Cockatiel behaviour can take time to understand. A friend of mine just got himself a new cockatiel baby and was wondering how much sleep they should get since he works late nights. I thought I already have a blog, so what’s wrong in doing some research? And, that’s how this blog post came about. Here is what I found.
How do cockatiels sleep?
Cockatiels generally sleep on the perch keeping one leg up, and their head tilted 180 degrees. The head comes under their wings for protection and warmth.  Baby cockatiels, aged cockatiels, and even some ill ‘tiels may exhibit different sleeping behaviors.
There is a lot more to know about your cockatiel’s sleeping habits. Keep reading on!
Cockatiel sleeping positions
Cockatiels sleep in various positions including:
- The normal position.
- The baby position.
- Stuck to the cage’s walls.
- Sleeping on both legs.
- Sticking to the bottom of the cage.
Let’s talk about them one by one.
The normal position
This position is described before, and in this, the bird usually sleeps on the top of his perch using only one leg. Sometimes, beacon change between the legs to give comfort to the legs. The head is under the wings/arm to get both warmth and Rest to the head.
The baby position
Baby birds sleep with both legs down, similar to how mammals do. They also fluff themselves up to get warmer during the night. Some relatively mature (6 months or so) cockatiels also sleep in this position.
Close to the cage’s walls
Sometimes, cockatiels love to sleep nearby the walls of the cage. This could be due to several reasons, including them not getting enough support on their perch; they like sleeping near the walls, et cetera.
Sleeping on both legs
Sleeping on both legs is a sign that the cockatiel is not feeling completely secure in that area and doesn’t want to be in a vulnerable position with only one leg on. Soon, as they realize that you are not a threat to them, they will likely start sleeping in the normal position. They could also be doing this because they are not able to sleep on one leg due to some illness or injury.
In that case, you need to take them to an aviation vet immediately.
Sticking to the bottom of the cage is a sign that your cockatiel is not feeling well and is likely ill. They are not able to support themself while on a perch, and hence they are doing that. Contact your vet immediately if you see this with other signs like lethargic behavior, low appetite et cetera.
How do I know if my cockatiel is sleeping?
Cockatiels are very light sleepers. It is hard to distinguish between a sleeping Cockatiel and an awake one just by looking at them from afar. If you make any sound, it can make the bird awaken.
If you see your cockatiels with eyes closed, one leg up and head tucked under his chest, then likely your cockatiel is sleeping.
Cockatiels also have the habit of taking naps during the day.
Do cockatiels take naps?
Cockatiels do take naps during the day. In fact, they take 2 to 3, 15 to 30-minute naps to relax and get their energy back for the rest of the day.
How many hours a day does a cockatiel sleep?
A cockatiel sleeps around 10 to 14 hours per day. The upper and lower margins depend on the age and condition of the cockatiel. Older cockatiels sleep a lot more. Cockatiels also enjoy more sleep time in winters as days end early in the colder season.
How much sleep do cockatiels need
A cockatiel needs at least 12 to 14 hours of sleep every single day.  If they don’t get enough uninterrupted sleep due to playtime or some other reason, they are likely to get cranky and irritating when they wake up.
Do cockatiels sleep a lot?
Cockatiel do not sleep a lot. Their sleep time is normal in comparison to other parakeets.
If your cockatiel is sleeping all day even after getting an ample amount of sleep, then she could be having some serious problems, and you should visit a nearby vet.
Are cockatiels loud at night?
Cockatiels can be loud at night due to various reasons, including night fright, attention-seeking behavior, loneliness et cetera.
Let’s talk about night fright first.
Night fright occurs in cockatiels when they aren’t able to see anything. This happens when you immediately turn off the lights to signal nighttime. The solution to this is quite easy.
Either, you can keep the lights on and see whether your cockatiel sleeps with them or you can buy a night light (10 to 20 watts) and keep them on near the bird’s cage.
If you find yourself in such a situation, immediately turn the lights on. Then, calmly talk to him and show him that everything is ok. Sometimes, even dim nightlights won’t work, so you have to test and try.
The second situation is attention-seeking behavior.
Some cockatiels don’t like to sleep when we want them to sleep. Hence, they may create sounds, whistles or attempt singing behaviors to grab our attention. You can try to ignore the situation but if they continuously call you out, check out whether there is something wrong with them or not.
The bird will likely stop this behavior once you understand that you are not paying attention.
You can also provide them with a separate room or place, so they don’t disturb your sleep at night.
The third one is the lack of companionship.
Cockatiel males usually call out the females using singing.  When they are alone, however, they can sometimes call out in the middle of the night and disturb your sleep. You can do two things here.
Either, you can buy a female cockatiel instead of a male one or if you already own a male, add in a female or other birds so that they don’t feel alone all the time.
Do cockatiels like blankets?
Cockatiels usually don’t need blankets. A simple dark cloth or sheet should work fine. Blankets can interfere with the air coming inside the cage and therefore, can create breathing problems and a bad environment for your bird. They are only recommended in the winter seasons to increase the warmth.
Do cockatiels need to be covered at night?
Not all cockatiels want to be covered. To cover or not to cover a cockatiel depends on the individual bird’s preferences. For most birds though, covering provides an easy way to tell the bird that it is nighttime and they should stop their activities and try to sleep. Covering can also calm down active birds.
So, decide on a case-by-case basis. If your bird doesn’t like covering, try covering only from two or three sites and leave one side open. Make sure to change the cloth or sheet as some cockatiels have a habit of eating through their covering sheets.
Sheets with holes can be a hazard for tiels. They can get stuck in them.
What time should I put my cockatiel to bed?
In the wild, cockatiels come home to sleep when the sun sets. Therefore an ideal time to put them to bed would be around late evening to early nighttime. That is, you should send your cockatiel to bed between 7 to 9 p.m. and wake them up by removing the covering after 10 to 12 hours of sleep time.
Why do cockatiels get scared at night?
Cockatiels are prey animals , and hence they need to be alert all the time. Cockatiels also don’t possess any strong night vision. Therefore, slight movements and sounds can cause stress in them. That’s why they get scared at night.
Can cockatiels be left alone for the night?
Cockatiels are easier pets compared to other bird species, and hence they can be left alone for some time. You can go out during your night duty, and for that time the ‘tiel will easily sleep it out. For daytime, it is better to have a companion pet as they need some sort of bonding while awake.
Also, make sure that their food and water supplies are ample for the time you are out. If there are enough supplies, school visits/job time should not be a worry.
There are some other little things you can also do to relieve their stress while no one is there. You can keep the radio on the low so that they can entertain themselves. They should also have a lot of toys to play with, and you should replace the toys regularly.
Cockatiels can get bored seeing the same toys all the time.
Can cockatiels put themselves to bed?
Some of them do. It’s an individualistic behavior. Some cockatiels would show you with signs like yawning and napping to indicate that it’s time you put them in their napping area and place a sheet over the cage.
Others would themselves go to the areas and keep waiting for the lights to be out.
Do cockatiels sleep with their eyes open?
Cockatiels have been observed to sleep with their one eye open. This behavior is categorized as half-sleep by researches.  If the cockatiel trusts you, she may sleep with the closed eye towards you. Sometimes, when they feel safe, they may also close both of their eyes.