Budgies, sometimes called parakeets, are some of the most common feathered companions for pet owners. Meeting their needs and helping them maintain their normally sunny moods is not that difficult. However, you should know about your budgie’s basic needs, including sleep.
Budgies have similar sleep habits to other birds, both domesticated and wild ones. But to mammals such as humans, bird sleeping habits can seem very strange. Budgies sleep in different positions and for different lengths of time than we humans do.
Understanding how your budgie sleeps can help you understand how to take care of it and meet its needs. Creating an environment where your budgie can get enough sleep is not that difficult as long as you know the basics.
How Often Do Budgies Sleep?
Budgies need about 10 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period. They get most of this sleep during one long block of rest. Once your budgie settles in for its rest, you better not disturb it! Getting enough beauty rest is key for these energetic birds (and keeping them settled and quiet will also help you get to sleep).
Budgies may get most of their sleep from one long cycle, but they are also prone to afternoon naps. If you notice your budgie dosing off on its perch, it could be taking a mid-afternoon snooze to boost its energy levels (it may not be asleep at all; budgies sometimes close their eyes just when they feel comfortable).
However, if you notice your bird suddenly sleeping a lot during the day, take it to the veterinarian. Increased lethargy in a previously-energetic bird could be a sign of health problems.
When Do Budgies Sleep?
Budgies are diurnal, meaning that they are active during the day. Like humans, they get most of their sleep at night.
This means that regular periods of light and darkness are crucial for helping your budgie maintain its circadian rhythm. Most budgies have a hard time falling asleep or even knowing that it’s time to go to bed if they are exposed to too much artificial light.
How Do Budgies Sleep?
When it is ready to go to sleep, your budgie will swivel its head around and tuck it under its wing. Many birds sleep like this, including budgies. Budgies have very flexible necks so even though this position looks painful for us, your bird is perfectly comfortable.
There are a few reasons why budgies tuck their heads in to sleep. The first is that this allows them to relax their neck and head muscles, even though the position may look uncomfortable. Budgies don’t get to relax or recline like we do during the day, instead they spend their whole day with their heads upright and facing forward. Sleeping is the only time when they can put their heads down.
Another reason why budgies tuck their heads under their wings is to preserve warmth. Their wings shut out the light and help trap some of their body heat, helping the budgie maintain stasis. The quest for staying warm explains a few of the budgie’s other peculiar sleeping behaviors.
Why Do Budgies Stand on One Leg?
Budgies do not lay down to sleep. Instead, they perch on a favorite branch or perch as high up in the cage as they can go (in the wild, budgies like to get to higher ground to escape from predators). When they settle down to sleep, they use only one leg to grip the branch, not two!
Budgies tuck their other leg under their body while they are sleeping. They do this to stay warm. Budgies don’t have feathers on their legs and feet, which means that this part of their body does not have any insulation from the cold. Tucking one foot up minimizes the surface area exposed to the cold.
Budgies have very strong feet for such small animals. They are perfectly capable of locking on to a perch with just one foot without falling off.
Do Budgies Close Their Eyes?
When they go to sleep, budgies close their eyes just like humans do. These birds are sensitive to light, and closing their eyes helps them block out any brightness that might prevent them from comfortably falling asleep. It also helps them rest.
However, just because your budgie’s eyes are closed does not mean that it is asleep. Sometimes, budgies close their eyes when they are happy or just feel cozy. If you are cuddling your budgie and it closes its eyes, that means that it feels safe around you.
Do Budgies Need a Bed to Sleep?
You may be wondering if your budgie needs a bed or someplace cozy to sleep. Budgies do not need a place to lie down because they prefer to sleep while perched on something.
If you want to provide your budgie with a comfortable sleeping environment, make sure that it has plenty of places to perch. Arrange branches and perches throughout the cage, particularly higher up. These small birds like to get a little altitude to feel safe while they sleep.
You can also get your budgie a hidden alcove or hammock within the cage. This gives the bird a secluded place to perch if it wants to retreat from the rest of the world. This can be particularly helpful if the environment your budgie is in is bright.
Other Ways to Help Your Budgie Sleep Comfortably
As mentioned before, a balanced amount of light and darkness is crucial to helping budgies maintain a circadian rhythm. If your home has too much artificial light, get a cage cover for your budgie to help it know when it is time to go to sleep.
Try to avoid loud noises while your budgie is sleeping to keep from startling it (chances are; you will be asleep at this time anyway).
Budgies are not picky about their sleeping habits. All they need is a dark room and a branch to perch on and they can snooze the night away!