6 Facts About How Pet Birds Sleep and What They Need

Discover how long your bird should sleep, what's normal, and how to help make sure they get a good night's rest.

Published April 25, 2023
Sleeping green Australian King Parrot

If you're a new bird parent, you've probably researched what kind of cage and food your new pet needs, but what about their sleep habits? Do you know when, how, and for how long your pet bird should sleep? They need their rest, just like we do, but if there are too many disturbances, such as light and noise, your bird can become sleep deprived. Discover how to help your bird get a full night's sleep so they can thrive.

How Do Pet Birds Sleep?

Birds sleep standing up. This might sound uncomfortable or even dangerous, but their bodies are equipped with locking tendons that keep them from falling off their perches while they sleep. Most birds will actually balance on one leg and tuck one foot up close to their body to keep it warm. They also close their eyes and bury their face in their feathers.

How Much Sleep Do Birds Need?

Birds need 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. That might seem like a lot, but it's pretty comparable to the amount of rest cats, dogs, and other pets need. The big difference is that most pets get their Zs in short increments (hence the term "cat nap!"), but experts believe birds get all their sleep in one solid period. Without a good night's sleep, your bird is at risk for illness and injury.

When Do Birds Sleep?

Most pet birds sleep at night, just like us. But if your bird isn't able to get enough rest at night, they'll try to nap during the day. Depending on your schedule, a bedtime of 7 p.m. and rising at 7 a.m. is generally a good idea for pet birds.

Quick Tip

Many birds - but not all - are diurnal, meaning they are awake during the day and sleep at night, just like people.

Little girl sleeping and pet bird sleeping on her shoulder

Can Birds Be Sleep Deprived?

Birds can absolutely be sleep deprived. Think about how cranky you were the last time you experienced a restless night of sleep. Pet birds can react the same way.

But a bad attitude isn't the only consequence of sleep deprivation. It also compromises their immune system, which can put them at risk of getting sick, and they could even injure themselves if they're too tired. In young birds, it can even affect their development.

But how can you tell if your bird is getting enough rest? Signs of sleep deprivation in birds include:

  • Changes in vocalizations
  • Frequent napping
  • Excessive shrieking
  • Feather plucking
  • Aggression
  • Depression
Fast Fact

Studies show that sleep deprivation can affect your bird's voice. You might notice the pitch of their calls change along with the frequency and length of their vocalizations. Sleepy songbirds might stop singing altogether.

Common Sleep Disruptions

Light and noise are the two biggest forms of nighttime disruption. Birds in the wild aren't exposed to artificial lights in the evening, late-night TV, or traffic noise from outdoors. A few of the things that can disrupt your bird's sleep include:

  • Talking or socializing
  • Traffic noise from outside
  • Late night TV
  • Noise from other pets
  • Overhead lights
  • Light from the TV or computer screens
Quick Tip

It's important to keep your pet bird's cage in a quiet, dark area so they can get a good night's sleep. A birdcage cover can be a valuable investment to help block out light.

Is It Normal for My Bird to Sleep All the Time?

It's not normal for a bird to sleep all the time. If your bird seems to be sleeping most of the day, it means they're not getting enough rest at night. Check for any disruptions caused by noise or light shining into their cage and resolve these issues. If your bird continues to sleep constantly, have them examined by a veterinarian to rule out illness.

Pet Bird Sleep Habits

Sleep is incredibly important for everyone, including your pet bird. Make sure their environment is conducive to a good night's sleep. Keep their cage away from the TV, windows with outside noise, or other pets that might wake them up at night. If they start sleeping a lot during the day or show other unusual sleeping habits, consult with your vet to make sure it's not a sign of an underlying condition or sickness.

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6 Facts About How Pet Birds Sleep and What They Need