Why Do Cockatoos Dance? {Are They Really Dancing?}

I think my cockatoo is copying me. Why do cockatoos dance? Are we dancing together or is my cockatoo making fun of me?

Do cockatoos really dance or are we mistaking these movements for something else? What do cockatoos do for fun?

In this article, we’ll check out some cockatoo dance moves and find out why they do it.

Why Do Cockatoos Dance?

Cockatoos are energetic and expressive. One way they display their inherent passion and social engagement is by dancing. This is because of:

  1. Social Bonding: Cockatoos communicate and build bonds through dancing. The social bonds between members of a flock or human family are strengthened.
  2. Courting Behavior: Cockatoos frequently conduct complex dance moves to entice females during mating rituals. These exhibits demonstrate their genetic fitness and vigor.
  3. Intellect: Cockatoos are clever, lively birds who love to explore their environment. They play and express themselves in this way. They can express their happiness and become active by dancing.

Why Do Cockatoos Move Up and Down?

Cockatoos frequently engage in an activity known as “crest-raising,” in which they raise and lower their crest. This conduct accomplishes the following goals:

1. Communication

Cockatoos use the visual approach of crest-raising to communicate. They can utilize it to communicate their emotional condition to other birds or people, such as enthusiasm, curiosity, or hostility.

2. Connection

Cockatoos use their crest to engage with other birds or their human partners in social contact, expressing their curiosity and willingness for connection.

3. Intimidation

Cockatoos’ crest may be raised in certain circumstances to make it look bigger and more frightening as a protective show, fending off possible threats or intruders.

4. Aggression

Crest-raising may also be an act of confidence and aggressiveness used to establish authority within a social hierarchy or to make oneself known.

Why Do Cockatoos Bounce to Music?

When they hear music, cockatoos often bounce or bob their bodies in a very interesting way. This regular reaction comes from their natural tendency to move in patterns that match rhythms.

When they hear music with a steady beat, cockatoos can’t help but bounce in time with the music to show how happy and excited they are.

This is a way for them to express themselves and show how happy they are when they hear something. Bouncing to music can also be a social activity that helps cockatoos bond with their human friends or other birds by giving them something they can do together and giving them a shared experience.

Not all cockatoos may do this, because each one has its own tastes and personality. Giving cockatoos a safe and interesting place to listen to music can be good for their general health and make for a fun show for people who watch them.

YouTube video

What Does It Mean When a Cockatoo Flaps Its Wings?

When a cockatoo flaps its wings, it can mean different things based on the situation and the other things it does at the same time:

  • Excitement or happiness
  • Communication
  • Playfulness
  • Assertion of territory

When a cockatoo flaps its wings, it can be a sign that it is happy or excited about something in its surroundings. When cockatoos play, they may flap their wings to show how excited they are and get some exercise.

Cockatoos can talk to people or other birds by moving their wings. They do this to get attention or to say what they need or want. When a cockatoo flaps its wings, it may be doing so as a way to mark its territory and show that it is the boss in that area.

To figure out what a cockatoo is trying to say when it flaps its wings, you need to look at its other actions, body language, and the general situation.

Are Cockatoos Really Dancing?

Not always. It may appear that cockatoos are dancing, but their movements are not a deliberate attempt to perform a coordinated dance routine like humans do.

Cockatoos engage in various behaviors, such as:

  • head-bobbing
  • wing-flapping
  • foot-tapping

While that may give the impression of dancing, these behaviors are often a response to certain stimuli, such as:

  • music
  • social interaction
  • play

Cockatoos are naturally energetic and expressive birds, and their movements can be a form of:

  • communication
  • social bonding
  • excitement and joy

While it’s delightful to watch and interpret their movements as dancing, remember that these actions are instinctual.

What Do Cockatoos Like to Do for Fun?

This is what I notice cockatoos do for fun and enrichment:

  1. Foraging
  2. Chewing
  3. Social Interaction
  4. Learning and Training
  5. Enrichment Toys
  6. Exploring and Climbing

1. Foraging

This is a natural activity for cockatoos, and giving them toys, games, or hiding treats in their surroundings lets them do it. This keeps them mentally and physically busy.

2. Chewing

Cockatoos have strong beaks and like to chew on safe and appropriate things, like bird-safe toys, twigs, and things that can be chewed. This keeps their beaks healthy and gives them something to do.

3. Interacting with People and Other Birds

Cockatoos are very social birds that love to talk to people and other birds. They like to be outside their cage, talk to their owners, and play games with them.

4. Learning and training

Cockatoos are smart and can be taught to do tricks or jobs with the help of positive feedback. Training lessons keep the bird’s mind active and help the bond between the bird and its owner grow stronger.

5. Enrichment Toys

Cockatoos can be kept busy and happy by giving them a range of toys, such as puzzle toys, bells, swings, and ropes.

6. Explore their environment

They climb on perches or play gyms, and check out new things or places in their environment.

Let’s give cockatoos a safe and stimulating setting where they can do these things and where their tastes and needs can be met.

Cockatoos need to be socialized, mentally stimulated, and physically active on a regular basis in order to be happy and satisfied.


Even though it might look like cockatoos are dancing, they are not trying to do planned moves. Cockatoos do things like flap their wings, bob their heads, and tap their feet, which can look like they are dancing.

These are acts that come naturally and are often triggered by things like music, social contact, or play. Cockatoos are lively and expressive birds, and their moves are a way for them to communicate, bond with each other, and show themselves off.

By giving them an exciting and enriching setting, they can do what comes naturally to them and enjoy their unique “dance-like” movements. Sit back and enjoy or dance along!


Thank you for visiting PocketPetCentral.com for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.