Budgies (parakeets) have evolved to sleep after sunset and wake up at the crack of dawn. The average budgie will sleep 10-12 hours per day, but not necessarily in one long session.
Budgies usually sleep perched on one leg with their head upright and relaxed. Other resting positions include sleeping with their heads down, on the side of the cage, and lying down on a perch. A pet budgie will always want to sleep in the highest position possible, even if it’s unsuitable.
If you have several budgies sharing a cage, ensure that the cage has sufficient space. Also, provide enough perches close to the top of the cage, where budgies prefer to sleep.
How Do Budgies Sleep in a Cage?
Individual budgies often want to sleep in the same place night after night, potentially leading to territorial disputes. To avoid this situation, provide enough space in popular positions for all your budgies.
Of course, even with optimal conditions, budgies still sleep in unusual places and positions. If you’re unsure if your budgies are comfortable, learn more about their sleeping positions.
Here are the most common budgie sleeping positions and what they mean:
1/ Budgie Sleeps Lying Down
Budgies usually sleep on a perch, comfortably standing on one leg. However, this doesn’t mean any other sleeping position is cause for concern.
Sometimes, budgies lie on their bellies on the cage floor to sleep. If so, this sleeping position has the following meanings:
Not Enough Space
This sleeping angle is more likely if you have several budgies in a cage and things are tight. Some budgies choose this location if there’s no more room on a communal perch.
It’s not a weird way to sleep if it doesn’t go on for several days. Eventually, the budgie should recoup its energy and perch somewhere high again.
If your budgie doesn’t straighten up soon, it may be unwell. In this case, it’s resting on the floor because it doesn’t have enough energy to grip the perch with its feet.
2/ Budgie Lying Down On Perch
Lying flat on the perch looks uncomfortable and even precarious. However, any budgie that can spend the night sleeping on one leg can comfortably cope with this position.
The budgie is standing in this position, remaining perched on one leg with the other leg tucked into the feathers on its chest. The budgie will move its body forward and rest its chest on its perch.
A budgie may be extra tired, using this position to rest its legs. After 1-2 days of rest, it should be fine.
If it’s a chilly night, the budgie may try to keep itself warm.
By tucking up into a fluffy ball and leaning down, it’s conserving heat. To assist, you can place a blanket over its cage to warm it up or turn on a room heater.
Does your budgie sleep like this most nights? If so, it could be a sign of illness, so it may be incapable of summoning up the energy to sleep upright.
3/ Budgie Sleeps On One Leg
For budgies, sleeping on one leg is the most comfortable position. Although it appears demanding to humans, it can help in the following ways:
- Conserve energy: Rather than using both legs, budgies will give one leg a rest.
- Conserve warmth: Tucking one leg up among its feathers allows it to warm up the limb. Also, it prevents too much heat from escaping through the thin skin of its leg.
- Feels safe: Budgies feel safest with one leg pulled up.
If your budgie sleeps this way, it feels relaxed and comfortable. Often, budgies will rotate from one leg to another to ensure that both legs are well-rested and warm.
Sitting down to cover both legs might unbalance a budgie. Even worse, it could make it more difficult to fly away if there’s danger. Instead, standing on one leg is a safe compromise.
4/ Budgie Sleeping On Side of Cage
If the budgie sleeps on the side of the cage, it may climb to the top and hang upside-down from the bars. There’s no need to be concerned, as budgies like climbing and hanging at different angles.
While most don’t go to sleep in this position, there are good reasons:
Higher Vantage Point
Your budgie might be looking for a higher perch to sleep.
Wild budgies prefer to sleep on the loftiest branches for these reasons:
- Easier to quickly flee out of the canopy
- Avoidance of ground predators
Budgies have an instinct to find higher perches to sleep. If your budgie can’t find a good vantage point, it’ll sleep on the side of the cage.
Privacy from Other Birds
If you have several budgies, you may find that 1 or 2 sleep this way. They may cling side-by-side to the edge of the cage or the roof.
Usually, it’s a couple engaging in nesting behavior. According to Behaviour, when paired, male and female budgies begin sleeping in a different location than the rest of the flock.
The cage bars will suffice if there aren’t enough perches or resting spots.
Dislikes Other Sleeping Spots
Does your budgie seem adamant about continuing to sleep in this strange and uncomfortable position? Then, it may dislike the other perches or resting spots.
Perhaps there are too many budgies in the cage, or the perch is dirty. Maybe the other spots are too close to danger, such as near a cat’s resting place.
Add a smaller perch near the top of the cage so your budgie can sleep from a comfy vantage point. Also, you can move the cage to a quieter area or deep clean it.
5/ Budgie Sleeping with Head Down
It’s common for budgies to sleep with their heads turned around and nestled against their backs. It’s even more common when a budgie tucks its head under or between its wings.
All these positions can have the same meaning:
Most budgies sleep this way during colder months of the year because it allows them to nestle most parts of their body underneath a thick layer of warm feathers.
That way, their beak, eyes, cheeks, and the back of their head won’t get cold.
Safe And Comfortable
Most budgies won’t shield their face or obstruct their vision if they feel scared.
Even mildly anxious budgies will want to stay alert, sleeping with one eye open. If your budgie is willing to tuck its head down and away, it feels safe and comfortable in your home.
A budgie lacks the energy to stay warm or hold itself upright. Instead, it snuggles in tight while recovering. Note if its feathers become tattered or it’s lethargic during the day.
How To Know If A Budgie Is Sleeping
While sleeping, your budgie will stand perched on one leg and close its eyes.
It may turn its head around and nestle it over its back. Other times, it’ll tuck its head under or in-between its wings. If you find your budgie doing these things, it’s sleeping.
If your budgie isn’t sleeping in this position, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s awake.
Check if its eyes are closed, as most budgies sleep with at least one eye closed. If the second eye is open, it’s keeping watch while its brain partially rests.
Why Do Budgies Nap?
Budgies are energetic birds, spending most of the day chattering. To compensate for their frantic lifestyle, budgies nap during the daytime to obtain the 10-12 hours of sleep they need.
Napping is a flock behavior. If you own several budgies, you may notice that they’ll nap simultaneously. According to PLOS Biology, a nap lasts 15-45 minutes, usually during the warmest hours of the day.
Do Budgies Need A Bed To Sleep?
Budgies don’t need a special bed or parrot mattress to sleep. Wild budgies often sleep on branches hidden within a tree’s canopies, but a perch will suffice for a pet budgie.
Even when they nest, budgies find pockets in caves, cliffsides, and trees that have been burrowed out. They don’t collect nesting materials, laying their eggs within the plain, unembellished cavity.
Building a nest isn’t a requirement for budgies, but some won’t decline a comfy bed. Some budgies may sleep there if you fill the nest with soft, warm material and give them privacy.
Budgies’ sleeping positions vary, so don’t be alarmed as long as the budgie has enough space, isn’t showing any signs of illness, or experiencing extreme fatigue.