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7 Common Parrot Sleeping Positions (with Meanings)

(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

Sleep is essential for every species, but we don’t all do it the same. When it comes to parrots, you’ll notice that they sleep much differently from humans.

Parrots nearly always sleep standing up, perched on one leg. Although this looks uncomfortable from a human perspective, it’s perfectly safe for parrots. A parrot that tucks its head into its neck feathers may be cold or extra tired, whereas a parrot crouching over may be unwell.

Some sleep positions are concerning, like sleeping at the bottom of the cage or hanging onto the bars at night. Insomnia can also be a problem, so you may need to help your parrot switch off at night.

Parrots And Sleep

Sleep quality is a good indicator of health, so it pays to know when, where, and how your parrot sleeps. In short, parrots should get between 8 and 12 hours of undisturbed sleep per night.

Any less than this, and your parrot may become irritable or unwell. Similarly, sleeping much more than 12 hours can also be a problem.

According to Science Direct, sleeping more than 12 hours per night is common among parrots with feather-destructive behavior (FDB).

Since sleep is one of the clearest health indicators, you must monitor your parrot’s sleep.

How Can You Tell If A Parrot Is Sleeping?

Parrots go to sleep around sunset (or when their room starts to get dark). About an hour before rest, a parrot will retire to its sleeping perch (or a sheltered area) and start winding down for the night.

As your parrot winds down, it’ll probably become slower and quieter. You can often hear parrots slowly grating their beaks before they drift asleep. Sometimes, parrots also preen themselves.

It’ll look like your parrot has its eyes closed during sleep. Many parrots “peek” during sleep, which means they’ll half-open one eye periodically to survey the surroundings.

According to Bangor, this is a protective behavior many birds have developed.

The quieter, safer, and more predictable your parrot’s sleeping environment is, the less peeking they need to do. You can help your parrot get a better night’s rest by creating the right sleep setting.

how do parrots sleep in a cage?

Parrot Sleeping Positions Meaning

We know that parrots need 8-12 hours of sleep to be healthy, but how do parrots like to sleep? It’s important to monitor your parrot’s sleeping positions because they can tell how it feels.

Below, we explore the most common sleeping positions and what they mean:

1/ Parrot Sleeping Standing Up

Most parrots sleep standing up, so if your parrot is upright while sleeping, this is a good sign. You might worry that your parrot will topple over during the night, but that’s not the case.

While humans deeply relax their legs and feet during sleep, parrots can lock their toe joints, allowing them to grip firmly onto a perch, even during deep sleep.

2/ Parrot Sleeping on One Leg

In addition to standing up, most parrots sleep on one leg. If your parrot is sleeping on one leg, the other leg will be tucked away under its feathers, keeping it warm.

Once again, although this sleeping position looks precarious, it is very stable. According to Exotic Direct, the standing leg has a joint that can be locked, enabling your parrot to stay grounded and secure.

3/ Parrot Sleeping Upside Down

Some parrot species, such as the Blue-crowned hanging parrot, can sleep upside down. However, it’s less common for non-hanging species to sleep upside down.

However, you may see other parrots hanging upside down occasionally. This is normal behavior, but if excessive, it could indicate that your parrot feels fearful or threatened.

4/ Parrot Sleeping with Head Down

A parrot will often rotate its head slightly and tuck it down into its feathers. This is a position for deep sleep, so you should try hard not to disturb your parrot.

Parrots also tuck their head into their feathers when feeling cold, which could signify that you need to increase the temperature. Are your parrot’s feathers fluffed up?

If so, this is another sign your parrot is feeling cold. Most parrots need a minimum temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) to feel comfy.

5/ Parrot Sleeping on its Back or Sides

It’s rare but not unheard of for some parrots to sleep on their backs. Conures are one of the most common parrots you’ll see sleeping on their backs or sides, but other breeds may do this too.

Seeing your parrot sleeping like this can be a bit concerning, especially for the first time.

If you see your parrot lying on its back, investigate quietly to check it’s OK. Parrots are more likely to sleep on their backs or sides if soft bedding is underneath them.

However, seeing your parrot lying backward on a hard surface could indicate something is wrong.

6/ Parrot Sleeping At The Bottom of Cage

Parrots choose the highest perch possible so that they can feel safe. They only resort to sleeping at the bottom of the cage if they feel tired or ill and don’t have the energy to fly up to their sleeping perch.

It’s not unheard of for some parrots to prefer sleeping at the bottom of their cage, but it’s rare.

According to Lafeber, if your parrot is sleeping at the bottom of its cage and slightly crouching over, this signifies something’s wrong.  

7/ Parrot Hanging from Cage at Night

Small parrots hang from the bars of their cage from their beaks, which means they’re distressed.

It’s common for small birds to do this when you bring them home for the first time, so this behavior usually settles down after a few days.

How To Make Parrot Sleep

Parrots need to feel safe and comfy before dropping off to sleep. So, cultivate a suitable sleeping place. Here are some things you can do to help your parrot sleep soundly:

Keep the Noise Down  

Parrots need it to be relatively quiet so that they can fall asleep. According to TandF, noisy electronics often make it difficult for household parrots to wind down and fall asleep.

You may need to move your parrot to a quieter part of the house to get 8-12 hours of quietness.

Check the Temperature

Parrots prefer temperatures between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius).

Remember that the house can get cold overnight, especially during winter. If you can’t keep the ambient temperature high enough, you could provide warm nesting boxes.

Friends Can Provide Comfort

According to Researchgate, when young same-sex Amazonian parrots were kept together, their welfare and behavior improved on many levels.

Not only were they less likely to pick their feathers, but they also fed and slept better.

parrot sleeping positions meaning

Roosting

As mentioned, parrots begin to roost about an hour before they fall asleep. Essentially, they move to the perch they’re going to sleep on and begin to get comfy for the night.

According to Pamela Clark CPBC, during this roosting period, your parrot may preen itself, stretch, and relax. You can help your parrot to roost by:

  • Providing multiple perches.
  • Creating a quiet environment an hour before your parrot’s bedtime.
  • Don’t play with or handle your parrot during this time.

Right Diet

You might not immediately link diet to sleep, but they’re closely linked. If you feed your parrot an unsuitable high-energy diet, it’ll be too hyperactive to fall asleep.

However, if you give your parrot a varied diet of fruits, veggies, seeds/pellets, and water, it’ll be more even-tempered and able to fall asleep at night.

Enrichment

Parrots that are bored and lonely may struggle to sleep at night because they haven’t had enough enrichment throughout the day.

Play with your parrot daily, although not during roosting time. This will help tire out your parrot so that it can fall asleep at bedtime.

Darkness Is Necessary

Some parrots dislike complete darkness, but they like it to be dim. If you force your parrot to sleep with the lights on, it may struggle to get quality sleep or fall asleep.

Key Points to Remember

Most parrots sleep standing up, although some species sleep upside down or on their backs.

Parrots usually sleep standing on one leg, which is perfectly stable.

If your parrot’s head is tucked into its feathers and its feathers are fluffed up, it may be too cold.

If a parrot crouches down during sleep (especially at the bottom of its cage), it may be unwell.

Parrots usually prefer to roost about 1 hour before sleep, which you should encourage. They need 8-12 hours of undisturbed sleep in a dark, peaceful, and fairly warm environment.