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Do Parrots Nap During The Day?

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrots are diurnal birds, so uninterrupted nighttime sleep is critical to their health and well-being Pet parrots have the same sleep-wake cycle as wild birds, resting for 10-12 hours at night.

Parrots may nap in the mid-afternoon, especially as they grow older. This should be a choice, not a necessity. Ensure the parrot isn’t relying on an afternoon nap to compensate for lost sleep.

There are legitimate explanations for napping. If a parrot is happy and healthy, it may nap because it’s molting, which is exhausting, or it can result from intense cardiovascular exercise, like flying.

Be mindful if your parrot can’t get through a day without sleeping. A parrot could have an undiagnosed health problem, be fearful of perceived threats, or be overstimulated by its surroundings.

It’s Usually Normal for Parrots To Take Naps

Every parrot is unique and will settle into a routine appropriate for its needs. A healthy parrot should usually be able to remain awake throughout the day.

How Long Parrots Nap

When parrots nap during the day, it shouldn’t be for long. If a parrot is sleeping excessively, especially if it used to be active, something is likely amiss with its health.

Number of Naps Parrots Take

A parrot shouldn’t be napping more than once per day, and this shouldn’t be part of its daily routine. If a parrot regularly needs to sleep during daylight hours, learn why its energy levels are depleted.

is it normal for parrots to take naps?

Parrots Nap with Their Eyes Open

If you observe a bird dozing in its cage in the afternoon, it’ll nap with one eye open. Sometimes referred to as “peeking,” the scientific term for this is unihemispheric slow-wave sleep.

A parrot taking a nap will only shut down half its brain, leaving the other half active if it needs to react swiftly to a threat. As you can imagine, this is an instinct developed in the wild.

Parrots can doze this way due to the nictating membrane. The nictating membrane is a semi-transparent third eyelid that cleans the eyeball and prevents it from drying out when the parrot doesn’t blink.

According to the Journal für Ornithologie, the nictating membrane filters unwanted visual stimulus so the parrot doesn’t grow distracted, only reacting if movement perceived as a threat is detected. 

Why Parrots Nap

If a parrot has established regular daytime naps into its routine, find out why. As parrots rarely doze while the sun is out, there will be an explanation for this habit.

Insufficient Sleep

The most obvious explanation for a parrot to doze during the day is a lack of sleep at night. As discussed, parrots sleep for 10-12 hours overnight, which should help them get through the day without more rest.

If a parrot struggles to sleep at night, you must rectify this issue. Parrots that don’t get a good night’s rest will demonstrate behaviors related to stress, anxiety, and depression, including:

  • Screaming and excessive vocalization.
  • Acts of aggression, such as biting.
  • Compulsive behaviors, including feather picking.

Napping during the day isn’t a safe substitute for uninterrupted nocturnal rest. If a parrot is unwilling to sleep or incapable of resting, consider if these common explanations are responsible:

Excessive Light or Noise

Parrots need a dark, silent room to sleep in at night.

So, you’ll need to position a parrot’s cage in the right place. Background noise, such as a TV or conversations between family members, may be enough to keep a parrot awake.

It is recommended that a parrot’s cage be covered with a blanket or towel, that blackout curtains or blinds be installed, and that artificial lighting sources be switched off.

If necessary, get 2 cages – 1 for during the day, when a parrot can be close to your family, and 1 for bedtime, in a room nobody has any reason to enter.

Consider getting a white noise machine if you live in a noisy area, such as a city where the parrot will be subjected to commotion like sirens and car horns overnight.

Night Frights

As much as parrots require darkness and silence overnight, this can lead to frightening experiences.

A parrot may be exposed to sounds and scents it can’t see and will awaken with a start, afraid for its safety. Common behaviors associated with night frights include:

  • Thrashing and flapping the wings.
  • Leaping from a perch to the floor of the cage and back again.
  • Hitting toys and ringing bells.
  • Scratching the floor or a cage and biting cage bars.

Physical signs that a parrot is experiencing a night fright include fluffed feathers, wide, staring eyes, and a racing heartbeat. If so, you must calm the parrot and soothe its nerves.

Unreliable Routine

Parrots relish a reliable schedule. You’ll likely find the parrot vocalizes if you haven’t covered its cage about 1 hour after its evening meal.

Attempt to build a bond between the parrot and a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member who can provide care in your absence. This can be difficult if a parrot refuses to bond with more than 1 person.

Intense Exercise

Parrots are energetic birds requiring 1-3 hours of exercise outside their cage daily. In many cases, this exercise will take the form of flight, which can be a tiring, cardio-intense experience.

Wild parrots can fly for hours without growing exhausted as they efficiently manage their energy levels.

A bird in mid-air will alternate between actively flapping its wings and gliding with the aid of the wind, restoring lost energy for when it is next required.

A parrot that flies around the home won’t benefit from external wind and other forces, so it’ll likely be exhausted after exercise. Sometimes, the parrot may take a short nap to recoup energy.

If a parrot can’t fly for long without rest, check it’s not overweight.

Parrots Take Naps While Flying

Wild parrots frequently migrate long distances and prefer to complete their journey quickly.

According to a study in Nature based on the behavior of great frigatebirds, birds may rest in mid-air, negating the need to stop and rest overnight.

Surprisingly, birds don’t need to rely upon unihemispheric slow-wave sleep in the air, though this is preferable. A parrot that sleeps while flying will usually only take an extremely short nap, sometimes closing its eyes for as little as 12 seconds.

Thankfully, this ability is unlikely to be necessary for captive parrots. Once they tire through flight, they’ll return to you or their cage to rest in a safe, secure environment.

do parrots need naps?

Cold and Dark Environment

As circadian rhythms govern the sleep cycle of a parrot, it’ll associate daylight with waking hours. If a parrot dwells in a cold, dark room, it may assume that night has fallen.

Always leave curtains or blinds open during the day so the parrot avoids darkness in the mid-afternoon. If you’re not home when the sun sets earlier, consider adding a UV lamp to a timer.


All parrots molt their feathers, which involves shedding used, damaged feathers and replacing them with healthy, vibrant replacements. This may occur 1-3 times annually, depending on the species.

When a parrot molts its feathers, replacements are grown from follicles. This can be an exhausting experience, as the parrot constantly burns energy, so it’ll likely need to nap.

Some parrots will be too uncomfortable to relax during the molting season, as forming new feathers leads to dry, irritable skin. Mist them occasionally to ease the discomfort.

Health Issues

If you can’t find a compelling reason for a parrot napping during the day, ensure it isn’t unwell. Common issues such as respiratory infections can leave a parrot weak and tired, reliant on sleeping during the day.

Laying at the bottom of the cage is a common sign that your parrot is unwell. This position will provide warmth and negate the risk of falling from a perch if the muscles are compromised.

Check for behavioral changes, like uncharacteristic aggression, lethargy, withdrawal from human interaction, or physical symptoms, like streaming from the nostrils or eyes.

Occasional naps during the day aren’t a cause for concern in parrots, but they shouldn’t become reliant on extra sleep in the afternoon. Ensure the parrot sleeps well at night, so naps are non-essential.