UV light bulbs for birds – Getting the right bulb

Regardless of the age, the breed, or size of your bird they will all benefit in many ways when offered UV light bulb for birds. Getting the right UV light is essential and I am going to walk you through the types and the benefits of using them. UV light bulbs for birds Bird comes in different shapes and sizes; it is not critical which one you choose but it is important to get the right one for your set up.

I am going to explain the importance of UVA and UVB properties for bird health and then provide advice on whether to choose a tube like bulb or an E27 screw traditional style bulb – this will all be dependent on the location of your bird, the size and type of cage. I’ll then move onto the length of time a bulb should be on each day for your bird and why, plus how frequently your bulb should be replaced.

The importance of the right bird light bulb

Broad spectrum: this means that a bulb will give out both UVA and UVB . The UVA
 is sometimes overlooked when buying a bulb. UVA light is for visual spectrum; this is where birds get their colour vision. Birds kept indoors are blind to most colours; the UVA light can help with your bird’s well being along with feather plucking and mood swings. The right percentage of UVA in a bulb is very important.

The UVB spectrum helps the production of vitamin D which aides nutrient absorption and bio-assimilation. All birds have a uropygial gland above the base of the tail. This gland secretes oil and as your bird grooms the bird spreads this oil over their feathers. Vitamin D also promotes vitamin D3; without vitamin D3 there will be a lack of calcium in the blood which will then affect bone density as well as calcium needed for egg production.

The recommended output of light are those that have a sunlight of 12% of the total light emitted (UVA) and 2.4% to 5% (UVB).

Full spectrum light bulbs for birds – The two most common typesUV bulb

Standard screw cap bird lamps come with an E27 screw type fitting. This bulb is quite universal as it can be converted to be used in a standard bayonet desk top lamp with products on the market for very little money. The standard screw cap comes with an E27 holder that has a clip type arm so you can connect it directly to the cage or on a table, or even the back of a chair positioned exactly where you want it around the cage (remembering to ensure your bird can come and go freely). All UV light bulbs for birds need renewing at regular intervals (see below) this type of lighting normally is cheaper than it’s fluorescent counterparts so you  will tend to save money over the years. However, the standard screw cap is not as user-friendly in most cases as a fluorescent tube lamp.

Fluorescent Tube Lamps
still contain special UV phosphors. They tend to be used with a light stand against the cage which is far safer as the wires are in the tube of the stand, or the tubes can be placed in cage light holders making them practical for aviaries. One downside is that they tend to be more expensive than their E27 screw bulb counterparts and can be bigger which impacts on a small room in the home.

Placement of your birds lamps

The ideal positioning for your light will depend on many factors; the size of your cage and how strong your bulbs’ output and which type of light you buy. It is important to bear in mind that the light and it’s holder are large objects and are brighter than your average house lights, so it is best practice to introduce a new bulb slowly to avoid causing stress to your bird. Placing your light too close to the cage will increase the light levels and the UVA and UVB. Moving your light say 2 feet away from your cage will decrease the brightness around 4 times.The main thing to remember is wherever you place your light it’s essential that your bird can come and go freely.

Daily lighting times for your bird lamps

There is much controversy among professionals as to how long any of the lights should be used every day. So we must revert to the science study into this subject. The conclusion after tests states that a maximum of 5 hours per day under a UV lamp. Any longer and over time can cause retina burning.

How often to renew a UV fluorescent or bulb

The recommended time to replace your light is no longer than after a twelve month period. Over time, the UVA and UVB in a bulb depletes and the flicker fusion frequency increases. Birds have a flicker fusion threshold that is higher than 80HZ and can go well above 100HZ compared to people which ranges from 50-75HZ; this means that people will not be able to see a deteriorating bulb, whereas birds can. As a bird light deteriorates the flicker fusion increases just like household lights which have a default flicker at a frequency of 100-120HZ, so anything above this frequency we can’t see. Leaving your light too long before you change it will not be a pleasant experience for your bird.

All in all, what type of bulb you choose depends very much on your set up but there are some key essentials to maximise the overall benefits of using UV lights for your birds on a daily basis.

Avian lighting – Two most popular

Arcadia FBC20x compact – versus – Lucky Herp compact In this section I am going to compare the two most frequently bought E27 compact avian lighting bulbs from an online survey. This does not necessarily mean the Arcadia FBC compact and the Lucky Herp compact UV light bulbs are the best on the market, it … Read more Avian lighting – Two most popular

Avian lighting – Some of the favourites

UV bulb replacement lamps

In this section i am going to list the most popular avian lighting in no particular order. When purchasing your bird light bulbs don’t just go on the price as some of these bulbs seem a lot cheaper when you look than others and this could be just down to there popularity in Europe.

One thing to remember birds do not need much UV light to support their full vision. Natural sunlight has no more than 5% total UVB content so any bulb UVB output between 2.4% – 5% is fine.


  • Zoo med AS – c5- compact 5% 26 watt
  • Lucky Herp – Compact lamp 2.4% 20 watt
  • Arcadia FBC20x – Compact 2.4% – 20 watt
  • Trixie Vogellampe – Compact 2.6% – 23 watt
  • Lucky Herp – Compact lamp 2.4% 20 watt
  • Arcadia pro – fluorescent 2.4% – 24 watt [ For large aviarys only UVA 30% ]
  • Bird system T8 – Fluorescent tube 2.4% – 58 watt
  • Featherbrite UV bulb – 0.4% – 1.5 watt
  • Arcadia bird fluorescent tube 2.4% – 8 watt
  • Allcloo bird bulb 2.4% – 20 watt

Click the red links above to find where to buy  the right bulb for your birds.


As you can see above a list of bird bulbs that are readily available to buy on line. As in most cases we all have are favourite and i am no exception as i sell one of the above bulbs in my pet shop and on line website. All the above bulbs will do the job needed for your birds health only you can decide which bulb will suit your birds home. If you need any advice on any of these UV bird bulbs do not hesitate to send me a message in the comments box below and i will reply as soon as possible.