All parrots require a certain amount of sleep. New owners should familiarize themselves with their parrots’ sleeping habits so that they can accommodate. The ability to sleep depends on when you turn off the lights, shut off all sounds, and let the parrot wind down.
The average parrot requires 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Depending on the species of parrot and the season, this can vary slightly. Older parrots and baby parrots require about 12-14 hours of sleep. Parrots may take naps throughout the day, but these won’t last long and should be infrequent. If your parrot isn’t sleeping well, it can get cranky, ill, or sleep at random hours throughout the day and night.
Parrots need a sleep environment that makes them feel safe and relaxed. They should not be exposed to artificial light at this time, unless they deal with night fright. Their cage should be covered with a thin blanket, so they’re not left in absolute darkness. Limit any noises and give your parrot time to wind down before sleeping.
How Many Hours Do Parrots Sleep?
As discussed, parrots usually sleep for 10-12 hours a night. With that said, some parrots are able to thrive on less sleep than others.
If your parrot likes to sleep for a full 12-14 hours, this doesn’t automatically mean that something is wrong. Your parrot may even like taking naps. Here are the factors that affect how much your parrot sleeps:
Where Is Your Parrot From?
Some parrots are from equatorial regions that get more sunlight. So, they change their sleeping habits to reflect the day-night cycle. Species include:
- African greys
Due to their natural habitat, they have evolved to require 10-12 hours of sleep per day. The daylight hours evenly reflect the nighttime hours, and parrots are daytime creatures. When the sun is shining, it’s a perfect time to explore, forage, and play.
Is Your Parrot Nocturnal?
While nearly all parrots are daytime creatures, there are rare exceptions. For example, the New Zealand Kakapo is nocturnal. That means it’s active at night and sleeps throughout the daytime.
The region that this parrot calls home receives between 9 and 14 hours of daylight per day. Because of that, this parrot sleeps for 10 to 15 hours, depending on the season.
It’s unlikely that you own a nocturnal parrot. However, if your parrot is sleeping odd hours, take a look into the behavior and habits of its species.
How Much Do Baby Parrots Sleep?
A parrot’s age can impact the amount of sleep it requires. For example, baby parrots spend more time engaged in REM sleep, or deep sleep. They are likely to rest with both eyes closed for long periods of time, often between 12-14 hours a night. This extra time is needed to help them grow and develop.
If you have an elderly parrot, the same may be true. Old parrots may sleep more than when they were young. They become less active as they reach their twilight years. They’d rather spend more time sleeping.
How Well Does Your Parrot Sleep?
Of course, some parrots are harder sleepers than others. If you keep two parrots in one cage, one may be able to sleep through a mild noise or flash of light. The other won’t, causing it to nap throughout the day as a way to recoup its lost sleep. If it seems like your parrots sleep odd hours, then it’s worth looking into:
- Their surroundings
- The way they interact with each other
- The set-up of their cage
You can try to eliminate disturbances, or even provide sleep aids for one instead of the other. Not all solutions will be helpful for all parrots. For example, one parrot may like to sleep in total darkness, but not the other.
Do Parrots Sleep During The Day?
Parrots do not usually sleep during the day. If they do, this should be a short-term nap as they recoup energy from:
- Something stressful
Because of their circadian rhythm, parrots are naturally designed to be awake throughout the day. If yours is sleeping for long periods, then it may not be resting well at night.
Do Parrots Take Naps?
Parrots do take naps, but not as often as other pets. For example, cats and dogs are well-known for dozing off whenever they feel comfortable. Parrots, on the other hand, like to remain alert.
Naps may happen if the parrot feels safe and cozy. These naps should only happen now and then, and last for a short amount of time, not hours.
If your parrot takes long naps on a frequent basis, it could mean it’s not sleeping well. To see if that’s the case, look out for:
Changes in Behavior
Parrots tend to be more irritable when they lack sleep. A sleep-deprived parrot may be grumpier and behave more aggressively than a well-rested parrot. As such, if your parrot’s temperament has suddenly shifted over the past few days, it may indicate a lack of sleep.
