and add her to a second cage near your male or put her in the same cage.
Your cockatiel is likely to create heart wings and a big chest to show off for his new potential mate. Understand that if you put them in the same cage, though, you may encourage actual mating, which could be pretty disturbing to guests or your children.
However, you can also play with your cockatiel and mimic their behaviors to get them to show off a little with cockatiel heart wings.
For example, you can bob your head up and down (another common way this bird tries to impress others) and mimic their behaviors. This playful action often causes a cockatiel to open up its heart wings to show off or “one-up” you.
Do All Cockatiels Make Heart Wings?
Typically, male cockatiels birds will make heart wings more often than females. However, that doesn’t mean that girl birds will never make cockatiel heart wings.
Sometimes, females may create heart wings as a way of playing with their partner bird, showing off their owner, or as a defensive posture if they feel threatened by a situation: they rarely, if ever, use them in a flirting display with a male.
That said, not every cockatiel will make heart wings because they may simply lack the kind of aggressiveness of playful attitude that makes this behavior common.
Simply put, they may be a relatively low-key and sedate cockatiel, one that isn’t big on flashy displays or behaviors. In addition, older cockatiels rarely display heart wings because they’re usually beyond breeding age and likely have less energy.
As a result, you’re more likely to see cockatiel heart wings in younger birds or those in the prime of their breeding years.
However, even young cockatiels may try to create the big chest or heart wings shortly after hatching, mainly as a way of exploring their environment and moving their body.
Anyone interested in a cockatiel that shows heart wings should check out a pet shop and watch for a bird that seems flashier and more interested in interacting with others.
Get the Heart Wing Look You Want
As you can see, cockatiel heart wings are a unique thing and should be celebrated and encouraged to bond more deeply with your pet.
Understand, though, that encouraging showing off behavior in some birds may also lead to a higher risk of potential aggression in some individuals.
While not all cockatiels will react in this way, those with a higher level of general energy and aggression may react poorly if you try to get them to make heart wings.