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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Do birds sleep?

Do birds sleep?

Yes, birds do sleep. Like all warm-blooded animals, they sleep when they are tired and full of food. After all, most birds cannot see well at night. Only a few, like the owls, have large eyes specially adapted for night vision. When they sleep their toes automatically lock tight, thus preventing them from falling while asleep. The above image of the Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) snug in its nest, was taken by Cheong Weng Chun at night. Although it shows the back view, I am sure the bird was fast asleep. Many species like mynas, crows, starlings, Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) and Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) (above) come together in the evening before dusk to roost on the branches of certain trees. During this period they generate much noise as they squabble over their favourite perch before settling down for the night. Although asleep, these birds are alert and will suddenly move off amidst much noise if disturbed. Early next morning, just before dawn, they wake up, yawn, stretch, refreshed but hungry. Then off they fly to forage.

Hole nesters like woodpeckers usually sleep in tree cavities. Ground nesters sleep on or near the ground.

Obviously nocturnal birds like owls and nightjars sleep during the day.

And many birds "talk" in their sleep and some even sing on moonlit nights.

Input by YC, image above by Cheong Weng Chun, below by YC.



At 9:53 pm, Blogger Ivan said...

Looking at the 2nd picture with the sleeping swallows, I'm suddenly struck by the fact that if I were a nocturnal predator, this would be an excellent opportunity. I suppose small birds will tend to choose the thinnest branches to perch on, with the thickest vegetation to sleep in.

At 11:07 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

" Birds talk, and sing in their sleep" ??? well I have to tell my wife that, that she is not the only one having these strange behavoirial characteristics .....

At 4:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dee... i think the birds in my neighborhood really take some type of nodose or something casue they only seem to be quiet for @ 2 hrs usually between the hours of 9pm and 1130 pm from then on they seem to stay right outside my window and wait for me to try to get a goodnights rest and decide they need to talk to some other birds in the next county. I've even tried to see how close they are, to no avail i can never see them only hear them. As the night goes on so does there noise, louder and louder!!!

At 1:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true that some birds lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species? Why? Is it true that some nesting birds will abandon their own eggs or hatchlings to tend to the intruder birds? I heard something about this the other day and I'm wondering if it's just an old tale.

At 4:19 pm, Blogger YC said...

Please visit or simply type "brood parasitism" in to know more about the subject.


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