Getting sufficient sleep is vital to the survival of parrots. Even though domestic parrots don’t need to fly to forage for food and escape predators, they still need a full night’s sleep and occasional naps.
Parrots take short, infrequent naps during the day to conserve their energy and escape the sun. Naps are different from nighttime sleep as they’re followed by extended periods of drowsiness. When parrots take naps, they often remain close to the bottom of the cage rather than perching.
If you find your parrot napping during the day too often, it may not be getting enough sleep at night. This can lead to health and behavioral problems, such as self-destructive and repetitive behaviors, stress, and depression.
Do Parrots Take Naps?
Parrots have a 10-12 hour sleep cycle. They sleep for 12 hours at night from sunrise to sunset and remain awake during daylight hours. However, depending on the species and climate, some parrots will sleep for 8-10 hours per night.
Most parrots don’t need to deviate from a sunset-to-sunrise sleep cycle as it provides them with all the rest they need. If your parrot can’t adopt this sleep cycle, it’s at risk of developing behavioral and mental problems.
However, some parrots benefit from naps to preserve their energy and catch up on missed sleep. According to Plos Biology, researchers studying the sleeping patterns of budgerigars observed them napping throughout the day.
When napping, captive parrots tend to perch close to the bottom of their cage and bury their vulnerable body parts in their feathers to protect them.
Wild parrots are also likely to nap when it’s too hot during the day, coming out slightly later in the day to forage and find water once it’s cooled down.
Other parrots take naps after:
- Enduring a dark daytime
- Flying or playing
- Enduring stress
Parrots only nap if they feel safe and comfortable, but they shouldn’t be excessively long.
Do Parrots Need Naps?
Parrots’ sleeping patterns are dictated by the availability of sunlight.
At night, parrots go into a deep sleep for long bouts that includes:
- Deep rhythmic breathing
- Muscle twitches
- Head twitching
They exhibit brief awakenings for a few seconds at a time, with a few longer nighttime awakenings to eat and drink. Because of this deep nighttime sleeping pattern, these rarely happen during the day.
When parrots nap, they take brief periods of sleep followed by long periods of drowsiness, sleeping far more at night than they do during the day.
As mentioned, one of the main reasons parrots nap is to avoid the hottest part of the day. There’s also evidence that parrots sleep while flying to make longer journeys.
According to Nature Communications, this is possible because birds sleep with one cerebral hemisphere at a time and only one eye closed, leaving them aware of what’s going on around them.
If parrots don’t get enough rest, they’re at risk of:
Sleep-deprived parrots are more likely to develop depression than parrots who can sleep throughout the night and nap during the day uninterrupted.
The most common signs of depression include:
- Fluffed-up feathers
- Loss of appetite
- Feather plucking
- Stress bars
- Toilet changes
- Excessive vocalizations
Taking regular naps can stave off depression, making captive parrots feel more comfortable in their surroundings.
Ensure that there’s nothing in your parrot’s living environment that’s causing it to have trouble napping, such as too much noise or predatory pets that stalk your parrot.
Parrots that don’t get enough sleep are prone to stress, frustration, and aggression.
Wild parrots don’t experience stress in the same way as captive parrots because they have more opportunities to enact their natural behaviors without the constraints of cages.
Constantly stressed parrots develop sicknesses and health conditions, such as:
- Unwillingness to eat
- Inability to sleep
- Adrenal gland issues
- Weakened immune system
- Breathing difficulties
- Difficulty processing nutrients
- High blood pressure
- Heart complications
- Slower illness recovery
- Age-related diseases
Parrots need to nap during the day whenever they feel the need to do so.
Parrots that don’t get enough sleep will develop repetitive, self-destructive behaviors, such as:
- Head bobbing
- Body swinging
- Feather plucking
- Self-mutilation, such as biting skin and muscle
Not only are some of these behaviors painful, but they can cause long-term damage to their nerves.
Is It Normal for Parrots To Take Naps?
Parrots commonly take naps, and it’s safe for them to do so. However, their naps should be short and infrequent.
You shouldn’t see your parrot sleeping for endless hours while the sun’s up. They don’t do this in the wild, so it’s an unnatural behavior that’s a cause for concern in captivity.
What’s also not normal is parrots taking naps to make up for the sleep they’ve lost during the nighttime.
This can be caused by:
- Night frights
- Too much artificial light
- Endless noise
- Constant distractions throughout the night
- Too warm or too cold temperatures
Because parrots sleep during the night, it’s difficult for owners to tell whether their birds have gotten enough sleep or not. We’ve explained how most parrots need between 10-12 hours of sleep a night.
How Long Do Parrots Nap?
Parrots’ naps should be short. While parrots need 10-12 hours of sleep at night, their sleep patterns are designed to serve an evolutionary purpose. In the wild, parrots must be prepared to fly away from danger without warning.
Therefore, naps conserve vital energy. As mentioned, if your parrot frequently takes long naps, there’s a chance that it’s not sleeping well during the night.
Look out for these signs:
Parrots become irritable when they haven’t had enough sleep. Alongside taking frequent naps, your parrot may seem grumpier and behave more aggressively than usual.
Well-rested parrots are far less likely to behave like this. Sudden temperament changes indicate a lack of sleep or an inability to take enough naps.
Frequently Falling Ill
If your parrot’s started to fall ill more often, it may not be getting the right amount of nap-time. Sleep is closely related to health problems, and you should consider sleep deprivation to be a serious problem.
Don’t be too worried if your parrot naps during the day. It’s not a cause for concern unless your parrot sleeps for most of the day or appears to be unwell. It’s normal for parrots to nap alongside their usual nighttime sleep cycle.