How Do Cockatiels Sleep?

Sleep is one of the essential parts of our day. As humans, we need about eight hours every night to feel refreshed in the morning. Sleep is crucial for most living things. When it comes to birds, the time spent sleeping is much longer than ours. But we’ll get to that later.

You are new to the cockatiel world and are wondering, “How do cockatiels nap?” Well, we are going to answer that question for you and many others. Let’s get to it. 

How do cockatiels sleep? Cockatiels like to sleep on one leg perched high. When they live in the wild, they tend to sleep on branches and other natural roosts found in their native land of Australia. Cockatiels living in captivity have perches typically made in a factory, attached to the sides of their cages. 

Baby cockatiels tend to sleep like mammals with both their legs tucked underneath because they haven’t developed the instinct to sleep on one leg. Some adult cockatiels may rest on both legs and refrain from lifting one, which is normal. 

Some other signs that your cockatiel is sleeping are when you see their head tucked under their wing. Also, if they appear puffy, that may mean that they are sleeping as well. 

All about Perches.

A perch is anything that a bird sits or roosts. Perches found in the wild are branches, while captive cockatiels perch on what we provide them. You can find plastic perches and fake branches explicitly made for your bird’s cage. We would like to assume anything made to put inside a pen will be free of toxic paints or other harmful materials. Still, we think it’s a good idea that you check the packaging of any perch you buy so that you can be sure there is nothing dangerous inside your bird’s home. 

Not every bird in the world sleeps on a perch, but they all tuck a foot underneath if they have the opportunity. Cockatiels rest on perches to be constantly alert to possible danger like a predator. They can do this because tendons in their legs grab the nest involuntarily while the bird squats for a nap. 

Do they need a nest to sleep?

No. Contrary to what you might think, birds do not sleep in nests. They are for nesting, which is a lot different than sleeping. Nesting is a term used for having babies, which birds do differently than humans. 

The short version goes like this; the male fertilizes the female internally. She lays eggs in the nest. Then she keeps the eggs warm until they hatch. Once the chicks hatch, the nest is still used as a home for the new babes to grow and get ready to face the world. 

How long do they sleep?

Cockatiels need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep every night. They should be free from interruptions, which is why it’s essential to cover their cages at night. When humans sleep, our minds and bodies refresh, and it’s the same for birds. But, when it comes to sleeping, birds do it a little bit differently. And we don’t mean sleeping on one leg. 

While birds also experience Non-rapid Eye Movement sleep and Rapid Eye Movement sleep, their cycles are shorter than that of a mammal. Also, when birds sleep, one-half of their brain is still awake, known as unihemispheric slow-wave sleep. It helps to keep birds alert for predators in the wild. Since it’s instinctual, a captive bird will sleep like this as well.  

Do cockatiels sleep with their eyes open?

No. Cockatiels sleep with their eyes closed, but they are aware of their surroundings at all times. When we sleep, we are clueless as to what is going on around us. We’ve evolved to be this way, likely due to locking our doors and living in shelters. If you think of a person on the street, odds are they always sleep with one eye open and another closed because they can watch out for danger that way. 

This is the instinct of a bird so, if you see an eye flutter when you walk by their cage, this is them looking to see who’s rustling around. 

Do they sleep standing up?

Yes. Like many other species of birds, cockatiels sleep standing up and, more often than not, while perched on one leg. Sleeping this way is that instinctual protection that we spoke about earlier in this piece. 

Can they sleep with the lights on?

Yes. Our cockatiel sleeps at all hours of the day, and he sits in the front window of our home, which is full of sunlight. So, I would say that yes, cockatiels can sleep with the lights on. You might be surprised to know that some cockatiels suffer from “night frights,” so a bit of nightlight is excellent for your bird because it will ease their nerves. 

Do they need to be covered at night?

It’s not mandatory to cover your bird at night, but it’s an excellent way to get your bird to settle down and know it’s time to go to bed. If you decide to cover your cockatiel, then there are few rules you need to follow. Otherwise, you run the risk of suffocating your bird. 

Ensure the cover is created from a breathable fabric and never cover all the sides of the cage. Keep one side uncovered so they will have oxygen during the night. A cover is another way to help relieve your bird if they suffer from “night frights.” 

Is it normal for a cockatiel to lay down in its food bowl? Yes. For young cockatiels, some believe that the bowl reminds them of the nest. Older cockatiels that sit in the food bowl may be trying to nest. It may be that sleeping near their food gives them a sense of security. Some research found that one owner put some torn paper in another food dish and suspended it next to the natural food bowl and their cockatiel slept on the one with the paper. It’s worth a try. 

How do baby cockatiels sleep?

Baby cockatiels sleep with both of their legs down like mammals. They also puff up a bit to stay warm.

Baby cockatiels are sleeping positions. As mentioned above, a baby will sleep with both legs down instead of an adult cockatiel, who will typically sleep with one leg suspended and one leg perched. 

Cockatiels should never sleep on their side, so if you see your bird doing this, you need to get your cockatiel to an avian vet, a doctor specializing in birds. 

Do baby cockatiels sleep a lot?

Like babies of most animal species, baby cockatiels sleep more than their parents, which is likely because they are developing into strong birds. It is not a good idea to interrupt a baby bird’s sleep or any bird’s for that matter. Sleep is an essential component of life and should be peaceful. 

A few important things to remember are that cockatiels need 10 to 12 hours of constant sleep every night, and you can train them to do this by using a cover. The drape must be breathable and do not cover all sides of the cage, so they have a steady oxygen supply. 

Try to leave a night light on and give them an excellent place to relax. Your cockatiel may always be ready due to its instincts, but you know he trusts you. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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