Do Cockatoos Get Jealous? Understanding Your Pet’s Emotions

Cockatoos, known for their affectionate and intelligent nature, have intrigued pet owners and bird enthusiasts alike. A question that often arises is whether or not these fascinating birds can exhibit complex emotions such as jealousy. In this article, we will delve into the world of cockatoos and explore their emotional capacity to understand if jealousy plays a role in their behavior.

When it comes to experiencing jealousy, the short answer is yes, cockatoos can indeed exhibit this emotion. Like other parrots, they can form strong bonds with their human caretakers, and as a result, can become envious of attention given to others.

If you’re eager to learn more about how to recognize jealous behavior in your pet cockatoo, as well as ways to manage this emotion and ensure a healthy relationship between you and your feathered friend, keep reading for invaluable insights and helpful tips.

The Capacity for Emotion in Birds

Before discussing jealousy in cockatoos, it is essential to understand their emotional capacity. Birds, especially parrots, have been found to possess advanced emotional and cognitive abilities that are similar to those of mammals.

Emotions in Cockatoos

Cockatoos, like other parrots, have large brains compared to their body size. This allows them to exhibit a range of emotions, such as happiness, sadness, fear, and yes, even jealousy. Cockatoos can form strong emotional bonds with their owners and can become quite attached to them.

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The Science Behind Bird Emotions

Several studies have shown that birds, especially those in the parrot family, have brain structures capable of facilitating complex emotions. The nidopallium caudolaterale is a region of the bird’s brain that is believed to play a crucial role in processing and expressing emotions, similar to the mammalian limbic system.

Recognizing Jealous Behavior in Cockatoos

Cockatoos can display jealousy through various behaviors, ranging from subtle signs to more aggressive actions. It’s crucial to recognize these behaviors and address them to maintain a healthy relationship with your pet.


One way cockatoos may express jealousy is through vocalization. They might become louder, mimic human speech, or even screech when they feel neglected or envious of the attention given to others.

Demanding Attention

Jealous cockatoos may try to demand your undivided attention by climbing onto your shoulder or hand, disrupting your activities, or insistently nuzzling you for affection.


In more extreme cases, a jealous cockatoo might display aggression towards the person or object receiving attention, such as biting or lunging. This behavior should be taken seriously and promptly addressed.

Managing Jealousy in Your Cockatoo

Now that we understand the jealous behaviors exhibited by cockatoos, let’s discuss ways to ensure a healthy and harmonious relationship with your pet.

Consistent Interaction

Regular interaction with your cockatoo is essential for their emotional well-being. Set aside time each day to engage in activities with your bird, like playing with toys, talking, or offering gentle physical touch.


Introducing your cockatoo to new people, environments, and experiences can help reduce their reliance on you for social interaction and minimize jealousy.

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Rewards and Positive Reinforcement

Reward your bird with praise and treats when they engage in positive behaviors, and ignore negative or jealous behaviors. This will help reinforce good behavior and lessen jealousy.


It is well-established that cockatoos can experience jealousy, as they possess the emotional capacity to do so. Recognizing and managing jealous behavior in your pet is crucial for maintaining a healthy, happy relationship. By dedicating time and effort to proper socialization, consistent interaction, and positive reinforcement, you can ensure a harmonious bond with your cockatoo for years to come.


1. Are cockatoos good pets?

Cockatoos can be wonderful pets for the right owner, given their affectionate and intelligent nature. However, they require consistent interaction, socialization, and care to thrive.

2. Do other types of parrots experience jealousy like cockatoos?

Yes, many parrots, such as African Greys, Amazons, and Macaws, can also exhibit jealousy due to their advanced emotional capacities.

3. How can I introduce my cockatoo to new people?

Introduce your cockatoo to new people in a controlled environment with supervision. Allow them to approach and interact at their own pace while offering praise and treats for positive behavior.

4. What should I do if my cockatoo’s jealousy becomes aggressive?

In cases of aggressive behavior, it is essential to address the aggression promptly. Consult with a professional bird trainer or avian veterinarian for guidance on managing and mitigating aggressive behavior.

5. Can jealousy in cockatoos lead to health issues?

If left unaddressed, jealous behavior and stress can lead to health issues in birds, such as feather plucking, decreased appetite, or self-inflicted injuries. Hence, it is crucial to manage your cockatoo’s jealousy to ensure their overall well-being.

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