Ask Lafeber

Question:

February 19, 2021

why did my parrot suddenly start singing after the other one died?


i had two cockatiels; my male cockatiel has recently died due to sickness (although i cant be sure, he just looked very sick one night and we couldnt take him to the vet because it was very late, but he was constantly sleeping with his head up and drinking alot. the other one probably knew that he was sick and kept screaming at him whenever he got close to her) and after that my female parrot, who was very quiet, started singing and being very vocal all of a sudden as if shes calling out to him. i probably cant get another cockatiel because i heard that they have mates for life, is she lonely? how can i help her?


Answer:

Hi,

I’m very sorry for your loss. She is most likely calling for her mate. This is normal and she will go through a grieving process. Just make sure she is eating and otherwise normal. While cockatiels do mate for life, this isn’t literal. The term “mate for life” means they stay with the same mate for as long as they live. But if one of the pair dies, the survivor will find a new mate at some point. Their instinct is to have a mate and produce offspring, so the “for life” term applies to both birds being healthy. In the wild, if one bird in a pair is injured or unable to reproduce anymore, the mate will sadly end up abandoning the other at some point – usually when the flock moves on or breeding season arrives. We tend to apply human emotions to the term, but instinct is stronger in the wild. So after some time to grieve, and to make sure she isn’t sick, too, you can likely introduce another mate for her if you want to. It’s best to find one that is close to the same age. You would not want to get a young male because she would likely bully him if he isn’t mature yet.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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