How Do Parrots Sleep? Patterns, Positions, Habits & Tips

As an parrot parent, surely one of your top priorities is to ensure your parrot is sleeping well and resting sufficiently.

Many new owners are unsure of what is normal in terms of sleeping times, length, conditions, positions, etc.

This is only natural as parrots certainly have different sleeping preferences than people do.

How do parrots sleep? Most parrots typically sleep while standing on one foot with the other pulled up into their feathers and their heads tucked into the feathers or dropped against their chests. A few species sleep hanging upside down. Most parrots function on a 12-hour sleep cycle, sleeping from dusk to dawn.

Species originating from the tropics have a 10-12 hour long sleep cycle.

If your parrot comes from a region that is far from the equatorial regions or from the rare temperate areas, then it might have slightly different sleep habits and needs. 

So what are the appropriate sleeping patterns, positions, and methods for your parrot? 

In this article, you will find out all you need to know about how long your parrot needs to sleep, how you can adjust its schedule, where you must put it to sleep each night, and other essential details. 

Parrot Sleep Cycle, Position, and Habits

Parrot Sleep Cycles

If you own a wild parrot, then its sleep cycle consists of roosting just before sunset and waking around dawn.

If it sticks by this routine, then that means your parrot lives by the 24-hour tropical cycle, in which it sleeps for 12 hours straight and stays awake for 12 hours. 

If your parrot originates from the farther equatorial regions or from the rare temperate areas, then it has a slightly different sleep cycle than the others.

Parrots who originate farther from the equator tend to sleep less in summer months and longer during winters. 

But if your parrot is an Australian specimen for example, then it has a more flexible sleep cycle.

Parrots of this nature can adapt very well to a vast range of temperatures and you can successfully adapt it to both examples of sleep cycles we have stated thus far. 

It is a good idea to develop a sleep cycle for your tropical parrot that stays close to nature.

If you plan to do this, then committing to the 6 am to 6 pm span is the best route to take.

Now, we know there are many owners who prefer to spend time with their pet in the evenings, after they return from work. 

If this is the case for you, then you’d be glad to know that modifying your parrot’s sleeping cycle is definitely a possibility.

The following are some species you need to take careful note of because they’re from the tropics and their bodies are accustomed to how the natural cycle is in that region.

Hence, you must ensure you give the following their 12 hours of required sleep:

  • Red bellied parrots
  • Ringneck 
  • Quakers 
  • Cape parrots
  • Senegal’s 
  • Caiques 
  • Eclectus
  • Amazons 
  • Alexandrines 
  • Cockatoos
  • Macaws
  • Gray parrots

These are the species that need a 12-hour night-and-day cycle to thrive because they belong to the tropics and their bodies are accustomed to how the natural cycle is in that region.

These species adapt to a temperate zone splendidly well, and they also require fewer hours of sleep than their tropical counterparts.

Therefore, if your parrot belongs to this category, it will need 14 dark hours during the winters and 10 light hours.

Now let’s take a look at the species that come from the non-tropical areas or the temperate regions:

  • Ringnecks
  • Australian parakeets
  • Kea

In summer, the same cycle reverses and a parrot from this zone will need 10 hours of darkness and 14 hours of light.

If your pet parrot is merely a baby, then of course it will need more sleep.

Due to the requirement, you may have to adjust the amount of light your specific specimen needs according to the season. 

General Sleeping Positions

Typically, parrots generally have a habit of sleeping with one foot up pulled into their feathers when they’re in deep slumber.

If it’s merely a short nap for the parrots, you’ll see them resting their heads on a surface or against themselves. 

You will rarely find a parrot lying on its back when asleep or just resting, and finding a parrot sleeping on both its feet is very rare.

In fact, if you ever find your parrot sleeping on both its feet, you must note that it is a sign of illness, and you must not waste time in seeking medical help. 

When parrots are too weak to support their body weight on a single foot, you’ll find them in this position and a pet owner must never take this event lightly. 

Sleeping Positions of Certain Species

Parrots can either sleep standing on one foot or hanging upside down.

It depends on the species of course. For example, the majority of the parrot species sleep with one foot up and standing on the other one. 

Then there are also some species that are popular for being hanging parrots, like the African grey for example.

These parrots not only sleep hanging upside down but when they’re relaxing or playing, you’ll often find them hanging upside down too. 

Hanging Parrots

There are several parrot species that people refer to as “hanging parrots.”

Just as the name suggests, certain species such as the black-billed parrot, Bismarck, the Camiguin, the Cebu, the Pygmy, the Philippine, the Sri Lanka, the Sangihe, the Moluccan, and several others are all hanging parrots.

Their most common feature is the upside-down position when they’re asleep at night. 

Sleeping Habits of Parrots

Birds do not have a very complicated regime when it comes to their sleeping habits. They’re actually very well disciplined and in tune with nature.

They need hours of sleep at night but take maximum advantage of daylight.

This is why all birds are such hardworking and productive creatures and get to their activities as soon as the day dawns. 

One of the most notable habits of parrots and most other birds from the wild is that they require darkness when they want to fall asleep.

This is why at night time, you will see scores of the winged creatures filling dark cavities in the trees so that they have complete darkness and protection from the rains, wind, and marauding creatures.

At night, as a habit, parrots seek some sort of covering that will block ambient light from flooding into their sleeping space and also protect it against drafts.

Besides, parrots also are prone to being frightened of noises and movements around them, especially at night. These “night frights” can sometimes be so severe as to be fatal.

