Meanings of a Cockatoo's Noises

A cockatoo communicates with more than mere words.
A cockatoo communicates with more than mere words. (Image: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The cockatoo seems to bellow and screech endlessly and babble for hours, but the noises coming from your pet bird might mean more than you think. Understanding what your feathered pet is telling you with his series of noises can help you better communicate with your winged buddy.

A Babbling Brooke

It isn't uncommon for your beautiful white female cockatoo to share in banter with you, but Brooke isn't really talking, because birds don't use words the way humans do. Brooke is more likely just babbling, imitating the sounds of people sharing a friendly chat. Most cockatoos will be limited to learning only a handful of words, with the finest linguists maxing out at around 30. Beyond this, Brooke will babble contentedly, as she would in the wild with members of her flock.

The Sound of Contentment

Other sounds will signify that your bird is a happy camper. She may make an excited barking sound to display her enthusiasm during chatter, or to show her dominance over other winged household members. A gentle purring sound accompanied by fluffed feathers will let you know that Brooke is feeling contented. Crowing, which is often heard at night, seems to be a cockatoo's way of communicating with her flock and reestablishing her relationships with other birds. As you become her flock member, it may be Brooke's way of wishing you a good and restful night. Beak grinding, which sounds a bit like the grinding of teeth, may be heard as your bird sleeps.

Do Not Disturb

A cockatoo's plethora of noises can also signal times when Brooke would rather not be disturbed. A growling sound when accompanied by dilated pupils lets you know she feels threatened. It is best not to approach her until the moment has passed and she is once again feeling comfortable in her surroundings. Beak clicking also serves as a "back off" signal, and may sound a bit like nails tapping a chalkboard. Once again, Brooke is feeling ill at ease. Panting also signifies that your feathered girl is feeling uncomfortable. She may be overheated, especially if her cage is positioned in direct sunlight. Always provide a consistent temperature for your friend, as well as plenty of water to keep her hydrated.

The Skill of Communicating

All birds of the parrot family will talk and chatter a bit, and while you may be hopeful that you can strike up a good conversation with Brooke, that just won't happen. While she may not be able to greet you with amorous words, tongue clicking will suggest she's happy in your presence, and if it's accompanied by a gentle marching toward you, you'll know she's celebrating your arrival. Brooke will mimic a few words you teach her, so establishing "I love you" as a greeting might be the first step in establishing an emotional and communicative bond.

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