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Why Your Cockatiel Is Sleeping A Lot!

A cockatiel that is sleeping a lot may be a cause for concern, and many bird owners are aware that birds often don’t show signs of sickness until they are very sick.

Because of this, it’s easy to take any indication of illness as a signal to panic, and if your cockatiel seems to be spending long hours with its head tucked under its wing, or it’s drowsy throughout the day, you might be justifiably concerned.

Fortunately, cockatiels are fairly robust birds, and there may be a simple explanation for the sleepiness.

It is always a good idea to pay attention to changes in your pet’s behavior and to take swift action if you see any sign that your bird is unwell.

Because birds tend to hide it when they are feeling ill until the disease has progressed a long way, it’s better to be cautious and constantly vigilant about your bird’s behavior, rather than relaxed. This could save your bird’s life if something has gone wrong.

However, it is easy to mistake natural behavior for something worrying, and it’s perfectly possible for a cockatiel to sleep a lot even if nothing is wrong with it.

Don’t immediately panic if your bird doesn’t want to wake up, or seems to be taking more naps than usual; it may be completely fine.

Is It Normal For Cockatiels To Sleep A Lot?

Cockatiels need a fair amount of sleep, but they don’t sleep more than the average parakeet, so sleepiness could be a cause for concern.

However, sleepiness that is not accompanied by any other worrying symptoms such as diarrhea, sneezing, twitchiness, loss of appetite, greasy feathers, or a ruffled appearance is often nothing to worry about, especially in the short term.

It may simply be that your cockatiel did not rest well, or that it is warm and relaxed and just wants to nap for a bit.

Cockatiels often do nap during the day, and you can tell a lot about your cockatiel’s health from its position while sleeping. If the bird is perched on one leg with its head under its wing, it’s in the most normal sleeping position, and is likely feeling fine.

Similarly, if it is perched on the cage bars or another elevated surface, it is probably fine.

However, if your cockatiel seems to be sleeping on the floor of the cage or if it constantly puts both feet down when sleeping even though it is in a secure environment, it may not be feeling very well.

Sometimes, cockatiels do sleep with both feet down because they feel unsafe, but once they are settled, they should sleep on one leg, so having both feet down may indicate that the bird is struggling to balance or that it has sustained an injury.

How Much Sleep Does A Cockatiel Need Each Day?

Cockatiels usually need between twelve and fourteen hours of sleep per day, and they often have one long period of rest during the night and then take several naps during the day, rather than getting it all in a single session.

Some birds will only sleep for about ten hours, but these are more likely to nap during the day, and may seem sleepier than those that have had around fourteen hours.

It is a good idea to cover your cockatiel’s cage at night so that it can get some undisturbed rest, and this is particularly important if you are likely to be using the room that its cage is in during the evening or night; bright lights and a lot of noise will prevent your cockatiel from resting properly.

Cover the cage with a blanket or sheet to create some darkness and prevent the bird from being disturbed by you, and this should help it get a decent rest.

If you don’t do this and the cockatiel is disturbed a lot, it is more likely to be sleepy the following day, and it may keep trying to nap as a result.

Other factors could play into a bird being unusually tired, such as molting, a very active day the day before, or the bird getting older.

Don’t try to wake your cockatiel up when it is sleeping, even if you want to play with it; it’s best to let it rest when it is tired.

Should You Be Worried If Your Cockatiel Is Sleeping A Lot?

Whether you should be worried depends upon the cockatiel’s normal behavior and the sleepiness that you’re seeing.

If your bird is sitting in a puffy ball at the bottom of its cage and refuses to open its eyes or move, it is definitely a reason to be concerned, and you should organize an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Any leaning to the side or hunching should also be noted as worrying.

However, if your cockatiel is simply napping on its perch, there’s probably nothing to worry about, even if it seems a bit sleepier than usual.

Just as a human might feel more tired on one day than another, the bird might just want a bit of extra sleep, or may have had a disturbed night that it is trying to recover from. See whether it becomes more alert after a good nap, and monitor it for a few days.

Check things like your bird’s droppings, its alertness levels when awake, and the condition of its feathers. These should all give you a good sense of whether it is poorly, but if in doubt, it’s always better to get a cockatiel to a vet than to wait and then find it was very sick.


A cockatiel sleeping a lot is not necessarily a reason to be immediately concerned, as these birds can need up to fourteen hours of sleep per day, and they quite often nap in order to fulfill this quota. However, if your cockatiel seems lethargic or its feathers are ruffled or puffed, it is quite likely that it is ill, and if it has suddenly started sleeping a lot more, it’s best to get it checked by a vet.