Cockatiel appears to sing themes from various video games

cockatiel.jpgI watched every single video in this guy's YouTube channel of his cockatiel singing themes from various video games, and can't figure out if it's a miracle or a hoax. I have never kept a cockatiel as a pet, but have kept other exotic birds, and I have a hard time buying that it's not faked. But either way, I enjoyed.

Cockatiel sings Theme of Chocobo (Final Fantasy)
(blackwhite810, thanks Joe Sabia)

Update: Most commenters thinks it's real. I am a jaded internetter, but okay, I'll go with the popular vote. Cockatiels are amazing and life is a miracle!


  1. I used to have a neighbor that had a parrot that could whistle the Andy Griffith theme song.

  2. Most cockateils are great whistlers and easily pickup new tunes. This little guy does better than most, but he’s not extraordinary. I doubt this is a hoax… more likely he’s pretty annoying if you have to live with it all the time. Good things they are smart and fun little companions.
    (Don’t get one though, unless you do a LOT of internet homework on what it takes to keep them happy/healthy. Parrots aren’t like cats/dogs/fish/rats/etc. It’s a lot of work)

  3. Why do you think it’s a hoax? Cockatiels are pretty good at whistling tunes. That sounds like how a tiel whistles.

    I have two green cheek conures. They don’t sing, but they do talk (and whistle). My girlfriend’s mother has two cockatiels who love the Andy Griffith theme (like Anon’s friend) and do their best to whistle it back. Admittedly they kind of butcher it.

    There are tons of cockatiels whistling tunes in videos on YouTube if, for some reason, you were not to trust that particular user. Searching on any bird boards should also confirm for any skeptics that this is pretty common behavior.

  4. I don’t think it’s either a miracle or a hoax. Cockatiels are immensely talented mimics. If this bird’s owner played the music near him or her often enough, it would be miraculous if the bird DIDN’T pick up the melodies.

    Plus, watch the beak.

  5. Clearly the bird’s owner is a gamer, so it has started to imitate the tunes it’s exposed to. It’s not a miracle or a hoax, just a natural behavior. I’ve heard mockingbirds imitate car alarms, and wasn’t there a news story about a parrot that imitated the ring of its owner’s cell phone?

  6. I would be willing to bet that it is not a hoax. It is, however, a grand testament to how often this dude must play these games. Most parroty birds (sorry, I don’t know the official term) learn by repitition of sounds.

  7. Remember about 20 years ago, when car alarms going off was ubiquitous throughout the urban landscape? There was one particular model of alarm that would cycle through about six different alarms, over and over. I once heard a mockingbird sing that. Both hilarious and quite disturbing.

    So yeah, a cockatiel singing video game themes isn’t all that surprising.

    1. The mockingbirds in my neighborhood know all the car alarm sounds too. They even do all the different arming “chirps” as well. Oh and backing up trucks.

  8. Yeah this is definitely not faked, you can even see his little beak and throat moving. I used to keep Cockatiels. It’s surprising what they can pick up, especially if they’ve been hand-reared.

  9. I had a cockatiel and my ex-wife still has the same one. He is very smart and can even mimic speach when he’s in the mood. He also will mimic gestures not just sounds.

  10. I had a cockatiel who was pretty fond of the Simpsons, she would imitate Nelson’s laugh pretty well, and could do some of the theme song. They are pretty smart and good at imitating, I doubt this is a hoax.

  11. Like others have said, cockatiels are very good at picking up tunes. It’s adorable but when you get woken up with the sunrise every day by a tweeting version of the X-Men theme, it gets a little annoying.

  12. ‘Teils must love Andy Griffith in general, because mine would do that one all the time. Simpson’s theme too. As well as mimicking the wild birds outside. I’m going to weigh in with my opinion that the vid is legit. Sure sounds like a cockatiel, especially the random squawks that intersperse the whistling.

  13. I have dreams about flying in the sky.
    What’s that all about?
    whoo ooh ohh wheeee. Oh yeah. Really cute.

  14. One look at that bird’s face tells you this bird does not do hoaxes. This is serious.

    Happily serious, yes… but certainly serious.

  15. i dont think its fake, birds sing for a living,

    though all of these videos have a number of cuts, so I think the bird is good at short clips of the songs with over stuff mixed in, and the video has been edited to make the song seamless…

    which is still pretty cool….

  16. Looks pretty real to me. The bird’s breathing pretty much syncs up with the noises and timing.

  17. I have no doubt that Cockatiels are talented, but shouldn’t his claws be making noise as he walks around? Parakeets I have met do.

    That being said I enjoyed Avitar too and it was almost completely “fake”.

  18. I wondered the other day, how much fun it would be to have a budgie trained to make R2D2 noises. While I’m sure it would be slightly annoying, I think it would be kind neat to have the blue-and-white headed budgie make the electricuted R2D2 sound.

  19. I have been around many birds and don’t find this amazing at all. One Cockatiel I knew could do the Brandenburg Concerto in its entirety. Another specialized in Stravinsky. This still does not justify keeping birds in cages. However, this does sound suspiciously like my stoner friend’s off-key whistling. As Mr. Carroll said, we should have heard a bit of cage rattle as the bird walked around. Either way, probably not faked. Why bother? After all, it isn’t Bach, is it?

  20. My cat loved it! Drove her crazy.

    Reminds me of a restaurant I went to as a kid in CA, that had several myna birds in the lobby. Most could cuss like sailors, lol!

