How Do Pigeons Sleep? A Guide to Pigeon Sleeping Habits

Pigeons typically sleep on a ledge or in their nest, laying down on their underside like a resting chicken, with their eyes shut. They tend to sleep from dusk to dawn, waking up when the sun rises.

Pigeons sleep with their heads tucked back under their feathers, and they often sleep with one eye open and one eye closed. Tucking their heads under their wings helps keep them warm and blocks out light. They usually sleep in pairs or small groups.

How Do Pigeons Sleep

Do Pigeons Sleep in Their Nests?

Pigeons do not sleep in their nests. They use their nests only during the mating season, and once their fledglings have grown and left, the nest is abandoned. The same pair will return to it time after time, but only to lay eggs and rear their young.

Wild pigeons do not return to their nests at night, as they do not need it once the mating season is over. This behavior may be different for captive birds kept in cages, lofts, or coops, as they have no other choice but to stay in their designated space.

Where do pigeons sleep?

Pigeons will sleep in any convenient place, seeking out niches and crannies for shelter. While urban pigeons prefer man-made structures, rural pigeons will roost in trees. Contrary to popular belief, pigeons do not sleep in their nests, only using them for mating and raising offspring.

They tend to sleep on high ground to avoid nocturnal predators but may settle for lower ground if necessary, though they won’t feel as safe. Wood pigeons will tuck themselves in the angle of a trunk and branch, seeking shelter and residual heat from the wood.

When Do Pigeons Fall Asleep?

Pigeons fall asleep in dark environments, regardless of whether it’s day or night. They may appear to be fast asleep during the day, but their sleep is not as deep as it is at night. Like humans, pigeons also take naps, but these are not as complete as their nighttime sleep.

So, while it may seem like pigeons are sound asleep during daylight hours, they can easily awaken. Therefore, pigeons can fall asleep during the day if they are in a dark environment, such as a dark room.

What Position Do Pigeons Sleep In?

Pigeons typically sleep on their side with their head tucked under their wing. They may also sleep on one leg with the other leg tucked up against their body, which helps keep them warm as they lack feathers on their legs.

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Sleeping with their head tucked under their wing not only helps protect their delicate eyes from the bright sun but also helps to keep their head warm. These sleeping positions are unique to pigeons and serve practical purposes in helping them stay warm and protected while they rest.

How Much Time Do Pigeons Spend Sleeping?

Pigeons spend a significant amount of time sleeping, typically 8 to 12 hours a night. Once they find a suitable resting place and it gets dark, pigeons quickly fall asleep and will continue to rest as long as it stays dark.

If they are seen awake at night, it is usually due to being awoken by noise or seeing a light, causing them to believe it’s morning. This indicates that pigeons are quite sensitive to light and sound, and their sleeping patterns are heavily influenced by the presence or absence of light.

Do Pigeons Sleep In Stages Like Humans?

Yes, pigeons sleep in stages just like humans. They go through a deeper slow-wave sleep (SWS) phase and a rapid eye movement (REM) phase, similar to humans. Research has found that if pigeons miss their daytime nap, they will sleep deeper than usual at night, making up for any lost sleep.

Like humans, they also go through a REM stage, which is a lighter sleep phase where their eyes are closed and they are easier to wake up. Therefore, it can be concluded that pigeons, like humans, experience sleep in two distinct phases and have a similar sleep pattern.

Factors That Affect Pigeon Sleep

Just like humans, pigeons can be affected by external factors that disrupt or influence their sleep patterns. Some of the factors that have been found to affect pigeon sleep include environmental noise, light pollution, and temperature.

1. Environmental Factors:

  • The environment in which a pigeon sleeps can greatly affect the quality and duration of their sleep.
  • Noisy and brightly lit environments can disrupt a pigeon’s sleep, whereas quiet and dark environments can promote peaceful sleep.