An Expert Weighs In

I recently spoke with Rob, an avian expert based in North Carolina, about parrot sleep habits. Here is what he had to say:

Most smaller parrots, like cockatiels, won’t use a sleeping hut or bed; rather they prefer to roost on the highest perch in the cage to sleep.

Some parrots will tuck their heads under their wings, and some won’t.

Some prefer quiet while others don’t mind noise. They are pretty adaptable and will soon adjust to your lifestyle and habits.

A cage cover is definitely a good idea, but as far as moving the cage to a quiet room each night, that’s usually not necessary.

Most will sleep on only one foot, alternating feet occasionally and will typically sleep from around sunset to sunrise every night.

Do Parrots Have To Sleep in a Cage?

Parrots can sleep in the cages, although as a pet owner, you can decide what you think would suit your pet better.

Generally, for safety reasons, pet owners prefer to make their parrots sleep inside the cage with a covering cloth or a safety blanket over it. 

Parrots can get frighten and startled awake at slight sounds and movements too, and if you let yours sleep out at night, it might try and flap around and get hurt in the dark if something scares it. 

Do Parrots Need a Bed?

Yes, parrots may require a bed to sleep, and for some, the best option is to place one inside their cage each night.

However, there can be exceptions to this depending on the individual personality and needs of your parrot.

It may be different from the other species but if yours if one that likes to feel comfortable and snugly, giving it a bed for the night might be a good idea. 

In fact, for many parrots, a bed also serves as protection from night frights and keeps them feeling safe and sleeping soundly throughout the night.

An interesting fact is that parrots are social creatures, and they like the feeling of being snuggled, comfortable, and encase in a cocoon. 

So when pet parents are setting perches and toys for their avian members, it is also a good idea to invest in their bedding.

Depending on the species, your parrot’s sleeping experience may get a boost by having a bed inside its cage. 

A bed symbolizes many things for a parrot, including:

  • A restful place.
  • A sense of comfort, privacy, and security.
  • An imitation of nesting cavities.
  • More darkness, just as the parrots love.
  • Good health from sleeping soundly each night.

Can a Parrot’s Sleep Pattern Be Adjusted to Your Schedule?

As mentioned above, it is possible to modify your parrot’s sleeping schedule, especially if you’re away at work the entire day and want to interact with it in the evenings.

However, in doing so, you must note that the parrots habits may change accordingly. If it sleeps late, it will also wake up late. 

You can cover your parrot’s cage for 10 to 12 hours. Even if the sun rises early but you have covered your pet’s cage, it will continue sleeping in the curtained, quiet, and dark cage.

The fact is that there is more than one way to raise a pet parrot. As a pet owner, you can judge better after observing your avian member’s individual personality.

As long as whatever schedule you design for it keeps it healthy and robust, then you’re on the right track.

A particular parrot may be very willing to wake up suddenly and then play well with you while there may be others who’re very staunch about their discipline and may not like rousing from their sleep. 

How To Make Sure Your Parrot Gets Enough Rest

We understand how your parrot’s rest and sleep is top priority for you. Here are some expert recommendations you can try to help your avian friend rest better daily:

Allow for 10-12 Hours of Undisturbed Rest

The typical range for adequate rest for parrots is 10 to 12 hours, and your primary goal must be to leave it undisturbed and comfortable in its cage for that long.

If your parrot loves to stick by the sunset-to-sunrise schedule, then you must respect its discipline and try to abide by it. 

However, it is also understandable that you’re working full day shifts and in winter may be getting home past sunset.

In that case, you must try to see if your parrot responds well to altering its schedule slightly. 

You may also have a night work shift or may be taking night classes.

In that case, it is alright for you to wake your parrot up in the middle of the night and spend some time with it before putting it back to sleep.

The only thing you need to be careful of is to let it sleep late the next morning.

Use Everything Necessary To Make Your Pet Comfortable

Remember to take all steps necessary to create a safe, comfortable, dark, and quiet environment in the cage to make your parrot comfortable.

Whatever you need for a more conducive sleeping environment, do not hesitate from providing it for your pet. 

This includes a large and comfortable cage, a covering or blanket, and a bed.

If your parrot is the kind that gets frightened at every sound or movement in the night and startles out of sleep, make it a point to place its cage in a quiet room of the house every night.

It could be your closet or den, so long as sounds won’t bother it.

Adjust Light and Darkness

You may have to make certain adjustments, such as extra darkness for the parrot to sleep soundly.

Certain other species may require variations in their darkness and light cycles during a year as the seasons change.

Remember to make changes accordingly. 

Related Questions:

Do Parrots Talk in Their Sleep?

Parrots do often talk in their sleep. This common occurrence is similar to the way humans mumble and talk in their sleep.

It’s believed that a dream or noises in the environment trigger something in the parrot’s brain that causes them to vocalize in their sleep.

Do Parrots Always Sleep Standing Up?

Depending on the species, parrots typically sleep standing on one foot with the other drawn up into its feathers.

There are certain other species who hang upside down when they’re asleep, and some enjoy sleeping on their backs, but rarely do birds sleep lying down. 

Do Parrots Ever Sleep During the Day?

Unless you cover your parrot’s cage, it will usually awaken at the light of dawn and remain awake throughout the entire day.

In the wild, a parrot’s natural cycle includes staying wide awake during daylight hours, so pet parrots usually do not sleep during the day.

However, many have been known to catch a short nap while snuggled up against their owner’s body.


Parrots are social creatures and they love to sleep comfortably, snugly, and securely just as we humans do.

But most parrots are more disciplined in their sleeping cycles, especially if they’re from the tropical regions.

Their typical sleeping pattern consists of 12 hours of sleep from dawn till dusk.