Do parrots sleep at night?

(Note:  We may earn commissions from products/services you click on.  This is at no extra cost to you.)

Table of Contents

Rest is the most important thing to animals. Just as we need rest from everything that goes on around us, so do animals too. Without rest, the normal bodily functions would not go smoothly because a course of nature is interrupted. This is the reason why sleep is needed. Sleep is the state of complete restfulness. This means that sleep has a more substantial role in bodily functions, when compared to just resting. In this activity of sleep, birds are also involved, just like every other animal. They sleep in order to get their body to perform its regular function.

Hungry bird making a noise?  Click this affiliate link to order the perfect food for a perfect parrot.

The importance of sleep makes every bird join in the fun. Types of birds are divided into nocturnal and day birds. The nocturnal birds sleep during the day or when the environment is bright. They sleep at that time because they are more active in the dark. Their activities in the dark don’t deprive them of their beauty sleep. These kinds of birds cannot sleep at night because the night is like day to them. The day birds are very active during the day; they build nests, play, and carry out whatever activity they feel like indulging in. After their activities, they take a rest at night by sleeping.

Typically, birds need up to a minimum of twelve hours of sleep to be able to carry out their activities when they wake up. Parrots are popular day birds that carry out most of their activities during the day. Hence, as birds, they would need to rest for at least twelve hours. Since they are active during the day, it only makes sense if they rest at night. Therefore, it can be said that parrots sleep at night. When parrots are in the wild, they seek darker places like sheds, or better still, they build nests in dark places or in the hinder parts of a tree to avoid the infiltration of light. Birds, just like humans, have the tendency to be woken up by extremely loud noises and light. This is why they make their nesting place at a calm and dark place to avoid disruption of their sleep. On the other hand, when they are in captivity, they might not be able to fly around to find dry leaves to build their nest. It is then left to their owners to cover their cages at night or switch off the light to where their cage is to enhance their sleep.

Do parrots sleep at night
Do parrots sleep at night

Do Parrots Need Darkness To Sleep?

Parrots have a day and night cycle; this entails that they are like humans, that do things during the day and sleep at night. Humans need eight hours to sleep for normal bodily functions, unlike birds that need a longer time to repair their body cells and heal ailments. Most parrots need equal amounts of dark and light cycle—that is, they need twelve hours’ day time and twelve hours’ dark time (sleep time). Sleep is required to avert lethargic conditions and weak immunity. When parrots do not get the amount of sleep they require, it can lead to lots of adverse conditions, which can be very detrimental to the health of the parrot. Parrots actually undergo unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, in which they are half awake all the time they are asleep. 

Hungry bird making a noise?  Click this affiliate link to order the perfect food for a perfect parrot.

Also, parrots have a very good sense of hearing which also makes them light sleepers. This is why even in a dark place, they might be startled awake by a loud noise, not to talk about light. Light disrupts their sleep and awakens them. As said earlier, this is why they make sheds by themselves to sleep in the dark when in the wild. They build their nests in an area that is not penetrable by light so as to ensure good sleep. If it is looked at from an angle of predator and prey activity, it can be noticed that parrots sleep in the dark to ensure their own safety. Normally, parrots have the instincts of trying to stay safe since, in the wild, they are birds of prey. In their little dark hideout, they can be able to not just hide away from the light but also from predators. 

The body system of parrots is wired in such a way that they know the time for rest. However, if there is a glaring light, how would they be comfortable sleeping? It is not a hard thing to fathom when you relate it to humans and our inability to sleep when the lights are high. Even in the cases of people who like sleeping with the light on, the light is not so bright; if not, they would be unable to sleep. This situation can be compared with parrots. Just as they are light sleepers, they would not be able to have a shut-eye with lights hanging above them. Deprivation of sleep in them causes so many things which are detrimental to their health. 

How Long Do Parrots Sleep At Night

There is no constant amount of time parrots take to sleep at night. They have a range of time they take to sleep at night. The average recommended amount of time they sleep at night is ten hours. That is just an average amount of time because some parrots sleep up to twelve hours, that doesn’t mean that they have overslept. Parrots generally need more sleep time than humans and some other animals. However, it is still a fact that a healthy parrot should get at least ten to twelve hours of sleep at night. Nonetheless, since parrots are light sleepers, even though they are meant to sleep for an amount of time, they might not get that amount of time. Little things like plate clatters, foot-stomping, a neighbour’s dog barking ferociously, and many other sources of noise can cause a parrot to awaken, thereby shortening its sleep time. It is very important to note that not all parrots have the same duration of sleep. The duration of sleep depends on the kind of parrot and the particular region it is found in. That is to say, sleep duration in parrots can be classified according to location. 

Hungry bird making a noise?  Click this affiliate link to order the perfect food for a perfect parrot.

Research has shown that some parrots like; Meyer’s parrots and derbyan parakeets require more light cycles than dark cycles, unlike the usual equal time cycle for light and day cycles. These birds stay in the temperate region, so it is safe to say that their environment or climate made their sleeping duration to be different from that of other parrots. Some other parrots from other regions need a long time of the dark cycle than the light cycle. This is the reason why when choosing a parrot as a pet; it is important to know the kind of climate they are naturally from, so you can replicate the way they live naturally in the wild. 

Do Parrots Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Most birds have eyelids and flexible ones at that, unlike reptiles that do not have eyelids or have rigid eyelids. The absence of eyelids leads to the prevention of blinking or closing of the eyes. Also, creatures with rigid eyelids find it hard to close their eyes. The aforementioned are the reasons why reptiles do not close their eyes, even when they are deep asleep or even hibernating. However, in birds, the presence of their eyelids and their flexibility enables them to blink and even close their eyes when sleeping. 

