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How Does a Parrot Sleep? Bird Routine & Rest Facts

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

green parrot sleeping

While exact habits vary a bit by species, most parrots are strictly diurnal animals that wake at dawn and settle down for bed after dusk. You also have to account for seasonal changes that may affect sunlight, also depending on the species. On average, however, parrots sleep 10 to 12 hours a day, with some species getting only 8 per day.

The place and species might change from parrot to parrot, but the routine itself rarely varies. Parrots will arrive early to their favorite roosting spot, usually a hollowed-out tree or other large suitable cavity where their flock can fit. They’ll spend some time preening and socializing, and then off to sleep until the sun rises. In captivity, that’s roughly their breakfast time.

If you’ve ever wondered about when parrots are most active, how to help your parrot rest easier at night, or how light can affect their reproductive habits, we’re way ahead of you – down below we’ve dug into those topics so you can learn all there is to know about a parrot’s sleep habits.

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When Are Parrots Most Active?

Pet parrots are most active in the mornings and evenings. This is usually when household activity is at its highest. Then, they’re more restful during the periods between these times.

Common Parrot Sleeping Positions

Parrot in the wild
Image Credit: Anna Azimi, Shutterstock

It can be tricky to tell when a parrot is sleeping, but like us, they have some favorite sleeping positions that can tell you when they’re faking it, chilling while awake, or truly asleep. These positions all help your bird stay comfortable and minimize wind chill. Plus, each parrot has its own preferences.

These include:
  • Sleeping while standing up
  • Sleeping on one leg with the other tucked under their feathers
  • Sleeping upside down
  • Sleeping with the head down
  • Sleeping on their back or sides
  • Sleeping at the bottom of the cage
  • Sleeping hanging from the cage

How Does Light Affect a Parrot’s Reproductive System?

Parrots become more social and display mating behavior when the days are long, and reducing light exposure can discourage breeding behavior in captivity. Conversely, this can also stress them out or promote “cabin fever” symptoms, like feather plucking, which is why we recommend looking up the optimal light schedules for your parrot’s species.

It’s essential to know when your parrot’s breeding season is so you can prepare to reduce the amount of light they receive, not to mention when to remove stray nesting materials and when to separate them from potential mates if you’re not interested in breeding.

Do Parrots’ Sleep Habits Change in Captivity?

No, their sleep habits remain largely the same, and with human attention, their habits can become more regular than they would in the wild. Parrots usually do great with a 12-hour, on-and-off schedule that mimics their natural wake/sleep patterns, but young parrots are known to sleep as long as 16 hours a day when possible.

On the flip side, pet parrots are often misunderstood, and their sleep can suffer if the owner doesn’t know how to set up a private, peaceful sleeping area. Putting a cage in a crowded room is the most common mistake, and owners often go nuts wondering why their previously well-behaved parrot suddenly isn’t sleeping or is suffering other negative signs.

colorfull parrot sleeping
Image Credit: pongpalo, Shutterstock

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How Can I Help My Parrot Sleep?

You can best help by learning about your parrot’s species and imitating their natural habitat in the confines of your home. Doing so is easier said than done, though, which is where we come in. Make immediate use of some of our actionable parrot sleep tips below to get your parrot’s sleep schedule back to normal.

Tips for Helping Your Parrot Get More Restful Sleep:
  • Set up a sleep cage: Optimize your parrot’s sleep by giving them a dedicated dark cage in a private part of your home where they won’t be disturbed during their sleeping hours. If nothing else, a nice blanket over the cage will do wonders.
  • Stick to a schedule: Don’t dilly dally with the exact hour. If your parrot is on a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule, don’t deviate by waking them up early or keeping them up late.
  • Supplement with artificial lights: If you don’t get much strong sunlight, adding strong lights can help reinforce your parrot’s sleep routine.
  • Give them options: Parrots may grow tired of always sleeping on a perch, so add a soft hammock or cozy little birdhouse to see if they develop a preference.

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Parrots are diurnal animals that sleep roughly 12 hours a day, when possible, with baby parrots sleeping 16 or so. Exact sleep habits and preferences shift a little depending on a parrot’s species and history, so it helps when getting a new parrot to stick to a schedule while offering a dark private sleep cage.

Featured Image Credit: Jet21, Shutterstock

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