Do Eagles Sleep?

Eagles have to be one of the most fascinating birds known to man. Majestic and elegant yet smart and deadly, they are known as the king of the sky as well as the king of the birds. But have you ever wondered if they sleep? This article will go into detail about the eagles sleeping patterns covering everything from how they sleep to when, for how long, and if they sleep alone. Read on to find out more. 

Do Eagles Sleep?

Yes, indeed, eagles do sleep. In fact, eagles are a species of animals that are diurnal and that are governed by circadian rhythm. 

Simply put, diurnal is the biological term used to group plants and animal behavior, whereby the behavior that is exhibited is that of being active during the day and then mainly sleeping or performing other less strenuous activities at night. 

Moreover, circadian rhythm is a natural internal process that can be found in animals (in this case, eagles), plants, and microbes. This natural internal process regulates the sleep and wake cycle and will repeat every 24 hours (daily). 

Due to the fact that eagles exhibit circadian rhythm (influenced by the sun), their sleeping patterns are similar to that of humans and are thus, also classified as diurnal. 

Do Eagles Always Sleep At Night?

We touched lightly on the fact that eagles are governed by circadian rhythm, and now that we know what it is and that this categorizes eagles as a diurnal species, we can understand that eagles will always sleep at night because of it. 

Consider that no species of eagle is active during the night (nocturnal). This means you will only ever find them active (hunting, migrating, etc.) during the day and always sleeping at night. 

How Many Hours A Day Do Eagles Sleep?

You will find that sleep comprises approximately 1/3 (one-third) of an adult bird’s daily routine, and an eagle is not different. Typically, they will settle into their nests as the sun is going down during the early evening once they have hunted down their dinner. This is usually around 6 pm.

They will then fall asleep at around 8 or 9 pm, sleeping throughout the night and waking up at dawn (when the sun comes up). This equates to approximately 8 hours but will vary slightly depending on the seasons. This is because, during winter, nights are longer and shorter in summer. 

Take note that although they wake up early morning, they only become active from around 10 am. 

How Do Eagles Sleep?

Eagles will often sleep standing on one leg, tucking their beak into their feathers for warmth. They are able to do this thanks to having a reflex tendon situated in both of their feet. This reflex tendon and other ligaments allow them to grip tightly onto a branch or another adequate surface and firmly lock their feet and toes.  

The tendon and ligaments remain taught and firm while they sleep because this ability is automatic. The concept and process are similar to how horses are able to sleep while standing up. 

Do Eagles Ever Sleep Laying Down?

Even though eagles will brood (sit on the eggs) during the day when it is mating season, they will also need to do this at night. As such, when it is nighttime, they will sleep laying down, covering the eggs. 

Take into consideration that both the male and female eagles will sleep laying down, covering the eggs at night, and during the day, they will take turns brooding.  

Do Eagles Sleep In Their Nests?

Although eagles will sleep in their nests when they have laid eggs during the breeding season, you will typically find them sleeping on a tree branch close to their nest. 

Besides breeding season, the only other time you will find an eagle sleeping in their nest is when they are building or repairing it. 

During periods of migration, eagles will find a spot that most comfortable suits them for the night and then perch. This will typically be on a high tree branch and even cliff faces. Besides comfort, they will opt for a place to sleep that can provide them with shelter and safety.  

Do Eagles Sleep In The Same Location?

If eagles have established a nest, they will typically sleep in a location situated close to it, although it will not necessarily be the same spot every night. 

Do Eagles Sleep Alone?

Eagles are solitary birds, spending most of the summer and winter by themselves. This means that, for the most part, they tend to sleep alone. 

However, during migration, they will travel in groups and fly many miles, establishing roosting sites on their journey, where hundreds of them will congregate and sleep in the same location. This practice is especially prevalent amongst bald eagles. 

Additionally, they are monogamous animals. This means that they have the same breeding partner year after year, and when it comes to the breeding season, they will sleep in the same area as their partner. 

Do Eagles Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Eagles sleep with their eyelids closed at night. This may be confusing because some induvial think that the inner eyelid (also known as the nictitating membrane) is responsible for them being able to sleep with their eyes open when, in fact, this membrane is used every three to four seconds for blinking. 


We discovered that, indeed, eagles do sleep at night due to the fact that they are diurnal birds governed by circadian rhythm. This means they are active during the day and sleep at night. 

For the most part, they will sleep alone and close to their nest unless they are breeding or migrating, where they will sleep close to their mate and other eagles. 

The only time they will sleep in their nests is to brood during mating season or when their nest is being built or repaired.