Without a doubt one of the most important items you can buy for your pet bird or Parrot is an ultra violet (UV) bird light. The correct levels of UV light are widely known to provide a range of health benefits.
Even in the middle of summer, where levels of UV are generally at their highest, it doesn’t actually mean your Parrot is benefiting.
There may be lots of sunlight passing through windows, however, glass actually blocks out the beneficial UV rays pet birds and Parrots need.
All species of pet birds and Parrot benefit from UV light and it is so crucial to their wellbeing.
Thankfully there are a number of highly efficient and readily available products on the market that you can offer your Parrot. Trusted and well researched brands include Arcadia and ZooMed who both offer specially coated fluorescent tube lights and compact bird lamps which provide the correct balance of UVA and UVB. There’s also a variety of fittings, including reflectors to help increase the output.
What is UVA and UVB light?
Put simply UV light is part of the invisible spectrum of light that the sun emits every day. UVA is the longest of the ultra violet lights and accounts for 95% of radiation from the sun.
UVB light isn’t as intense as UVA and doesn’t pass through windows or other pieces of glass.
Although your Parrot could be outside in the sunlight in a wire cage or aviary with you as you spend time in the garden together, such time is limited. Thus the need for artificial balanced UV lighting is essential.
Normal domestic indoor and outdoor lights don’t emit any UVA or UVB meaning your Parrot won’t get any UV by sitting under these.
What are the benefits of UVA and UVB light?
UV improves your Parrot’s psychological health. It can help towards stopping destructive behaviours like feather plucking and it improves appetite, feather condition and overall health.
Unlike humans, Parrots can see the full spectrum of UVA light because they have specialised retinas to allow them to do so. This means without it they are effectively colour blind.
When seen under UV light colours are more pronounced. For examples reds appear redder and blues appear bluer, making any food and toys that are brightly coloured seem much more appealing to your bird.
Parrots use the extensive range of colours unlocked by UV light to identify their mates, find food and recognise different species. Their feathers reflect UV light and as plumage is a key factor to birds when choosing a mate, breeding is more successful when UV light is present.
UVB plays a very important role, it allows your Parrot to synthesise Vitamin D3 in their skin or through a special process involving the preening gland. Parrots need Vitamin D3 to metabolise calcium which they use to produce eggs, build and maintain strong bones and maintain normal growth. Calcium deficiency can have crippling and fatal effects.
Making the most of UV lights
UV bird lamps replicate natural sunlight, which is especially useful in the winter months when the hours of daylight and the opportunity to spend time outside are greatly reduced. But it is equally important during the warmer, sunnier months too; remember those essential UV rays don’t pass through glass windows.
The special coating on the bulbs degrades over time meaning they need replacing regularly,
Stands, holders and reflectors let you safely and securely place UV lights close to your bird’s cage, as well as ensuring the maximum amount of light shines towards your Parrot.