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Do Cockatiels Like Music? Different Genres & FAQs

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

cockatiel inside cage eating

Cockatiels are fun little pets that can get along well in a variety of household types. They can be easier to take care of than cats and dogs, and they tend to like being handled by their human companions. So, do cockatiels like to listen to music at home with or without their companions? The short answer is yes, they typically do! While every cockatiel is unique when it comes to personality, most enjoy the sounds of musical tunes in one way or another. Here is what you should know.

bird divider

It Seems They Like Most Music, Except for Dance Tunes

Scientists did some research and concluded that cockatiels (parrots in general) do love the sound of music, and even have their own personal tastes in music types.1 Some prefer classical music, while others like to bop their heads along to pop songs.

One thing most of them have in common is that they detest the sound of dance music. There are many types of music your cockatiel may or may not be interested in listening to, such as:

  • Classical
  • Pop
  • Country
  • Hip Hop
  • Rock
  • Electronica
  • Jazz
  • Blues
Cockatiel parrot sits with colored rags with an open beak
Image Credit: Jolanta Beinarovica, Shutterstock

Instrumental or Vocal?

It seems that cockatiels can enjoy both vocal and instrumental music depending on a few factors. First is personal preference. Some simply enjoy the sound of one type of music over another. Another factor is mood. If things are stressful in the home, loud vocal music might make things seem more stressful while instrumental music might help lighten the mood.

Try playing both types of music one after another to see if your bird gives you clues as to which they prefer. Chances are that they’ll be okay with both, but one might make them bop their head or move around in excitement more.

How to Choose Music for Your Cockatiel to Listen To

Your cockatiel might be content listening to whatever music you enjoy playing while spending time at home. They may prefer to live over recorded music or vice versa.  To really get a feel for what your bird likes, it’s a good idea to play a wide variety of music genres for them and take note of how they react. Some types of music may make them screech or show other signs of distress, while others could encourage them to “dance” and “sing along” to the tunes.

You should pay attention to what kind of mood your birdie is in before playing any music for them. If they seem stressed out, choose light music that is soothing to the ears. If they seem frisky, go for something upbeat and louder.

It’s always a good idea to play something low-key when leaving music on for them when they spend time at home alone. This will help ensure that they don’t get stressed out while you are away.

woman playing music in her phone
Image Credit: Stock Asso, Shutterstock

Sourcing Music Made Just for Cockatiels

Believe it or not, there is music in existence that is made just for the enjoyment of cockatiels. For example, this album playlist on Spotify features 14 original songs that have been composed with the preferences and moods of birds like cockatoos and cockatiels in mind. Searching any social media outlet for keywords such as “music for cockatiels” should yield some new results to check out as time goes on.

How to Know Whether Your Cockatiel Likes the Music You’re Playing

Your cockatiel should show obvious signs of their enjoyment if they dig the music that you are playing in their presence. On the contrary, they aren’t typically afraid to show signs that they are not happy with your music choice. Here’s the breakdown:

Signs of Interest in Your Music

  • Happy chirping
  • The mimicking of tunes
  • Feather fluffing
  • Head bopping
  • Dance-like movements
  • Beak grinding

Signs of Disinterest in Your Music

  • Screaming or Screeching
  • Trembling
  • Hissing
side view of a young male cockatiel
Image Credit: ONGUSHI, Shutterstock

The Benefits of Playing Music for Your Cockatiel

There are some benefits of playing music for your cockatiel if they like the music they are listening to. First and foremost, playing music is an excellent way to improve your bird’s mood. If they are feeling stressed out or upset for any reason, a little uplifting music can do wonders and help put them in a more positive mood that makes interacting with them more enjoyable.

Other benefits include:

  • Helps reduce loneliness and boredom
  • Helps encourage independence
  • Helps you better bond with your bird
  • Can help your bird learn to sing
Girl petting her pet cockatiel bird perched on her leg showing cuteness and love
Image Credit: binoyphotofolio, Shutterstock

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Some Final Thoughts

Cockatiels tend to love listening to music, but it’s the type of music that is more questionable. Some like classical, others like rock, and still others enjoy dabbling in a variety of musical genres. The key to figuring out what kind of music your cockatiel likes the most is to try different genres out and see how they react to them.

If they show signs of distress, it’s probably best to avoid the type of music they are listening to. If they start bobbing their head or singing along to a song, it’s worth adding that song to your “favorites” playlist for later enjoyment together.


Featured Image Credit: Vantage_DS, Shutterstock

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