Falling Ill Frequently
A parrot that isn’t getting enough rest may also be prone to falling ill. Have you noticed your pet getting sick on a regular basis? Then its sleep behavior may be the explanation.
How Do Parrots Sleep In The Wild? Rainforest
Parrots in the wild are usually awake from sunrise until sunset. Following sunset, they will roost and sleep until the next morning. The majority of parrots are from tropical regions that experience 12 to 14 hours of daylight per day. As such, they sleep for the remaining 10 to 12 hours.
Of course, some parrots live farther away from the equator. They experience longer or shorter daylight hours, depending on the season. These species work to compensate for this with their sleeping patterns. They will sleep for longer times during the winter, and shorter times during the summer.
Do Parrots Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Parrots don’t usually sleep with both eyes open. Instead, they sleep with a single eye open, allowing them to rest and stay vigilant at the same time. This is an evolutionary adaptation that helps them spot any dangers or predators, even during their downtime.
According to the Current Biology Journal, birds exhibit a special sleep behavior known as “unihemispheric sleep.” When they’re resting, one of their brain’s hemispheres is awake, while the other is asleep. This allows them to keep up with basic routines, like watching for danger with a single eye. Meanwhile, the other half of their brain rests and allows the parrot to heal, renew cells, and enjoy some perks of sleeping.
Depending on the species, these ‘basic’ routines can even be more advanced. For example, some birds are able to use unihemispheric sleep while they’re flying. This allows them to migrate for long hours without taking a break or dropping out of the sky from exhaustion. If you’ve ever wondered “how do parrots sleep standing up?” this is why.
Despite those perks, unihemispheric sleep isn’t as deep as REM sleep. It still doesn’t offer as much rest as sleeping with both eyes shut can. If a parrot feels entirely safe, it may take that chance to sleep with both eyes closed. This gives it the full perks of sleeping, and it may even dream.
Because of that, most domestic parrots sleep with both eyes closed. If yours routinely sleeps with one or both eyes open, then it may feel unsafe.
Can Parrots Sleep With Light On?
Parrots can fall asleep even when the lights are on. However, they will not sleep restfully or deeply.
Wild parrots find it easy to fall asleep at night, as there is no sunlight to keep them awake. If you keep your parrot indoors, it will be frequently exposed to artificial lighting, no matter the time. This can disrupt a parrot’s sleep cycle and make it believe it’s exposed to constant daylight.
Even when you turn things off for the night, your parrot may end up getting to sleep ‘late.’ It will then wake up early when light filters in through the window. If you leave appliance lights on or even provide a night light, the parrot may:
- Frequently wake up during the night
- Stay in unihemispheric sleep, instead of REM sleep
- Take longer to fall asleep
Unless your parrot is dealing with night fright, you should avoid giving the bird a light while it’s sleeping. Parrots do not sleep in absolute darkness in the wild, since they have the moon and stars. However, artificial light registers much differently for parrots, so your night light could be causing it to sleep erratically.
Is My Parrot Sleep Deprived?
A few rough nights of sleep won’t affect its health, and may only cause the parrot to be in a bad mood. However, prolonged sleep deprivation does affect the immune and cardiovascular systems.
Cardiovascular disease should be especially concerning. Pet parrots are already prone to developing:
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
A lack of sleep may also impact your parrot’s eating habits. This may contribute to pre-existing cholesterol problems. To avoid such issues, owners should ensure their pet is receiving adequate rest, coupled with healthy food options.
There are many ways to create a more sleep-friendly environment for your parrot. Try evaluating what your parrot needs in its natural environment, and then replicate it:
Do Parrots Need Darkness To Sleep?
As mentioned, parrots should be given relative darkness to sleep properly. In the wild, they are not exposed to artificial light pollution, but they are also not subjected to total darkness. They are given gentle light from the moon and stars.
You should recreate this balance in your home. If you set your parrot in a completely dark room with a heavy blanket over its cage, it may have difficulty sleeping. If you leave the parrot’s cage uncovered with a light nearby, the way it perceives wavelengths will make light bulbs appear to ‘blink.’ This can be hard to ignore when a parrot is falling asleep.
