How Much Sleep does My Parrot Need?


Staff member
Sep 1, 2018
One of the first questions new parrot owners have is, “How much time does my new bird need to sleep?” To answer that question, it’s important to take a step back and realize a very important detail about parrots: Parrots are not domesticated. Canines and felines have been domesticated for thousands of years and their very genetics have begun to evolve in parallel. Even if your pet parrot was bred in captivity from a long line of captive-bred birds, the fact of the matter is that parrots are still wild animals at heart. The sleeping schedule of a bird has not evolved to mirror that of humans; Responsible parrot owners should attempt to duplicate night-time conditions their parrot might experience in the wild.

Parrots are primarily from tropical and subtropical environments. In their natural settings near the equator, parrots tend to get close to 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of night per day. Larger birds tend to have more consistency with that 12-hour timeline but it’s not uncommon for a parakeet or cockatiel to enjoy their sleep a bit more than the next avian and want their full 12 hours as well.

Because of the consistency of the sun cycle in their natural environments, parrots tend to really enjoy a routine. While it is not necessarily important that you directly sync up their sleeping trends to the sun, it is important that you have a consistent bedtime and time to wake up. Birds have keen sight so it’s important to minimize distractions at night. Most parrots prefer that their cage is covered with a cage cover or a designated, clean blanket.

Any parrot owner will tell you that the first rule of owning a parrot is that you need to be able to throw out the rulebook. Parrots are extremely intelligent animals that tend to have a rebellious streak. What works for one bird will not necessarily work for others even those from the same species. While doing your research on what size cage to buy and how many hours of quiet time each bird needs is important, you must pay attention to your individual birds’ needs and desires.

It’s also important to not sacrifice quality time in the name of a good rest. Owners that come home near the designated bedtime of their bird need to have a firm enough understanding of their bird’s characteristics to eschew a bit of rest for quality time. Parrots are accustomed to being in flocks with complex social orders, so their bit of owner-pet interaction time is paramount. While the birds need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night, an interruption to their sleep is not necessarily a significant bother to them. Just pay attention to what your bird wants and try not to startle it if you’re waking them up at an uncustomary time.

We have the pleasure of sharing our homes with these beautiful, untamed animals. Their intelligence and social prowess sometimes make us forget that they need routines as much as we do. Even if your little one protests and begs for more time awake, be the responsible parent and make sure your charges are getting the amount of sleep their natural environments would normally afford them. 10 to 12 hours of dark, quiet sleep should be enough to mimic their natural nighttime conditions.