Do Parrots Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Parrots don’t sleep with their eyes wide open. However, they have mastered the art of being half-awake. And so, they sleep with one eye open and peek at the outside world every few minutes.


Well, it’s a defense mechanism. 

With one eye shut and one eye open, a parrot can rest half of its brain.

Meanwhile, peeking allows a bird to be aware of its surroundings and any approaching dangers such as predators

Consequently, a parrot’s brain is active enough to make it wake up and fly at a moment’s notice.

How cool is that?!

Carry on reading because we got lots to cover in this interesting article about parrots and how they sleep

(PS – Make sure to check out the cute video at the end of the article of a parrot sleeping and snoring – It’s too cute!) 

You’ll discover the following

  • Do parrots need darkness to sleep?
  • How do parrots sleep at night?
  • Do parrots sleep standing up?
  • Why do hanging parrots perch upside down?
  • How to make a parrot comfortable to put them to sleep?

Lots to cover!

Sound interesting?


Let’s get started!

Do Parrots Need Darkness To Sleep?

Just like humans, darkness is essential for parrots to fall asleep. 

The absence of light is a cue for most birds to find some hidden shelter and sleep.

The period of sleep varies among species.

Since most parrot species come from tropical regions, therefore, they need a 12-hour-daylight to a 12-hour-dark period.

But what happens if that period is not strictly followed?

A sleep-deprived parrot may turn anxious, sluggish, and even cranky.

Long-term sleep deprivation can cause a bird to become a biter.

In some cases, a parrot may even start to pick its feathers.

Besides, restlessness can lower down a parrot’s immunity. 

So, if you are a parrot breeder and your birds are lethargic, it’s high time to look through its sleep schedule or better still, take him to a vet.

How Do Parrots Sleep At Night?

Like other birds, a parrot prefers a dark hidden space and the highest possible perch.

Normally, parrots sleep by:

  1. Fluffing up their feathers.
  2. Turning head to rest on their shoulders.
  3. Hiding beak within their feathers.
  4. Huddling in flock to keep themselves warm.
  5. Bending knees and staying perched on branches.

Wait, so,

Do Parrots Sleep Standing Up?

More appropriately, they squat while sleeping rather than standing upright.

So, you may be thinking:

But wouldn’t they fall during that sleep?

Well, birds perch on a branch and then bend their knees.

Under the weight of their whole body, the tendons within their feet get tight. 

This curves up their feet in such a way that birds become locked to the branch.

So, a bird that is deep in slumber, will not fall from the branch.

While most parrots sleep on the upper side of the branch, certain species can perch even on the downside of the branches.

These are often called “hanging parrots”.

A common example is African Grey Parrots.


Why Do Hanging Parrots Perch Upside Down?

Well, hanging parrots can better avoid predators.

It’s because a bird perching up is quite an obvious sight and so, it is rather easy to spot than the hanging bird.

Now, if you are a parrot parent, you may be wondering,

How to make it comfortable for your parrot to sleep

Let’s find out..

How to Make a Parrot Comfortable For Sleep?

Here are a few of the suggestions:

  1. Make sure your parrot gets a 12-hour-light to a 12-hour-dark period. I suggest you buy a cage cover to give complete darkness to your bird.
  2. Make sure there is little to no noise during the night. If that is not possible at your place, move the birdcage to a quieter location for the night. 
  3. If your birdcage is near a window and predators are common around your region. Then, move the cage away from the window during the night.
  4. Make sure your birds have enough supply of wooden perches at various positions within the cage.
  5. You should never lift the cover of your bird’s cover just for a random urge to see them. Unless you think there is some serious issue, don’t bother your birds during the night.

Also, if your parrot is dozing quite often during the daytime, I recommend you see a vet as soon as possible.

Excessive sleep during the day hours may be a sign of some health concern.

Wrapping Up 

Parrots like other birds can sleep with one eye open.

This peeking helps them stay alert while resting half of their brain.

Though, sound sleep is essential for a bird’s health.

You can tell a bird is sleeping with a typical fluffed-up appearance and resting of its neck.

Even during sleep, a parrot is kind of standing up.

Here are some frequently asked questions you may be interested in

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Birds Sleep With Eyes Open?

Yes, they can but only with one eye closed.

Interestingly, this keeping one eye open during sleep involves maintaining activity in only one hemisphere of the brain.

Therefore, scientists call this peeking “unihemispheric slow-wave sleep”. 

But do birds always sleep with one eye open?

Again, peeking during sleep is a defensive mechanism.

And so, it is only there to maximize the chances of survival by keeping a bird aware of any dangers.

Still, deep sleep is necessary for all birds to stay healthy.

So, birds need to sleep with both eyes closed from time to time.

However, for birds, especially small ones, every day is a new fight for survival. 

When Do Birds Sleep With Both Eyes Closed?

For a bird, slumber at the wrong place and time can often become fatal.

Therefore, a bird will only close its both eyes to rest if it is feeling secure and comfortable. 

Since pet birds are likely to have a safe environment, they can take that sound nap every night.

Although they may not peek as much.

But in the wild, a bird is prone to predators all the time. 

Interestingly, various birds have found different solutions to get that occasional sound sleep.

These include:

1. Perfect Hiding Place

Small parrots like parakeets sleep deeply when they find a perfect hiding place.

It usually involves the topmost branch with maximum leaves.

Some songbirds will hide within the bushes to avoid predators.

2. Birds Roosting in Flocks 

Birds sleeping in flocks are relatively safe from predators.

So, birds sleeping on the peripheries will peek during sleep.

While those sleeping at the center will sleep soundly.

This is common with nearly all species of flocking birds, even among floating birds like ducks.

3. Sleeping While Flying

Long-distance migrating birds like Frigatebirds will even peek-sleep during flying to conserve energy.

4. Catnaps

Small migrating birds like songbirds that travel during the night, can take catnaps throughout the whole day.

This can be up to 15% of a whole day.

Though, somehow whenever I talk about bird sleeping with eyes shut, people ask me the most astonishing question:

Do Birds Even Have Eyelids?

I take it, that most people haven’t seen a bird with closed eyes.

Nevertheless, birds have three eyelids: 

  1. The upper eyelid
  2. The lower eyelid
  3. The translucent nictating membrane. 

Parrots use their lower eyelids like other diurnal birds who are active during the daytime.

While nocturnal use upper eyelids to close eyes. 

However, the nictating membrane is mainly for protection purposes. 

Parrots use the nictating membrane while flying in strong winds and sunlight.

They also use it while feeding their young ones to keep their eyes safe.

Though, predators like hawks use nictating membrane while diving to hunt.

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