Polly wan UV!

by Olivia LaRosa, January 11, 2014

Budgies, cockatiels, and other tropical birds will not thrive indoors unless provided with sunlight or its equivalent many hours per day. They need much more light than humans.

The Family - Pinky, Pia, and Chickie
The Family – Pinky, Pia, and Chickie: Pinky and Pia are girls, Chickie is a boy

Unless your birds live outdoors, therefore, the amount of light they receive requires daily supplementation and regulation.


Any lamp that holds a UV bulb will do. No need to spring for the extra cost of fancy lamps unless you wish to do so. Try to find a lamp with a flexible neck. UV-A light is preferred. UV-B light should be used only when prescribed by an avian veterinarian.


If you live in the same room with your birds, first make sure that the light schedule suits your own needs. I am able to tolerate the extra light for 12 hours a day.

Therefore, my three budgies are able to expose themselves to UV light from 10AM to 10PM. The lamp is plugged into a simple timer that turns it on and shuts it off. Their cage is partially covered with a blanket.

I tilt the lamp away from my workspace because I am intolerant of overhead light. Make any adjustments to the light regime that suit you.


The blanket serves many purposes, but here it allows them to sit in the sunshine or the shade, as they may desire, during the 12-hour period that the lamp is lit.

Chickie, Holly, Pinky, and Pia
Chickie, Holly, Pinky, and Pia


Budgies are not predator birds. They are prey. Therefore, the senses most important to them are keen eyesight and fast reflexes. Budgies see into the ultraviolet range. This is the equivalent of the dog’s higher hearing range; why they can hear a dogwhistle, and humans cannot.

Similarly, budgies can see into higher light ranges than can humans. Budgies use their keen vision to determine whether the food they may eat is healthy. They also judge the health of their flockmates by the iridescence of their feathers. I can see it myself when they are healthy because their feathers appear smooth and shiny.

Because budgies are prey, they hide signs of illness until their defenses are overcome. It is important to act immediately when they appear droopy, ruffled or withdrawn for more than a day. Signs of diarrhea should send you to the vet right away.

1.Mickaboo Bird Rescue on avian lighting.
2. Inexpensive source for bird lighting. http://www.petmountain.com/category/406/1/bird-lighting.html
3. Midrange source for bird lighting.
Drs. Foster and Smith, Medium-priced and reliable source for avian lighting and other bird supplies.

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