While watching a nature documentary with my son the other day, it moved to a section about birds and how the males are generally the ones that do all the singing.
There are a lot of reasons they do so, but mostly they’re trying to attract a mate.
There are some exceptions, like robins, which will often sing for territory.
He asked me, though, about if this was why our female cockatiel never talked.
I wasn’t sure, so I decided to look into it.
So, do female cockatiels talk?
Generally, they don’t. They can, but the males are much, much chattier than females. While females certainly can learn to talk, if you really want your cockatiel to talk, you should get a male. They will be much more likely to vocalize. Again, this is because males are usually trying to attract mates.
So, they can, but they usually don’t.
Female cockatiels can be taught to talk, but you’ll have a much easier time getting a male to talk than a female.
Males are more interested in being noticed, and being boisterous—indeed, in competing.
They are the ones who have to compete to mate.
Let’s look further into this.
Can I teach a female cockatiel to talk?
While it’s definitely possible, the simple fact is you’re going to have an enormously harder time teaching a female cockatiel to talk than you are a male.
Many do indeed have extremely chatty female cockatiels, but these are definitely the exception and not the rule.
If you want your cockatiel to talk, or you want to be able to teach it to talk, you should get a male.
It will be much chattier by nature, and so getting it to talk will be fairly easy.
Females have no real drive or impulse to imitate sounds they hear.
Teaching a female cockatiel to talk would be a process involving treats, positive reinforcement, and a lot of effort.
Male cockatiels will probably just start picking up things you say even if you don’t train him.
So, if what you want is a challenge, then yes, you can teach a female cockatiel to talk.
If you want a cockatiel that will be easy to train to talk, or will even just start talking on its own, you should get a male.
Whistling is a bit easier, though.
Can females do that?
Can female cockatiels learn to whistle?
Whistling is much simpler, and so if you whistle a lot a female may indeed pick it up as a means of getting your attention.
This is really the only reason females would vocalize, and even then, they still would probably prefer to use touch or contact to get your attention.
So, whistling is definitely an easier task than talking. in some cases, particularly vocal females may even whistle unprompted, if they hear you doing so often.
Nonetheless, though, if you want an easy job of teaching your cockatiel to whistle, you still should probably get a male.
They will take to it much more easily, and they’ll do it a lot more often once they’ve learned.
Are female cockatiels quiet?
As I said, in the wild, most of the reason males are so vocal is because they can use their voices to impress females.
Being able to mimic noises very well, or very loudly, shows the female that they are healthy and virile.
Females don’t need to attract males.
So, in general, they’ve got no reason to vocalize.
Often, they use noises and chirps to communicate with their mate—but this is about as vocal as they get.
Talking is a whole other story, and something that the cockatiel has to hear many times before it can properly mimic it.
So, why is this?
Why don’t female cockatiels talk?
When it comes to talking, it’s down to the simple fact that learning to mimic complex sounds like this takes time.
Females have no natural impulse to learn to mimic sounds, because, again, the males do this to attract mates.
Without the impulse to constantly mimic noises they hear, they don’t pick up that ability to accurately reproduce the sounds.
With training, they can be taught, and, again, they do have all the vocal organs necessary to do so.
But when they ignore or at the very least never mimic sounds they hear, they aren’t going to naturally pick up the ability to talk.
Female cockatiels possess all the same vocal cords that allow males to sing.
It’s just a question of will and habit. In the wild, females have no reason to sing or talk, because the primary reason males do so is to attract mates.
Indeed, this is more or less universally true of birds, and certainly tropical birds.
Males do all the singing.
Females are much quieter.