Butters, our blue and gold macaw, first learning about her new macaw cage, its toys, covers, bowls, and night cover. She was a very excited happy baby parrot.

Should I Cover My Bird's Cage at Night?

Should I Cover My Bird's Cage at Night?

Covering your parrot's roost cage at night is not a mandate. It's an option. There are variations to doing it. We cover all our parrots at night in different ways. Cockatiels. Macaws. Felix, influencer and African grey. Kirby, our Indian ringneck was not a fan of the full cover. I learned he only wanted 3/4 of his cage blanketed. We use sheets, towels, blankets, and DIY sewn cage fitting covers made of sheets.

Why cover your parrot's cage at night?

  • The act establishes a routine for sleep.
  • Cage covers can block light pollution for a calmer night and morning.
  • Birdcage covers allow control over darkness during hormone season.
  • A good cage cover offers comfort and security to smaller birds who by nature seek cover from predators at night. Our cockatiels have to be covered at night; they turn into fearful watchers in the dark otherwise. Covering their cage has eliminated parrot night frights.
  • Covers allow the human in the room to decide what time the early bird gets the worm.

That last point is moot with some parrots. Felix listens for any sound of humanity. He gurgles like a faucet when he hears dad at a sink. That's my alarm clock. He will apply an end microwave beep sequence if I don't get up fast enough. He will dig deep into his repertoire for the eyewatering digital electric alarm clock of 1996 beep until he is freed from his dungeon. Darkness is meaningless to this bird. He likes the cubby feel of his covered cage, though. He prefers an afternoon nap in his covered bedroom roost cage.

There are those who don't use cages at all. Covering their crew isn't an option, by choice. Cage-free parrots have specific perching areas, rooms, or unlocked and uncovered cages. Another option that works when the parrot was given choices in the matter.

How do you cover a bird at night?

The variables are endless. Here is where your parrot's nuanced opinions, and your willingness to have a parrot flock call when the sun rises, come into play. Some parrots prefer half their cage covered. Some prefer that half to be the top half. Some the back half. Some will want the side of their cage that faces a window or door covered. Covering a cage cuts off their line of sight. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing. Depending on your parrot's preferences.

What color bird cage cover is best?

Any color they are comfortable with. This could take a few sessions of experiments. Use towels covering a portion of their cage to test-drive their tolerances and concerns. Our cockatiels prefer blues or greens. The macaws like darker browns and greys. Felix's cage is a pea green sheet I sewed into a fitted cage cover. The entire front is a flap. Which allows half mast, fully exposed, or rolled back as a curtain. He's particular about the front of his covering.

What bird cage cover material is best?

Personally, I stick to cotton and cotton blends. Breathable, washable, and cottons allow ambient temperatures and humidity through.

What about fitted parrot cage covers? Consider a tent. If you've gone camping, you're aware of the reference to dead air. Sleeping in a tent is not comfortable if it doesn't have venting for air exchange. If you're going fitted, make sure there is open spaces that allow air to travel through the cage. Parrots can handle cold better than warm. Air movement is important.

Will a cage cover make my bird hormonal?

Covering a parrot's cage at night does not fill the requirement of a nest triggering hormones. The sun goes down, the cover goes down. The sun comes up, the cover comes off. In a nest triggering hormones scenario, that cover would stay on except for an entry way, which a bird can choose to come and go through. A nest box vs a blanket. All our parrot cages have towels inside laid on top of their bottom grates. To catch poop and foods. Easy cleaning. Grates are never easy cleaning. When Felix takes his covered nap during the day, he makes nests with his extra towels at the bottom. This makes him a calm, happy bird. Snickers, our scarlet macaw, makes nests in his towels after being put to bed. In the dark he chatters, chuckles, and chews to settles in for the night. This makes him a sleepy Snickers.

If hormones are an issue for your companion parrot, I've written a four-part series on parrot hormones and what can and can't trigger these fluxes. Start HERE.

Covering your parrot is a decision you and your bird will need to discuss. There is no wrong answer, as long as your bird agrees. Felix lets me know when I'm wrong. Efficiently with great sincerity. We parrot people are under double super-secret probation, and we all know it.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


  • My mini-macaw wants to be covered by three pm. He doesn’t sleep, I can hear him playing and eating and talking. His body tells him when it’s time and he yells “Night night time!” until I cover him. He gets uncovered at 7am. I’m not sure why this is, this wanting to be covered early. Do you have any thoughts? He’s healthy.

    Stephanie on

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