Generally speaking, African grey parrots will go to sleep at night. If you create a proper day-night cycle for them, they will sleep for as much as 10-12 hours during the night. That said, in the wild, African greys do tend to be quite active at night, and so it could be that they don’t always sleep at night.
African greys are highly individual species, and this means that their individual patterns can vary a great deal.
For the most part, getting them into a cycle where they sleep at night is fairly straightforward and won’t take too much time to achieve.
At the same time, though, they can often be quite active at night, and this is certainly something you need to prepare yourself for.
Let’s find out more.
Do African greys sleep at night or during the day?
The simple answer is it depends on many factors.
To start with, most African grey owners do agree that getting your African grey to sleep at night is not a problem and with a bit of time and patience you’ll be able to get them into that routine.
They are awake from sunrise to sunset, and they will sleep for around 10-12 hours during the night.
As mentioned, though, in the wild, this isn’t always the case, though sometimes it is.
They will often be quite active during the night and though they won’t be fully nocturnal, they may sometimes be moving around in the darker hours.
But again, in general, African greys will sleep during the night and be active during the day.
They obviously don’t have fantastic night vision and so this makes being active during the night difficult unless there is a great deal of moonlight or light from urban centers.
So, this will translate quite well into an ordinary nightly routine for your parrot.
Again, though, you’ll have to make sure you put that into place of your own volition and get your parrots to do it.
Without the fading natural sunlight and only the switching on or off of artificial, home lighting, their internal clocks won’t be on precisely the same tempo.
The most important thing, then, is that you know everything you need to know in order to get them into a routine and have them sleeping through the night.
Another thing to bear in mind is that while they will get most of their sleep during the night, they are prolific nappers and will spend some periods of the day asleep and taking naps.
This is a normal part of behavior, but if it becomes excessive, this can become a vicious cycle: they have trouble settling at night and thus they are more tired during the day.
They then take more naps during the day, and are more awake at night.
A big question, then, is whether your parrot should sleep in darkness or not.
Do African grey parrots sleep in the dark?
Given that African greys in general, in the wild, do sleep during the night time, it’s definitely best to create darkness for your parrot when they need to sleep.
This can of course be done simply by turning off the lights at the right time, but make sure also to close the curtains so there is not any artificial light streaming in from the streets.
The better the darkness, the more deeply and comfortably they will be able to sleep. Again, it’s all about creating the proper sense of that day-night cycle.
Once the lights are off, too, don’t turn them back on.
Before you turn them off, make sure you have everything you need so that you won’t have to come back in and turn the lights on again.
This can be really disruptive and confusing to them and may lead to problems if it happens repeatedly.
A strict bedtime is the single most important part of your African grey’s routine.
Turn the lights off at the same time every day and, at that point, don’t disturb them again until they wake up in the morning.
Covering the cage is common practice for many parrot species—so should this be done with African greys?
Should I cover my African grey’s cage at night?
You should definitely cover your African grey’s cage at night.
This achieves a few things.
On the one hand, it obviously gives them added darkness in a way that simply turning the lights off wouldn’t achieve.
They will be completely isolated from the light and thus they will be able to sleep more soundly.
On the other hand, though, covering the cage also gives your parrot an added layer of privacy which it is not able to get throughout the day.
This will make it feel much more comfortable and safe.
Your parrot may not be in any danger in your home, but their instincts are still the same as were they in the wild.
Sleeping makes them completely vulnerable, and so they need to be able to sleep with that sense of safety and security if they are going to be fully comfortable.
Do the birds sleep a lot, then?
Do African grey parrots sleep a lot?
African grey parrots sleep quite a lot, though of course this is only relative.
Among parrots, the amount they sleep is quite typical.
Ten to twelve hours of sleep every night would seem to be quite a lot for people, but for parrots it’s perfectly normal and perhaps the only way they can be fully rested—they have a very active mind during the day and so it needs all this time to unwind.
Again, though, there is also the fact that they tend to nap a lot during the day.
This can vary a great deal between individuals, and some will nap far more than others.
But all in all, a typical African grey parrot will sleep for at least ten hours a night and may nap for a couple of hours during the day.
What time should I put my African grey to bed?
Again, circumstances will be different for everyone and what works for another parrot may not quite work for you.
Generally, though, a good bedtime routine is to put them to bed around 10pm and then let them sleep until 10am the next morning.
You always want to give them 12 hours to sleep even if they sleep for less than that time, to make sure they can get as much as they want to.
You may want to put them to bed earlier if you have a different work routine, such as 8pm to 8am.
This can be trickier as they may not always be ready to go to bed at this time—just try a few things and see what works for you and your parrot.
Can African greys sleep during the day?
African greys can and do sleep during the day in terms of taking naps, as we’ve mentioned.
However, in terms of fully going to sleep during the day and being awake during the night, this really isn’t best for them.
They will prefer to be active during the actual daylight hours rather than always in artificial light, and they will prefer to be asleep during the night.
How can I make my African grey go to sleep at night?
So, what we’ve learned is that routine in general is the most important thing.
If you want your parrot to go to sleep at night, then you’ll need to get them into the regular routine of putting them to bed at a certain time and then getting them up at the same time each morning.
Make sure they are active and engaged during the day so that they aren’t just napping constantly out of boredom.
Cover their cage at night and make sure they have total darkness and sleeping at night shouldn’t be a problem.
In general, then, African grey parrots shouldn’t have much trouble being maneuvered into a nightly routine where they sleep at night for ten or twelve hours and are active during the day.
You will need to take steps to manage this, of course, and you’ll need to get the routine into place—it will not happen by itself.
But if you do take the proper steps, then most African greys will have no problem going to sleep at night—but on the other hand, some will certainly stay up at night in some cases.