As humans, if we have a very tiring day that makes us stressed beyond our capability, we end up passing out, eyes closed on the couch out of exhaustion. This is also found in parrots. When they have a long day full of stress, they might sleep with both eyes closed to regain the strength they lost from the tiring day. Also, when they feel comfortable and feel that threats are far from them, they might sleep with their eyes closed. Another time when they sleep with their eyes closed is when they are sick. All the instances given are from careful observation of parrots. Those instances mentioned show that they sleep with their eyes shut, shutting themselves from everything that is happening around them. When they sleep with eyes closed, they usually are in deep slumber and without a care in the world, which is usually a rare occurrence. Usually, parrots sleep with their eyes half-open because of their alertness to the world around them. Since their eyes are half-open more than half the time they sleep, they require dark places to sleep in order to feel safe. Their half-open eyes help them to be alert to what is happening around them. That is the reason why parrots are known as light sleepers, because of their eyes that are half-open and their consciousness even while sleeping. 

A parrot would never sleep with his eyes completely open. It would be rare to see a parrot sleep with even one eye completely open, not to talk of two eyes open. It isn’t possible! If a parrot is seen sleeping with one eye open and one eye half-closed, it is important to check if there is anything stressing it—maybe noise or something you are doing that is catching its attention. It is important to discontinue whatever is being done, so it can get its beauty sleep. Also, it is important to eliminate anything that might make it scared because opening its eyes might be because it is frightened. When everything is put in place and in an orderly fashion, it would be seen that the parrot would sleep well with eyes closed. Still, it can never be seen that a parrot would sleep with eyes open. If a parrot’s eye is seen open at bedtime, it should be known that it is simply awake.  

Hungry bird making a noise?  Click this affiliate link to order the perfect food for a perfect parrot.

Do Parrots Sleep Standing Up?

Parrots are called perching birds; that is, their feet are adapted to holding onto tree branches. The arrangement of their toes is the reason that they have the ability to perch. They usually have four toes, with the first three arranged in such a way that they can grab from the front. They also have one in the hinder parts that helps them balance very well on the branch or log of wood. Their legs are adapted to be very strong so that they can channel their whole body weight and pressure to their legs. Thereby giving the twig or branch a deathly strong grip so as to avoid them falling off. Parrots have tendons in their feet that involuntarily cause them to clasp on a twig with force and pressure. As they sleep, they grip the twig; they assume a squatting position so as to support their grip on the twig. In humans and some animals, it is required to lay down in order to rest the two brain hemispheres equally. However, birds do not require this position to get their brain well-rested. Although some birds, precisely, some species of parrots, lay down to sleep but it is not important for birds to assume this position. To answer the question, “Do parrots sleep standing up?” is quite an answer that is not straightforward. It is a fact that parrots can sleep while standing up. if a parrot sleeps while standing up will depend on its species. Even though all parrots can sleep while standing, some species actually lie on their backs like humans, when they are about to sleep. If your parrot lays on its back while sleeping, you should check if this behaviour is peculiar to its species. If there is no link of this behaviour to its species, then you should consult an avian veterinarian to make sure your parrot is in good health. 

Parrot Sleeping With Head Down

Normally, parrots sleep with their head tucked into their feathers. Also, they might sleep with their shoulder puffed up, with their feathers making them look bigger than they actually are. Their method of sleeping, is mainly because they want to conserve body heat. Some just make themselves look bigger, but maintain the position of their head. Parrots are intelligent animals, because of their intelligence, sometimes they might need attention from their caregiver. The sign they show when they need attention is bringing their head down. They might assume that position because they want their head scratched, petted or just because they want a little touch from their human. 

Parrot owners often appreciate this gesture, because it implies that the parrot is very comfortable with its human and it also enjoys company and affection. However, it is mostly a cause for concern among parrot owners when this behaviour is observed in parrots that are asleep. it is unsettling because the parrot is asleep and being asleep entails that the parrot has an inability to show intelligence but it is in a state of complete restfulness. Most owners ask if their parrot is ill because of the position it’s sleeping in. Not to fret, if your parrot is not showing any sign of illness, then it should not be a thing of concern. It probably feels comfortable sleeping that way, so it isn’t a cause for alarm.

Do Parrots Sleep During The Day?

Parrots have similar day and night cycles like humans, this is the reason they sleep at night just like humans. As said earlier, they need equal amounts of time for day activities and night sleep. Parrots are light sleepers because of their unihemispheric slow wave sleep that makes them sleep with half eyes open sometimes. Even when they sleep with their eyes close, even the slightest noise can awaken them from their sleep. Due to their pattern of sleep, if the place where they are sleeping is even a little bit noisy, they might be awoken by the noise and if it goes on through the night, they might not be able to get the amount of sleep needed for proper functioning. This might make them sleep during the day. Also, boredom and tiredness can cause afternoon sleep. In other cases, it might be due to an illness. However, it is not a thing that should cause panic, because it doesn’t have adverse effects. It might just be getting the rest it needs.

Hungry bird making a noise?  Click this affiliate link to order the perfect food for a perfect parrot.

How Do African Grey Parrots Sleep?

African grey parrot is a species of parrots popular among bird pet owners. They sleep like every other parrot, needing the same amount of light time and night time just as the others. They also need dark places to sleep, it doesn’t necessarily need to be covered, however you could choose to, to block every iota of light from coming into the cage. They also need a high branch where they could perch on, while they fall asleep. Sometimes they sleep with their beak in their feathers and puff themselves up. They have a sturdy hold on whatever they are holding onto; they never fall off unless they are sick or old. African grey parrots do not sleep upside down; they only stay that way when they are playing or having fun. They need at least a minimum of ten hours sleep to carry out their normal daily activities.

Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.