Why Do Parrots Sleep Upside Down?

Among hundreds of parrot species, only some sleep upside down.

Among hundreds of parrot species, only some sleep upside down.

Most species of parrots sleep standing up with one foot up. However, some species have the ability to sleep upside down. These species are fittingly known as hanging parrots. Some parrot species, like the African grey parrot, also like to just hang out, upside down, while they're playing or relaxing.

General Sleeping Positions

According to the Elite Parrots Club, parrots sleep with one foot pulled up into their feathers when they're in a sound sleep. During naptime, they may rest their heads against themselves or a surface. They may lie on their backs, but that's less common. If a parrot sleeps on both feet, it may be a sign of illness -- the parrot may feel too weak to support his body on one foot.

Hanging Parrot Species

Several species of hanging parrots are referred to as hanging parrots. The known species of hanging parrots are the Bismarck hanging parrot, the black-billed hanging parrot, the blue-crowned hanging parrot, the Camiguin hanging parrot, the Cebu hanging parrot, the great hanging parrot, the Moluccan hanging parrot, the orange-fronted hanging parrot, the Philippine hanging parrot, the Pygmy hanging parrot, the Sangihe Hanging Parrot, the Sri Lanka hanging parrot, the Sula hanging parrot, the ernal hanging parrot, the Wallace's Hanging Parrot and the yellow-throated hanging parrot.

Origin and Appearance

Hanging parrots originate in Asia. They are small, short-tailed and usually green birds. They all eat berries, fruits, nectar and blossoms. You can distinguish a hanging parrot from other parrots by their size, colors and patterns. For example, the vernal hanging parrot has an orange or reddish-orange bill; males have a blue bib. This species prefers a home in the deciduous forest, but is sometimes also found in evergreen forests, especially where flowering trees flourish.

Just Hanging Out

When they decide to sleep in an upside-down position, it's usually in an existing hole within a tree or stump. In addition to hanging parrots, some other species love to just hang out. For example, the African Grey Parrot website says African grey parrots love to hang upside down. Instead of sleeping that way, however, these birds hang upside down when they are feeling confident and happy, or when they are playing with their toys.

 

About the Author

Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.

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