Why Is My Cockatiel Yawning So Much (When To Worry?)

Why Is My Cockatiel Yawning So Much

It is a pleasure to see cockatiels acknowledging comfort and excitement while being with us. But what if I tell you that yawning could mean it? One common activity of cockatiels is yawning, and it took me years to recognize that there is a multitude of meanings to yawning. So, why is my cockatiel yawning so much?

A regular yawn of a cockatiel is normal, but when it follows a pattern or gets excessive, it is due to – the development of anxiety, respiratory infection, bacterial infection, lump in the throat, insufficient oxygen, happiness, and tired.

Yawning is often adjoined with other unusual symptoms. Let us look at common habits and ways to handle them with a checklist.

Why do cockatiels yawn?

Cockatiels yawn due to tiredness, anxiety, happiness, stretching muscles, preening, respiratory infection, and insufficient oxygen.

Sleep deprivation

If cockatiels are tired or sleep deprived, they frequently yawn as a way to try and get more rest.

In this case, cockatiels display feather plucking behavior, severe lethargy, and aggression until they get enough sleep. Remember to provide the perfect and comfortable space.


In some cases, cockatiels yawn excessively due to anxiety or stress. If your cockatiels have been exposed to new partners, poor living spaces, sudden noises, and loss of partners, they can develop stress and anxiety. In that case, cockatiels yawn repeatedly, and periods extend beyond 30 minutes.

This research article highlights how stress can inhibit new behaviorsOpens in a new tab. like yawning in budgies.

Some stressed cockatiels also lose weight. Here is an article – how to make cockatiel gain weight?


If a cockatiel is happy or content, it may also yawn as a way of stretching its muscles or preening its feathers. You can notice this behavior when you pet the little one.


Preening is quite common among cockatiels as they replenish their fur by eliminating debris and improving the presence of oils. One common reason for repeated yawn is stretching their muscles. This is to keep the crop ready and clean self. Just ensure that the cockatiel remains comfortable throughout the time and does not show signs of depression.


If your cockatiels yawn due to respiratory infection, you should check for the presence of discharge or wheezing. You should check if you have lit candles or other fragrances that ruined their respiratory tracts.

Here is an article on fragrances – are essential oils safe for cockatiels?

In some cases, yawning can be a symptom of an underlying bacterial infection. If you think your cockatiel has a bacterial infection, take it to the vet for a check-up and antibiotics.

Is it normal for cockatiels to yawn a lot?

It is normal for cockatiels to yawn regularly, but when it is excessive, it indicates irritation, respiratory infection, or inconvenience. In some cases, they can yawn out of happiness or stress.

Watch out for other symptoms to confirm the exact cause. Remember to take your cockatiel to the vet if you are unsure about your bird’s health. Normal yawning is fine as confirmed by avian health expertOpens in a new tab., Patty Jourgensen.

Excessive yawning is unhealthy, and it always holds a meaning. Some cockatiels can suddenly yawn too much, and it can become contagious to other cockatielsOpens in a new tab. too.

What should I do if my cockatiel yawns?

If your cockatiel yawns repeatedly, you should check for underlying symptoms and report them to a vet. This will expose them to complete examination and determine the likelihood of trauma.

If the yawning is due to boredom, you should try to increase your cockatiel’s environmental stimulation by providing more toys and perches. If your cockatiel is yawning excessively, it could be a sign of illness, so make sure to take them to the vet for a checkup.

What is worse is repeated yawning among old cockatiels. Such aged birds can often develop multiple complications, and respiratory infections are pretty common. If you’ve got an old cockatiel, it’s best to take them for routine checkups at the vet to make sure they’re in good health.

Should I be worried if my cockatiel keeps yawning?

Do not worry if your cockatiel yawns occasionally. When there is a repeated yawn, you should check if it persists for several days before taking him to the vet.

Rushing to a vet when your cockatiel wanted comfortable bedding could appear silly. When cockatiels have internal complications, they can yawn for several days. This means the complications should be treated. However, most times, they yawn for a couple of days, and this only means he was tired or too happy or anxious about the current environment.

What does it mean if a bird keeps yawning?

Yawning in birds is common, and this can be associated with preening or stretching muscles. When you pet them, they can become excessively overwhelmed. Birds also yawn when they want to be left alone or are bored. So, if a bird yawns while you’re around, he might be trying to tell you something!

In any case, it’s always best to consult with an avian veterinarian if you have any concerns about your bird’s health.

Do birds yawn to communicate?

Birds can use yawning as a way to communicate with their flock mates or owners. A bird that frequently yawns around others may be trying to show dominance, signal submission, or even just indicate that he’s bored.

If your bird starts yawning more often when you’re around, it might be his way of telling you to back off! In general, though, yawning is just a normal part of a bird’s daily routine and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

Why is my cockatiel opening and closing his mouth?

When a cockatiel opens and closes his mouth regularly, it indicates preening. There is no need to worry as he is into self-cleaning his body and circulating oils.

When there is repetition in this behavior, it means the existence of a health issue.


Here are things to check with your cockatiel:

  • Is he keeping his mouth wide and occasionally closing it?
  • Is there anything in his throat stopping him from closing his mouth?
  • Is the space free from artificial fragrances?
  • Does he look stressed?
  • Has his appetite level worsened after the repeated behavior?
  • Has his energy levels gone down?
  • Does he yawn when bored or when people are around?

In any case, these questions are sufficient to understand the needs of cockatiels.

Also read – How to make cockatiel lose weight?

Why does my cockatiel yawn when I pet him?

When a cockatiel yawns when you pet him, it is out of happiness and excitement. Cockatiels are social creatures. Although they are calm, they enjoy the company of humans.

Why does my cockatiel yawn when I pet him

When you pet him, you can also see him shaking his head and gaining further attention. He might also nip you to show affection. All these behaviors mean that your cockatiel is excited and happy with the petting session. Enjoy the moment and give him some head scratches.

Why is my cockatiel yawning and shaking head?

Yawning and shaking head in cockatiels could mean attention-seeking behavior, bacterial infection, and throat obstruction. If your cockatiel is healthy and has no respiratory infection, he might be yawning to get your attention.

Cockatiels can get bacterial infections in the throat that could cause yawning and shaking of the head. In this case, you might also see other symptoms like wheezing, gaping beak, and tail bobbing. If your cockatiel is showing these symptoms, note them and take him to the vet immediately.

Final Thoughts

Birds like parakeets and cockatiels display different behaviors to convey certain meanings. As you handle them, remember to identify underlying causes for these behaviors.

I was amazed at the unknown causes of yawning, and I am sure you would be too. Use the checklist in this article!

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Sowmya Sankaran

Sowmya Sankaran is crazy about animals and birds! An avid rescuer and rehabilitator of animals and birds, she uses PETSMOND to share her experiences in raising different creatures and paying attention to intricate aspects of their health. Know more about me - https://petsmond.com/about/

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