Why Do Cockatiels Molt Their Head Feathers? A Comprehensive Guide.

Molting in cockatiels occurs in cycles, which can vary depending on the bird’s age, gender, and environment. Typically, cockatiels molt twice a year, but it can happen more or less frequently. The first molt happens when the bird is about six months old, and the second one happens when they are over a year old. After that, they molt once a year.

How long does molting last?

The duration of molting can also vary depending on the bird’s age, gender, and environment. Typically, molting lasts for three to four weeks, but it can last up to six weeks or more. During this time, the bird’s old feathers fall off, and new ones grow in their place.

Why do cockatiels molt?

There are several reasons why cockatiels molt. Some of the reasons are natural, while others are environmental or medical.

Natural causes of molting

One of the natural causes of molting in cockatiels is to replace old, worn-out feathers. Feathers are made of keratin, which is a protein that wears down over time. Molting is a way for the bird to get rid of the old, worn-out feathers and replace them with new and healthy ones.

Environmental causes of molting

Environmental factors can also cause molting in cockatiels. Changes in temperature, humidity, and light can trigger molting. For example, if a bird is exposed to longer periods of daylight, it can trigger the molting process.

Medical causes of molting

Medical conditions can also cause molting in cockatiels. For example, if a bird is suffering from a vitamin deficiency or other health issues, it can trigger molting. If you notice that your bird is molting excessively or has bald spots, it’s essential to take them to a veterinarian.

Why do cockatiels molt their head feathers?

Cockatiels molt their head feathers for several reasons. The head feathers play an important role in the bird’s overall appearance and health.

Role of head feathers

Head feathers protect the bird’s head from the sun’s harmful rays. They also help the bird to regulate its body temperature. Additionally, head feathers play a crucial role in the bird’s communication and social behavior. Cockatiels use their head feathers to express their emotions, such as fear, aggression, and excitement.

Physical changes during head feather molt

During head feather molt, cockatiels may experience physical changes such as bald spots, flaky skin, and itchiness. These changes can cause discomfort to the bird, and it’s important to take care of them during this time.

Caring for a cockatiel during molting

Molting can be a stressful time for a cockatiel, and it’s important to take extra care of them during this time.

Nutrition and hydration

During molting, cockatiels require a balanced diet that includes protein, vitamins, and minerals. Providing your bird with fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality pellets can help them stay healthy and hydrated. It’s also important to provide your bird with fresh, clean water at all times.

Preventing feather picking

Feather picking is a common behavior in cockatiels during molting. It’s important to prevent this behavior as it can lead to additional feather loss and skin damage. Providing your bird with toys, perches, and other activities can help keep them occupied and prevent feather picking.

Bathing and cleaning

Bathing and cleaning your bird’s cage can also help them during molting. Providing your bird with a shallow dish of water or misting them with a spray bottle can help them clean their feathers. Additionally, cleaning their cage regularly can prevent the buildup of dust, dander, and other irritants that can cause skin problems.


Molting is a natural process that all birds go through, including cockatiels. Molting of head feathers is a necessary process for the bird’s overall health and well-being. Understanding why cockatiels molt their head feathers and how to care for them during this time is essential to their health and happiness. By providing them with a balanced diet, preventing feather picking, and bathing and cleaning them regularly, you can help your cockatiel through the molting process and ensure their continued health and happiness.

ThePetFaq Team