The ideal balance will be a thinner blanket over the cage. This allows ambient light to filter in, but it won’t blink or remain bright enough to keep the parrot awake.
An exception is if your parrot frequently experiences night fright. This happens when the bird is startled awake by noise, a flash of light, or a bad dream. If the parrot wakes up in absolute darkness, it will often thrash around and bash its wings against the cage.
By offering a gentle night light, your parrot will be able to assess its surroundings and tell that it’s safe. This can stave off a very bad case of night fright.
Can Parrots Sleep With Noise?
Although parrot ears are concealed by feathers, they still have very sensitive hearing. Therefore, any noise may disrupt your parrot’s sleep.
According to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, kea parrots have sensitive hearing that covers a wide variety of frequencies. They are most sensitive to those in the 1-5kHz range. Many sounds occupy this frequency range, such as:
- Rustling leaves
- Vacuum cleaners
All these factors may disturb your parrot while it’s trying to sleep. Keep your pet in a room where it’s shielded from these noises. You should also remove any electronic devices that emit high-frequency sounds, such as:
If this is unavoidable, you may be able to partially shield the parrot from noise. You can drape a thick blanket over the cage.
Like before, an exception is if your parrot deals with night fright. In this case, it may be good to place a white noise machine in the room with your parrot. This will help lay down ambient noise that will soften any harder frequencies, so your parrot isn’t startled awake.
Rainforests are never quiet. As long as the noise is calm and even, without any loud calls, your parrot will sleep through the sound.
What Temperature Do Parrots Sleep At?
Parrots can withstand a wide range of temperatures in the wild. This will depend on the species, as they will have adapted to the conditions of their native region. In general, most parrots will enjoy tropical weather.
Pet parrots can sleep comfortably in a range between 65oF and 85oF, depending on the season. They may have trouble sleeping at warmer or colder temperatures.
If your parrot cage is located in a basement or a garage that isn’t heated, it’s recommended to move them to a more climate-controlled area. You can also set up small cage “tents” that your parrot can slip into whenever it feels cold. At night, a blanket over the cage will help your parrot conserve body heat as it rests.
Parrot Sleeping Positions
Parrots use a variety of different sleeping positions, depending on their situation. Some are based on comfort, while others are all about functionality. Let’s explore your parrot’s favorite sleeping positions:
Sleeping on One Foot
When your parrot sleeps, you may notice it standing on one foot most of the time. This is normal behavior, wherein your parrot tucks one foot into its feathers before gearing up for a deep sleep. The other foot usually holds onto a branch or perch, and helps it maintain its balance.
Parrots use this stance as a way to keep warm and cozy up. If you’ve ever tucked your legs up into a fetal position while resting, you know how comfy this feels. Your parrot feels safe enough to balance on one leg, and drowsy enough to want proper REM sleep.
Tucking Their Head Into Their Body
Some parrots rotate their head and tuck them against their back when they are sleeping. This behavior is usually associated with naps, rather than deep sleep. Since the parrot will only be resting for a short period, it uses both legs to stand and remains partly alert. This position has two perks:
- It helps the parrot conserve warmth
- It’s comfortable
However, owners should be careful, as parrots tuck their head under their wing when they are feeling ill. For the same reasons as above, your parrot will use this position to try and recover strength.
Some parrots nap while leaning forward on their perch. This may lead to a parrot falling off and landing on the bottom of its cage. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless it happens frequently. A parrot that’s having trouble maintaining its balance could be ill or have an underlying condition.
Sleeping on Backs
Some parrots, such as conures, may fall asleep on their backs. It’s a quirky trait that shows an impressive amount of trust from the bird.
In that vein, you’ll see this sleeping position commonly with baby parrots or elderly ones. The older the parrot becomes, the more tired and less cautious it will be. For baby parrots, they’re too young to be as wary as adult parrots, so they’ll opt for the comfiest position.
Sleeping on Cage Floor
Parrots have evolved to live high up in trees, so this is where they prefer to sleep. In bird cages, perches are designed to replicate the feeling of standing on a branch. That’s why most parrots are comfortable sleeping on them.
