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do budgies have nightmares?

Why Do Budgies Have Night Frights?

Night frights cause budgies to wake up in a state of panic, flapping their wings frantically and blindly crashing into their cages.

The budgie will be terrified and want to escape a perceived predator or nearby threat. In its desire to get away in any way it can, it could physically injure itself or fall off its perch.

Budgies have night frights due to sleep disturbances that scare them awake, such as a flash of light, loud noise, or sudden movement.

Thunder and lightning, car headlights, people shouting, TV sounds, trees blowing in the wind, and predatory animals near the cage can send a half-awake budgie into a frenzy.

A night terror usually occurs when a budgie is in the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage of sleep.

It’s sleeping with one eye open, interpreting its surroundings with its poor night vision. The budgie may misinterpret something and freak out, and it won’t calm down until the danger has passed.

Do Budgies Have Night Terrors?

Budgies are prone to night terrors because they’re prey animals with poor night vision. Unfortunately, harmless items appear much larger and scarier when it’s dark.

Since budgies are naturally predisposed as prey animals, nature endowed them with fast reflexes. This ensures they can escape from predators rapidly when sensing danger.

If a budgie is scared at night, it’ll instinctively begin flapping its wings and flying around its cage while making wild squawks to warn other flock members of impending danger.

According to Frontiers in Neuroscience, night fright is especially common during the NREM sleep phase, which is when budgies sleep with one eye open to identify threats.

Even shadows looming over the cage from household items, plants, and trees can trigger night terrors.

The most common causes of night terrors in budgies include:


Budgies enjoy the company of other budgies. They’re used to living in flocks of up to 100 birds and take great comfort in having other budgies for company.

Not having a companion bird can raise the budgie’s stress levels, leading to further night terrors. If the budgie is prone to bad dreams, not having a companion can make this experience more frequent.

Change of Environment

A new budgie will be more prone to night frights, especially in the first few nights. This is also true if you move your budgie to a new home or shift it between cages.

It’ll be stressed by the change, unfamiliar with its living environment, and unsure where dangers lie. This can put the budgie on edge, affecting how well it sleeps.

Interrupted Sleep Pattern

Budgies need to sleep for 12 hours a day to stay healthy and strong.

A lack of adequate sleep can cause stress and mental fatigue. When a budgie sleeps, it’ll be more prone to night terrors and other sleep disturbances.


Traumatic events, such as losing a partner, can cause depression in budgies.

Budgies get closely attached and form strong bonds with their companions. This includes humans, so the budgie will likely feel sad if its favorite person moves out of the home.

Due to the resulting stress, the budgie may have night terrors. 

Predator Sightings

The main cause of night fright in budgies is exposure to predators. This can include a large hawk swooping by a window, a cat stalking near the cage, or a dog barking loudly.

If the budgie had a brush with a predator or fears that one is nearby, its stress levels would be heightened. It may stay on edge, experiencing a sudden burst of adrenaline.

This can put a budgie on edge, resulting in night terrors and nightmares.

do budgies have night terrors?

What to Do When Your Budgie Gets a Night Fright

If you wake up to the sounds of a budgie having a night fright, switch on the lights. Also, uncover its cage if a blanket is draped over it. The light will help the budgie regain its full vision, and it should calm down upon seeing that there’s no direct threat.

Further, your presence in the room will enhance the budgie’s sense of security. However, don’t touch the budgie, open its cage, or move too close to it.

Some budgies remain distressed for several minutes afterward and may not recognize you. In its distressed state, it may incorrectly interpret your hand as a predator coming toward it.

Once the budgie has stopped thrashing and calmed down, approach its cage slowly while talking to it calmly, reassuringly. At that point, you can return to bed.

How To Prevent Night Fright in Budgies

Knowing how to manage night frights is crucial to ensuring your budgie gets a good night’s sleep.

The most common ways to prevent night terrors in budgies include:


Most budgies prefer to sleep in darkness, as artificial lighting disrupts their sleep patterns.

However, you can make an exception if your budgie has experienced a night fright previously or you’ve heard it wake up from a night terror. At least until it calms down, leave a dimmed light on near the cage.

This will enable the budgie to see around the room. It won’t provide perfect clarity, as that much light will keep the budgie awake. However, it will ensure it’s not as easily scared by sudden movements.

Quiet Room

In some cases, covering the budgie’s cage will prevent it from seeing things moving around the room.

However, budgies can still hear movement. Not identifying the source of movement in the darkness can result in night fright. Ensure the room is quiet and undisturbed during the night.  

You can soundproof the room if you live in a noisy area. For example, you live next to a busy highway. For instance, installing acoustic panels around the walls will absorb noises. You can also hang sound baffles on the ceiling to further deflect incoming noises.

Fixing holes and cracks on the walls can be beneficial. For a more direct approach, increase the mass of the bird cage’s walls and doors with padding during the night.

Night Light

Most pet shops stock pet-friendly night lights designed to illuminate a room in the most soothing, animal-friendly way possible.

These night lights are energy-efficient, so you can leave them on without worrying about high power bills.

Nighttime Routine

Budgies prefer stability and predictability. So, having the same evening routine will make your budgie feel more comfortable and reduce the number of night terrors.