How to Teach a Cockatiel to Talk

Cockatiels may not talk as clearly as parrots, but they sure can talk. At first, all you can hear from these birds is a whistling sound. But the more frequent their verbal training is, the better they will be at talking. The key here is consistency. If the cockatiels hear certain words often, they will eventually learn to speak them. Keep in mind, however, that teaching a cockatiel to talk is by no means easy, so here are some tips that can make it more manageable.


•Make sure to always interact with your pet cockatiel. If the cockatiel gets to interact with his owner and/or the entire household, the more likely he will be good at talking. Talk to him every chance you get. Every time you see him or whenever you enter the room where he is kept, say “Hello, ____ (your name).” Over time, he will associate this greeting with you and will say this every time he sees you.
•Teach the cockatiel simple words. One-syllable words are the best words to teach the cockatiel during the first few weeks. Make sure to repeat these words over and over until the bird gains mastery. When the bird is ready, introduce more complex and longer words. Remember, however, to teach the bird only nice words. Although some people find it amusing, a cockatiel that speaks bad words is a turn-off. This is also the reason you should avoid cussing around a cockatiel. If he repeatedly hears you cussing, he will pick up the bad words and repeat them.
•Understand that repetition is important. A bird’s speaking ability is acquired through repetition. So if you really want to hear your bird speak, you need to dedicate extra effort and time in teaching the cockatiel. It will greatly help if you pick him up as you teach him. Enunciate the word well and use a high-pitched voice. Remember, cockatiels are attracted to a high pitch tone and are likely to mimic a word that is pronounced in such a tone.
•Understand that the bird won’t speak everything you teach him. Cockatiels are quite selective with words. They only want to learn the words that are pleasing to their ears. So don’t get frustrated if your cockatiel doesn’t speak some of the words you are teaching him. Just take it as your cue to move on and teach him other words.
•Practice patience. Teaching a cockatiel to talk takes a lot of patience and dedication. The result is not immediate, so you have to really wait before you can hear the bird talk. In fact, in some cases, the bird might not actually speak the words but might only make—or more appropriately, sing—a sound.
•Reinforce learning. Giving your cockatiel treats and rewards is the best way to reinforce learning. Every time he pronounces a word right or at least attempts to make it sound right, give your cockatiel his favorite treat. Do the same when he is showing interest to learn. The more you encourage your cockatiel, the better he will be at talking.

Finally, have fun every training session. Take this as an opportunity to bond with the bird. If, however, the training has become a burden to you and your cockatiel, you probably are pushing yourself and the bird too hard. Relax. The goal here foremost is to have fun.

  • Issue by:Russell Brooks
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