Ask Lafeber


March 28, 2019

cockatoo’s not talking

i’ve had a cockatoo for about 6 years now and i love her. she is completely healthy and loves to play, but in all the time i had her she never said a peep. the only word she does say every now and then is hi, but other than that nothing. she mainly just whistles. im ok with this but i am curious on why she mainly whistles.


Hi Jane,

Your cockatoo sounds very normal for a cockatoo. Cockatoos are not known for their talking abilities. While there are exceptions, it is more common for a cockatoo not to talk than to have a large vocabulary. Hi and hello is about what you can expect from a cockatoo in general. Nobody knows why this is the case, since they have the same means of talking as any other parrot. But some species are known for talking while others are not. One day someone will do a study and determine a scientific reason for this. Some birds do seem to prefer to whistle. You may be told that once a bird learns to whistle, it won’t learn to talk. This really is not true – it’s more of a case of perception since many non-talking birds whistle a lot. You can talk to her a lot and she may learn more words, but if not, at least you know she is normal for her species.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


Subscribe to our newsletter