  21. We had a lovebird that could meow, do the kettle whistle, a pretty good rendition of a Star Trek communicator (our roomate watched a LOT of Star Trek) as well as imitate coffee percalating and the sound of the cat in the litter box. All of these were annoying at 3am

  22. I believe it – I grew up with a cockatiel who sang Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (just the opening) and did a catcall whistle. So, I can imagine that with a bit of training, this would be possible.

    I hope it’s true.

    I’m tired of things that aren’t.

  23. I have a tiel and they certainly are capable of doing this. I happened to be online looking for tiels singing today and saw one on YouTube doing Bridge Over the River Kwai. Very cute. I never thought a bird could be so affectionate and so much fun but ours has become a member of the family!

  24. I love the little squawk of protest whenever the owner tries to whistle along.

    “I can do it myself!”

  25. It’s real (or super-impressive dubbing if it’s not!)
    I once taught an annoying neighbor’s parrot the theme from “Sweeney Todd” by just whistling it daily from the other side of our shared back fence. The poor bird was neglected and bored, and happily picked it up in four or five days.

  26. My friend in HS had a cockatiel that would alternate between the ‘Charge!’ bugle call (like at a baseball game) and the phone ringing for hours on end. It was certainly the most terribly annoying thing you could possibly have in your house.

  27. This doesn’t surprise me. Check out the songs of the lyre bird, including chainsaw noises, from forresters sawing trees down in the forest, or the sound of a camera shutter, or a camera with a motor drive, from when people are taking photos, or a car alarm, etc:

    Or the vogelkop bowerbird’s vocal repetoir:

    I’ve heard parrots and mynah birds mimic all kinds of sounds; it doesn’t surprise me that a cockatiel is singing video game songs.

  28. It’s a shame the little guy only has video game themes to work with. I say get him near some Nessun Dorma or Madama Butterfly, or Der Ring des Nibelungen and let him cut loose. Some Jerry Goldsmith, at least, for Christ’s sake.

  29. my very talented elder cockatiel got very, very good at whistling the X-Files theme song in the 90s… of course, it was on once a week plus off-season re-runs, so she got plenty of chances to hear it. tiels are great mimics and will pick up and mimic ANYTHING that appeals to them… including a fair shake at a human sneeze!

  30. Mine just whistles. You know, that hot woman walking by whistle. Oh and it whistles “peek-a-boo”. I think I need a new one that sings songs.

  31. After having numerous Cockatiels as well as a parrot, I can say they whistle well! oftentimes when you least want them too!
    One bird mimiced the sound of our car door when key is in and open ( Di di di di di di ) :O
    Wife adopted one that was a screecher:O So be glad that one only whistles! Or at least what they filmed!

  32. This seems totally plausible to me as well! I’ve had several cockatiels and they are absolutely capable of this. The most awesome thing any of them whistled was a pair that could both whistle the Addams Family theme song. However, instead of snapping their fingers (which they obviously lacked), they would rap their beaks against something hard like a perch or the side of the cage at the appropriate time in the song. Alas, this was in the days before video-capable digital cameras and youtube, so I do not have that feat recorded for posterity.

  33. We thought it would be funny to teach our cockatiel a bunch of different songs…and it was pretty cute. But he’d get confused and start making strange mash-ups.

    I don’t think this is a hoax, either.

  34. The only thing I have to add is that a neighbor of mine had a parrot who would whistle the Andy Griffith theme song (i could hear it up the block), and one day I chatted with the guy, and he told me wearily that the only music the bird had been exposed to as a young parrot was a tape of songs *for* parrots, which included the Andy Griffith theme song.

    Another mystery solved.

  35. It would be easy to train. Keep the birdcage in the room with the game console or computer. Play often.

    I’ve heard birds that mimic the beeps of microwaves, phones and my aunt’s way of clearing her throat.

  36. why would the bird whistle the tunes if he’d been exposed to the video games? I think the guy taught the bird these tunes by whistling them, like he’s doing in this video.

  37. Back in the late ’80s I heard a mockingbird in a suburban neighborhood imitating video game themes it had overheard; it had the tunes and could almost get that “8-bit” tone down, but not quite right. I don’t see why a cockatiel couldn’t learn them.

  38. I hate that birds get such a bad rep. Along with that, people know very little about them. I’m 100% sure this is not faked.

    I grew up with cockatiels, and now have a green-cheeked conure and a Timneh African Grey. They are an absolute joy, and are always surprising us!!!

    1. @Anon 42, my beloved (and now, deceased) birdie pal was a conure. She was a rescue birdie. Huge pain in the ass but I loved her so much and I still grieve for her loss (old age). African Greys are so intelligent, too, so much character.

  39. Okay.. I nearly spit out my mouthwash in laughter while listening to this because the cockatiel paused at EXACTLY the right moments when I started… er, mouthwashing, I guess? Not only once – but TWICE he paused as if to figure out what the hell I was doing! What a way to start the morning…

    (Also, the captcha I just got is classic.)

  40. My cockatiel could whistle La Cucaracha. He didn’t whistle for anywhere near as long as this one, but this one mixes up themes and squawks and it does sound and look real. My cherry headed conure only learned to say “Be quiet” when I would answer the phone, because this is what I said most of the time to him. If the bird heard video games songs all the time, he would whistle them.

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