For Christmas I got a 3 month old hand-fed, and completely tame, Cockatiel. The first few days she was rather quiet, but after that she warmed up to me she only made those high-pitched squeaks, you know, just the normal noise that a Cockatiel would make.

But for about the past week, her crest has been flat against her head just about 95% of the time, and she is constantly making this grumbled, scratchy, crying-like noise. It sort of sounds like the noise baby cockatiels make when they are begging for food. She only does this noise when humans are in sight. I would have assumed that she's just begging for food, but she has some in her cage at all times and water as well.

I also tried taking her out and playing with her, in case she was just asking for attention. This also doesn't work, she continues to act like she's angry and upset at everyone. She does not bite or hiss though if I pick her up or touch her.

Why is she making this noise? I'm worried she's sick or is in some sort of constant pain. In the photo you will see her crest is flat and she looks very grumpy. I just don't know why! Help!enter image description here

  • How's her weight developing? It's hard to say from a picture especially with birds puffed up like that. But if you are unsure of her health, the vet it is for her.
    – Layna
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 13:26

2 Answers 2


Fluffing up can be one of the very first signs of a sick bird. And by sick I mean VERY sick and needs the vet immediately. Birds don’t look sick until they are really sick. In the wild a sick bird is a dead bird. They are prey animals.

A sick bird will fluff up, show half hearted threat displays, and look unhappy. Have an avian vet check her out right away.

Also, if you don’t already have a scale that can measure in grams, get one. A birds weight will drop quickly when they are sick. Often this will happen long before they look or act sick. My macaw gets a weekly weight-in to keep tabs on his health. His weight is stable to within a gram or two, unless he is sick. if he weight drops I take him straight to the vet.


Do you keep her alone? Cockatiels are very social birds (as most are) and keeping them as solitary beings severely impacts their mental and physical well-being.

If she has a partner, I would take her to the vet.

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