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how much do parrots sleep?

How Much Sleep Do Parrots Need? (Lights On vs. Darkness)

(Last Updated On: May 28, 2023)

Most parrots are diurnal, which means they’re active during the day and asleep at night. It’s not unusual for parrots to rouse at night or nap during the day.

Adult parrots need 8-14 hours of sleep, while baby parrots need to rest for about 16 hours.

Parrots closer to the equator (like African greys and sun parakeets) need 10-12 hours of sleep, while those further from the equator (like budgies and cockatiels) need 8 hours in the summer and 14 in the winter.

Although parrots can survive without sleep temporarily, sleep deprivation adversely affects birds’ overall well-being. Quality sleep improves a parrot’s health, memory, behavior, and vocalizations.

Why Is Sleep Important for Parrots?  

Parrots can last longer without sleep than many species, but that doesn’t mean sleep isn’t important.

Research suggests that parrots spend almost as much time in REM sleep (deep sleep) as humans. So, sleep is likely to have a restorative quality, supporting a parrot’s health in the following ways:

Memory Recall

During REM sleep (deep sleep), parrots consolidate new memories. So, for a parrot to remember new people, games, and phrases, it must sleep deeply.

Cognitive Performance

According to NCBI, baby parrots must get sufficient sleep to meet cognitive milestones. If they don’t meet these sleep milestones, they’ll find it difficult to learn survival skills.

Sleep also enhances the performance of adult parrots. A study by Nature found that sleep deprivation in birds makes them clumsy at cognitive tasks and diminishes the quality of their singing and talking.

how many hours do parrots sleep?

Immune Health

A strong and healthy immune system is essential to prevent common parrot illnesses and diseases, like respiratory infections, psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), and psittacosis.

Juvenile parrots are more vulnerable to aspergillosis if they have a compromised immune system.

Less Destructive Behavior

According to Science Direct, screaming, biting, and feather picking (feather-destructive behavior) increase when a parrot doesn’t get 10-12 hours of sleep per night.

That’s why one of the first interventions owners should make for an aggressive parrot is improving its sleep quality. This is logical, especially given how bad-tempered we are with inadequate sleep.

How Many Hours Parrots Sleep 

The sleep requirements for parrots depend on the part of the world they originated.

Parrot species (African greys, sun parakeets, etc.) that live close to the equator, like South America, get 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This means they need 10-12 hours of sleep.

Parrots from Australia and surrounding areas are used to the night times changing based on the seasons (8-14 hours). So, it’s believed their sleep requirements change with the seasons.

Here are the average sleep requirements of different parrot species:

Species (Adult)Where is it from?Approx. hours of sleep
Sun Parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis)Equatorial South America10-12
Green-cheek Conure
(Pyrrhura molinae)
Equatorial South America10-12
Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis Dabbene)Equatorial South America (Northern Bolivia)10-12
Umbrella Cockatoo (Cacatua alba)Equatorial Indonesia10-12
African Grey Parrot (Psittacus Erithacus)Equatorial Africa10 – 12
Ring-necked Parakeet (Psittacula Krameri)West Africa, Lowland India, South of Himalayas8 in summer and 12-14 in winter
Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus)Australia8 in summer and 12-14 in winter
Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus)Australia8 in summer and 12-14 in winter

How Much Sleep Do Baby Parrots Need?

Hatchlings and baby parrots need more sleep than adult parrots because their bodies and minds are still developing. Just as human babies sleep a lot, so do baby parrots.

According to CELL, scientists have observed that baby birds get more REM sleep (deep sleep) than adult birds, most likely because REM sleep facilitates development.

Baby parrots need about 16 hours of quality rest every 24 hours to enter REM sleep.

Do Parrots Sleep Through the Night?

Parrots sleep for many hours in a wild setting, typically rousing a couple of times during the night and returning to sleep relatively quickly. So, parrots sleep most of the night.

Parrots might also take short naps during the afternoon to recuperate.

However, if a parrot constantly naps during the day or wakes up for extended periods, its sleep cycle is wrong. This is often because it’s too light or noisy to sleep at night.

How Do I Know When My Parrot Is Sleeping?

You can usually tell if a parrot is sleeping because it’ll retreat to its perch and go quiet.

Here are some of the things a parrot will do when it’s sleeping:

  • Fluff up its feathers to create an air blanket, keeping it warm.
  • Tuck its head into its feathers because some parrots use their neck feathers as a pillow. They’ll turn their head slightly and nestle into their neck feathers for comfort.
  • Tuck one foot away. Some parrots tuck one foot inside their feathers, meaning they’re standing on one leg. Although this might look uncomfortable, it’s a stable sleeping position for parrots.

Do Parrots Sleep with Their Eyes Open or Closed?

A sleeping parrot may close its eyes, but many birds sleep with one eye open and one closed.

This is called unihemispheric sleep, where birds switch one side of their brain to sleep mode while keeping the other awake.

This half-sleep state is useful during long flight sessions, enabling birds to sleep while flying. 

Can Parrots Sleep with Lights On?

One of the leading causes of avian aggression is poor-quality sleep. Parrots must be able to sleep in a dark environment because this regulates their melatonin levels.  

A recent study by PLOS Biology found that when budgies (American parakeets) were forced to sleep in a lit-up environment, they got half as much sleep as they did in darkness.

Also, their REM sleep was considerably disturbed by having the lights on. Budgies that slept in a lit environment were also more hyperactive during the day.

The researchers also found that the parrots were happy to climb branches and sleep higher up in the cage when the lights were off. They sat at the bottom of the cage when the lights were on.

According to the journal Biologists, birds chose softly lit (not bright or entirely dark) environments to sleep in. This could be because searching for food and other resources in dim light would be easier.

do parrots sleep during the day?

Do Parrots Need Quiet to Sleep?

Some owners keep parrots in the same room they watch TV in the evening. Unfortunately, the noise and bright light are disruptive if you go to bed later than the parrot.

Parrots don’t need complete silence to sleep but benefit from a peaceful, distraction-free environment.

You could get a sleep cage and keep this in a quiet room – perhaps a spare bedroom.

Why Is My Parrot Sleeping So Much?

If a parrot sleeps a lot during the day, it’s likely because it’s not getting enough quality sleep at night.

Consider how dark and quiet the parrot’s room is at night. Also, take into account where the parrot originates. Some species may sleep for up to 14 hours in the winter, partly comprising daytime naps.

Another reason why parrots sleep more than normal is molting. The molting process is resource and energy intensive, so the bird likely needs more time to mentally and physically recuperate.

When a parrot sleeps near-constantly, and you observe additional symptoms like changes to its pee/poop or out-of-character behavior, a veterinarian should check over the bird.

Why Is My Parrot Not Sleeping?

If a parrot isn’t sleeping, assess its environment for problems. Consider these factors:

  • Is the parrot’s room in a dark and quiet space?
  • Does it feel safe in the home? For example, are cats and dogs going into the bird’s room?
  • Are you fussing over the parrot a lot near bedtime? The bird could be over-stimulated.
  • Is the temperature suitable for a parrot? The environment shouldn’t be too hot or cold.

If a parrot isn’t sleeping well, you’ll likely find its environment isn’t quite right for sleep. Fitting blackout curtains for added darkness or covering the cage at night can be beneficial.

Although parrots can survive temporarily without sleep, this shouldn’t be accepted. Sleep supports birds’ memory, cognition, immunity, moods, and psychological well-being.