2. Diet and Exercise:

  • Diet and exercise play a crucial role in a pigeon’s sleep.
  • Pigeons need a balanced diet providing necessary nutrients for good health.
  • A diet deficient in certain nutrients can affect a pigeon’s sleep quality.
  • Regular exercise is important for maintaining good health and promoting sleep.
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3. Personal Observations and Insights:

  • As a rescued pigeon owner, providing a comfortable and safe sleep environment, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can help maintain a good sleep routine for your pigeon.
  • Observing your pigeon’s sleep behavior can provide valuable insights into their overall health and well-being.


Do Pigeons Sleep With Their Eyes Open Or Closed?

Pigeons sleep with their eyes closed.

How Long Do Pigeons Sleep For?

Pigeons sleep for around 8 hours every day.

Are Pigeons At Risk Of Nocturnal Mammalian Ground Predators?

Pigeons are at risk of predation from nocturnal mammals while on the ground.

How Do You Recognize A Sleeping Pigeon?

A sleeping pigeon will typically be still and have its eyes closed and its head tucked.

Do Pigeons Have Poor Night Vision?

Pigeons have good vision during the day but poor vision when it is completely dark (at night time).

Can Pigeons Sleeping Be Disturbed?

Pigeons can be disturbed while sleeping, but it’s not recommended to do so as it can cause stress for the bird. Loud noise can disturb pigeons sleeping as it can startle them and cause them to wake up or flee their roosting or nesting area.

Do Pigeons Sleep On Skyscraper Buildings?

Pigeons often roost or nest on skyscraper buildings and other tall structures.

Do Pigeons Sleep On The Ground?

Pigeons may sleep on the ground, but they are more likely to sleep in a roosting or nesting area (in a safe shelter).

Is Sleep Deprivation A Thing For Pigeons?

Sleep deprivation can have negative impacts on a pigeon’s physical and mental well-being, similar to humans.

Do Pigeons Go To Sleep When The Sun Sets And Wake Up When The Sun Rises?

Pigeons are diurnal birds, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. However, the exact timing of when they go to sleep and wake up may vary depending on factors such as season, weather, and location.

Where Do Pigeons Fall Asleep?

Pigeons typically fall asleep in their roosting areas, which can include ledges on buildings, bridges, and other structures. They may also seek out natural roosting areas such as trees or caves when in the wild.

How Long Do Pigeons Sleep For?

Pigeons sleep for short periods throughout the day, with longer periods of deep sleep during nighttime. Studies have shown that pigeons spend about 12% of their daytime sleeping, with shorter periods of sleep closer together, compared to longer periods of deep sleep at night.

Do Pigeons Sleep In Phases Like Humans?

Pigeons do not sleep in distinct phases as humans do, but they do have periods of rest throughout the day.

Do Pigeons Sleep At Night?

Yes, pigeons sleep at night. They spend most of their deep sleep during the night and have shorter bouts of daytime sleep.

Do Pigeons Fly At Night?

Pigeons, like many other birds, are diurnal animals, which means that they are active during the day and sleep at night. However, there may be exceptions for nesting birds.

What Are The Plausible Dangers Of Pigeons Flying At Night?

Flying at night can increase the risk of collision with man-made objects and predation from nocturnal mammals.

Why Might A Pigeon Fly At Night?

It is not typical for pigeons to fly at night as they are diurnal birds and need proper sleep.

Are Pigeons Half Asleep And Half Awake When They Stand On One Leg At Night?

Pigeons can stand on one leg while resting, but they are not half asleep and half awake.

How Much Time Do Pigeons Spend Sleeping?

Pigeons spend around 75% of their time sleeping, with the majority of their sleep taking place during the daytime.

Are Pigeons Diurnal Birds?

Yes, pigeons are diurnal birds.


While pigeons may not sleep in the same way humans do, their unique sleeping habits and adaptations are truly fascinating. From their ability to sleep with one eye open to their communal roosting behavior, pigeons have found creative ways to ensure their survival in urban environments.

So, the next time you see a pigeon peacefully perched on a ledge, take a moment to appreciate the remarkable ways in which they rest and rejuvenate. Sweet dreams, little pigeons!

Kathy Gonzales

I'm an author of I have kept pigeons as pets for over 20 years and have written several articles. Here in this blog, I cover topics such as how to care for pigeons, what to feed them, and how to keep them healthy.