By contrast, sleeping on the cage floor isn’t normal behavior for parrots. Any parrot that’s recently begun resting at the bottom of its cage may have an illness.
Sleeping Upside Down
Certain parrot species, such as the hanging parrot from southern Asia, have evolved to sleep upside down. When in captivity, these parrots cling to the ceiling of their cage using their feet, and sleep with their bodies hanging down.
Aside from natural instincts, other species, such as the African grey, like to relax while hanging upside down. Science is rather confused about what causes this behavior. However, it’s mostly attributed to playfulness and trust in their environment.
Why Is My Parrot Sleeping So Much?
It may appear like your parrot is sleeping constantly. However, in most cases, the parrot is just roosting.
Most parrots engage in a behavior known as “roosting” just before bed. This can be described as the act of getting into a sleeping position and becoming comfortable before finally dozing off.
At this time, a parrot will also engage in behaviors such as preening or socializing. In fact, your parrot may get more vocal and expressive in the period before going to sleep. It’s all a natural part of the pre-sleep ritual.
In a given 10-12 hour “sleep” period, your parrot may actually be sleeping for only 8 hours. If it appears to sleep even longer, then pay attention to how it winds down before bed. Your parrot might actually be resting for a much shorter amount of time.
If you’ve confirmed that your parrot is actually unconscious for longer, then it’s worth paying attention. These factors could be leading your parrot to oversleep:
Parrots need rest after a period of intense activity. If you spot your parrot napping after some quality playtime, there’s no need to be worried. However, if you notice your parrot looking exhausted in between naps, it may be spending its energy in other ways.
You should ensure your parrot isn’t being stressed by:
- A cage mate
- A household member
- Any pets
This could be riling the parrot until it needs to physically recoup.
A parrot that is sleeping too much may be trying to recover from an illness. According to StatPearls, you should keep an eye out for diseases, such as parrot fever. This is known to cause sleeping problems. If your parrot is unwell for multiple days, take it to the vet for a proper check-up.
Why Isn’t My Parrot Sleeping?
If you notice your parrot is awake during the night, it may be having trouble sleeping. This can be caused by many factors, such as:
Poor Sleep Setting
A parrot should be kept in a sleep-friendly setting that is dark, quiet, and warm. Failing to provide the right sleep environment may result in your parrot becoming sleep-deprived. This could later escalate into health problems.
Moving to a New Owner
Some parrots have difficulty sleeping when you first bring them home. They will be on-edge after moving to a new setting, and will be on high-alert for a few days. Over time, the parrot should settle into its new home and begin sleeping properly.
Incompatible Cage Mate
Some parrots find it difficult to sleep when they are housed with another bird they do not get along with. This issue may occur when you first introduce a new parrot into the cage. However, it should pass as the two learn to get along and eventually bond.
If the problem continues for many weeks, the two birds may be incompatible. In this case, it’s best to separate the parrots.
The most concerning reason why your parrot may not be sleeping at night is an illness. Birds are very good at hiding when they are unwell. However, you can pick up early warning signs from their:
- Activity level
- Sleep habits
If you suspect your parrot is ill, you should take it to a vet immediately for a checkup. A few nights of missed sleep aren’t reason for concern. However, a consistently poor sleep schedule can do long-term damage.
If the parrot is kept awake at odd hours, it will struggle to fall asleep when it needs to. Even if you can go to bed at 8 p.m. one night and 12 a.m. another, your parrot can’t sleep. Instead, your parrot will only fall asleep when it’s exhausted, which may be at odd times in the day and night.
Instead, be sure to maintain a consistent bedtime for your parrot. It should be placed in its cage at the same time each night and allowed to wind down. Many parrots instinctively move back to their cage at the same time each day. Be sure to encourage this, and give the parrot about 30-60 minutes to wind down before sleeping.
Parrots need 10-12 hours of sleep a night, and you should never sleep with your parrot for safety reasons. With a consistent bedtime, no distractions, and a semi-dark environment, a healthy parrot will enjoy a good night’s rest.