How do Macaws Sleep? (Different Sleeping Positions, and Bedtime Routine)

Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by Ali Shahid

Getting enough sleep is crucial for the health of your parrot. A lack of sleep can affect your macaw’s immune system and make them cranky. As a proud owner of macaws, I’m sure you’ve wondered, how do macaws sleep?

Generally, macaws sleep for 12 hours with one leg up and their heads press inside their wings. Like other parrots, macaws’ sleep and wake cycle depend upon the sunset and sunrise. They go to sleep immediately after sunset and wake up immediately after sunrise. Maintain a regular sleep schedule for your macaw to keep it healthy.

We know that macaws are more active during the day and stop their activities at night. However, you might be curious about how long they sleep.

What are their sleeping positions? What is their sleeping place? Is it possible to adjust their sleep according to your needs? Let’s discuss these questions one by one.

How do macaws sleep?

The macaw is a diurnal bird and does not fly during the night. They wake up early. Flocks of 20-25 macaws live inside the high trees’ cavities. They should sleep in the dark.

After sunset, they go to sleep, and they wake up before sunrise in the morning. They eat fruits and seeds along with their flocks all day and are concerned only with food. Macaws tend to live in pairs, so it is hard to see one alone.

Macaws are tropical birds requiring more light to maintain their health and function properly. Light and dark hours are usually equal for them for daily chores and rest.

Sleeping Positions of Macaws

It is common for macaws to sleep while perched on a perch or hanging from a tree branch in the wild. Nonetheless, some macaws sleep upside down, known as Hanging Parrots.

A macaw might sleep with its head under one of its wings. There are times when this behavior is normal, and there are times when it could indicate a health problem. Occasionally, this behavior may indicate that the macaw is feeling cold.

Importance of Bedtime Routine for Macaws

For pet macaws, it is crucial to maintain a rigid routine, since in the wild they go to bed and wake up with the sun. Having been taken from the wild, macaws lack direct sunlight and often confuse sleep and wake up times.

Additionally, sunlight affects the behavior of their hormones. Spring means a lot of sunlight, so macaws will get a bit hormonal and difficult to handle as a result of mating.

A hormonal macaw will bite more, become more protective, and may become egg-bound. Also, they will not be able to get deep sleep, which can lead to irritability and other health problems.

So to avoid all these problems it is better you set up a sleeping routine for your macaws.

What is the Best Place for Macaws to Sleep?

If you give your macaw a quiet place to live, it will be happier and healthier. So, when it is time for sleep, make sure the cage is in the quietest place in your house. If you keep your macaw in a quiet place, he will feel safe and can fall deep asleep more easily.

When a parrot is scared, it has difficulty falling asleep, which can cause serious mental health issues. I don’t want to make raising a macaw sound hard, but the bird needs a good place to sleep.

Living room cages are problematic when people or pets spend most of their time there. Every household is unique, and only the owner can decide where the macaw will get the most rest.

Also, the temperature in the parrot’s sleeping room should be 25-27 Celsius and should not be higher than 29-30 Celsius.

How long does a macaw sleep?

Macaws in the wild are ideally awake at sunrise and asleep at sunset. In short, macaws are awake for 12 hours each day and sleep for 12 hours.  

However, artificial light in captivity can affect macaws’ sleeping habits and cause sleep deprivation, especially if it is on for longer than 12 hours.

The best way to ensure your macaw gets enough sleep is to provide 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

How the Presence and Absence of Sunlight Effect Macaws Sleep

A major disadvantage of indoor birds is that they cannot benefit from UV light emitted by the sun. A majority of window glass is treated so that ultraviolet (UV) rays will not pass through, preventing the rays from reaching birds.

This is bad because a lack of UV light can result in a deficiency of D3 and calcium. Macaws can suffer painful and even fatal conditions from it. Moreover, if the environment isn’t bright enough, it could be hard to determine the time of day.

It is possible that they sleep longer than they should. To help your macaw to understand its surroundings, ‘daylight’ and ‘nightlight’ should have a stark differences.

Accommodating Sleeping Schedules of Macaws

Pet bird owners are often up late past their pets’ bedtimes due to their busy schedules. Macaws can be kept outside or close to you in the evening hours. However, don’t anticipate them waking up very early in the morning.

The cage can be covered for 10 to 12 hours. It doesn’t matter how early the sun rises, a macaw can sleep in a dark, quiet, curtained room.

But it requires time to get your macaw to use this routine. Does interacting with a macaw after it has been put to bed constitute poor handling? It’s not as simple as yes or no. As Susan Friedman said, “Every bird teaches us something about itself.

Certain macaws can play with you when he wakes up. Some won’t. It is clear that they are sleepy, and if you wake them the next morning, they may be grumpy and upset.

It has been demonstrated that individual parrots respond differently to our homes, even though they generally adhere to their species profile.

Effects of light hours in breeding season?

Early summer is the breeding season when light cycles outnumber dark cycles. In this period, macaws sleep 10 hours a day and awaken 14 hours a day, which induces hormone production for breeding.

As I mentioned, macaws become aggressive when their hormonal levels change and bite. This would be destructive. In other words, you can encourage and discourage breeding among macaws by controlling the light cycle.

You can reduce the light hours in breeding macaws by using cage covers to induce artificial darkness. For macaws to breed, they need 12-14 hours of light each day.


When your macaws arrive home, they will surprise you with different things. One thing I find interesting is seeing these parrots sleep with one lug up. A macaw’s sleep and wake cycle are regulated by the sun.

Therefore, macaws are diurnal and cannot fly at night. Usually, they need 10-12 hours of work a day, followed by 12 hours of sleep a day to grow and develop properly. If the macaw sleeps more than 12 hours a day, a veterinarian needs to be consulted.

The macaw sleeps with its head bending toward its feathers. Wild Macaws live inside the tree cavities. A macaw can be adjusted to sleep according to your schedule to meet its social needs.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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