How Much DIRECT Sunlight Does My Parrot Need?

Most people are becoming aware of the important role that sunshine plays in our lives. It has significant impact on our physical AND mental health. Many people suffer bouts of depression during the winter months. It’s not a coincidence that sunlight and outdoor activity happen to be reduced during this season.

When sunlight comes in direct contact with the body it is synthesized into vitamin D, which maintains proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood stream. Without vitamin D, the body does not properly absorb calcium, something that is critical to a parrot.

All bird sites now tout the advantages of proper lighting for their avian companions. The information that is unclear on the internet is about the necessity for DIRECT sunlight. I’m sure that part of the reason for this is because people are hesitant to recommend that anyone place their bird in direct sunlight. Some people might misunderstand information and leave their bird to suffer (or worse) from too much exposure.

To make matters worse, everyone has their own opinion on how much direct exposure is enough for a parrot. But it is generally understood that a bird needs at least some access to direct sunlight to remain healthy.

But how much? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Different factors have to be taken into consideration, such as the season, (as the earth has a different proximity to the sun during different months), the hour of the day (the position of the sun in the sky), the climate (sometimes it is just too hot for your bird to be in the sun for ANY length of time), your geographical location (your proximity to the equator), and the location of the bird’s cage (placement near reflective surfaces such as water, sand, cement or asphalt, even grass to some degree.)

Given that BirdTricksStore.com is a large international community, all with different living environments, I will recommend that you make sure your bird gets 30 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight each week and as much time outdoors in shaded areas as possible (hopefully with reflective surfaces nearby) without making your bird uncomfortable. That amount would be safe no matter what your circumstances are.

A good way to be sure that your bird is not suffering while in sunlight is to right there with it. If you become uncomfortable, you can assume your bird is as well. If exposure is done in 5 minute increments per day, that’s fine. If it is possible to safely extend that time, do so.

 

WARNING!! Overheating or heat stroke is dangerous! Please be very watchful when your bird is in direct sunlight (or outside at all during hot weather)!! If your bird is panting or holding its wings away from its body. Give it a good soaking in ROOM TEMPERATURE WATER. Cold water can cause a sharp decrease in body temperature that can kill or cause organ damage.

Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

 

6 comments

Kushra Leigh Price

My baby (13 week) CAG gets about 40 minutes of direct sunlight a day. We started at 15 minutes each time, then increased it when we realized that he loves the sun and wasn’t overheating. He always has his water/decaffeinated tea (he prefers that to water) and his daily vegetables with him when he needs to hydrate. I put a towel over on half of the cage so he can retreat when he gets too hot, but that doesn’t happen often. When he does that, I take it as a sign that he’s had enough and take him inside. He happily comes inside with me, if I try and take him inside before he retreats to the cooler side, he shrieks until I leave him on his perch in the sun. He sits on the perch closest to the end of the cage which is in direct sunlight and just chills there or falls asleep. I don’t do that when it’s cold though, I’ll have to get a UV light for winter.

Kushra Leigh Price
Jennifer

I’m confused with a neighbour telling me that parrots “brains” get damaged by too much sunlight???? is it possible?

Jennifer
JLO

My CAG Calvin loves to go outside and prefers being in the sun & either sitting on my knee or walking around on our sidewalk.

JLO
chika

my quaker is scared of outside and prefers my shoulder to the ground

chika
Don Carlos

My QUAKER also chooses between light & shaded areas

Don Carlos
Jacqi

My birds are outside itch me and on big perches. They choose sun or shade. They are 3 lucky birds.

Jacqi

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