Why Do Cockatiels Grind Their Beaks? (You Must Know)

Many owners have observed their pet cockatiels grinding their beaks. It can be alarming for some owners because the first thing that comes to mind is some underlying health condition. But is it so? Why is your cockatiel grinding its beak? Let’s find out!

Beak grinding means that your cockatiel is in a relaxed state. Sometimes, cockaiels even grind their beak sometimes before falling asleep. It is a sign of comfort. Until your bird is content and not causing themselves any harm by doing this, you must not be concerned.

Let’s discuss more about beak grinding in cockatiels and what it means. We will also explain when you should worry about them and when you shouldn’t.

What Does It Mean When Cockatiel Grinds Their Beak?

If you own a cockatiel, you must often hear your cockatiel’s making highpitched scratching noise.

Beak grinding behavior in cockatiels have a number of meanings, all of which are harmless:

Your Bird Is Happy

If your cockatiel is grinding its beak, it mostly means that it is in a relaxed state.

In cockatiels, the grinding of the beak can be compared to purring in cats.

Beak grinding in cockatiel is an indication that your bird is happy with its current situation.

Trimming Their Beaks

A cockatiels beak grow throughout their lives. Therefore, beak grinding is a great way to keep your bird’s beak at an appropriate length.

Cockatiel’s beaks are made up from kertain. Therefore, like human nails, it tends to grow continiously.

If the beak of your cockatiel is not worn down, then it may keep growing and will eventually curl in to harm your bird’s face.

Grinding of the beak from side to side, as well as on other objects, allows your cockatiel’s to keep the beak at a manageable length.

You can make this process easier by giving your cockatiels a cuttlebone.

Just Playing

Most cockatiels find the beak grinding process really fun.

If you see that your cockatiel is happy and play in this way, it basically means that it is having a good time.

When Do Cockatiels Grind Their Beaks?

In most cases, cockatiels grind their beaks at night just as they prepare themselves to fall asleep.

My cockatiels even grind their beaks before taking their daytime nap. I have seen that this comforting gesture allows our birds to wind down and relax.

As a self-soothing practice, grinding can have a relaxing effect that enables the cockatiels to sleep.

What Does Cockatiel Beak Grinding Sound Like?

8 out of 10 cockatiel owners describe their bird’s beak grinding as sounding scratchy and high-pitched or a click.

Cockatiels produce such sound by rubbing the top and bottom beak together. If you’ve never heard the sound before, think of it as a noise produced when you scratch a rough surface using your nails.

Hearing this noise coming from your cockatiel can be startling if you’ve not experienced it before.

Is It Normal For Cockatiels To Grind Their Beaks Beaks Loudly?

Sometimes, a cockatiel grinding its beak can be exceptionally loud.

Cockatiels slide their maxilla (upper jaw) against their mandible (lower jaw) to produce the grinding sound, which sometimes can be unusually loud.

However, the volume and intensity of your cockatiel grinding its beak don’t change its meaning.

If your cockatiel is grinding its beak in quiet, soft tones could mean that it is dozing off. On the other hand, louder grinding can mean that your cockatiel is alert and happy to be clicking away with its beak.

How Often Should A Cockatiel Grind Its Beak?

I enquired a few of my veterinarian friends and found out that there is no fixed timeline for when and how much a cockatiel should grind its beak.

In some cases, cockatiels grind its beak once a week, other times, they grind thier beaks several times a day.

Your cockatiel will grind its beak whenever it is feeling happy and relaxed. In general, most cockatiels grind its beak as it prepares to take a nap during the daytime or at night right before it goes to sleep.

Do Cockatiels Feel Pain When They Grind Their Beaks?

Seeing your cockatiel grind its beak for the very first time might be extremly concerning for you.

A cockatiel’s beak are made up of keratin. Just like human nails, a cockatiel’s beak can break when exerted with a lot of pressure.

Just like our nails, a cockatiel feels no pain when they grind its beak.

In general, a cockatiel grind its beak to express their contentment and happiness.

Besides this, grinding teeth also has some benefits for our birds. It helps them shave off bits of their beaks to prevent them from growing too long.

To be honest, your cockatiel will do just will without any intervention on your part.

However, you must be concerned if your cockatiel already has an injury to its beak.

Fortunately, on the other hand, your cockatiel’s beak will grow back and heal on its own if it is slightly chipped.

Should I Give My Cockatiel Something To Grind Its Beak On?

As discussed, beak grinding is a completely normal behavior in cockatiels. However, I understand if you are getting worries or think there is something wrong with your bird.

If your cockatiel is grinding its beak to its nest or bedding, then it would be better to offer your cockatiel a tool instead. A grinding toy will definitely help your bird in teeth grinding.

You can get your bird a cuttlefish bone. Studies suggests that cuttlebones contain calcium and other important minerals, which is good for our cockatiel’s beak grinding.

Besides the cuttlebone, you can also provide your bird with a beak grinding stone.

A beak grinding stone is basically a nutrient-rich rough perch that your cockatiel can sit on and grind its beak. Just like most other birds, cockatiels like to rub their beaks on hard surfaces to keep them trim.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you are a new cockatiel owner then you must have been taken aback when you first noticed your bird grinding its beak.

However, you must understand that beak grinding is a common behavior un cockatiels. Most of the birds finds it relaxing. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about.

It is important to bond with your bird on a daily basis. I would advise you to feed your cockatiels with a healthy and well-balanced diet, give it a spacious place to live in, and know that the next time you hear that grinding, it’s a sign that you’re doing great as a pet owner.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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