when do birds sleep at night

Where Do Birds Sleep at Night?

when do birds sleep at night

How Do Sleeping Birds Stay Warm?

when do birds sleep at night

If you’ve ever seen an owl, you may be aware that certain birds are primarily nocturnal flyers. Owls and nighthawks are examples of nocturnal birds that rise as the sun sets and hunt at night. They locate a secure spot during the day and close their eyes to block out the light. In contrast, the majority of birds are diurnal, which means they sleep at night and are awake during the day. These species will locate a branch or a windowsill to spend the night perched on. The bird will then turn its head, tuck its beak into its back feathers, fluff out its down feathers, and pull one leg up to its belly before dozing off. Sounds uncomfortable, right?.

Some people are able to sleep with one eye open because they have half of their brains awake and the other half asleep. This type of sleep is known as unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS), and it enables the dozing bird to adequately rest in the absence of a threat while still being able to act swiftly when one does. Waterfowl and ducks are especially skilled at this, though other birds like Eurasian Blackbirds and Peregrine Falcons can also do it. It’s possible that animals with this adaptation can even fall asleep while in the air!

Not all birds sleep on branches however. Waterfowl and shorebirds sleep near the water. Ducks, like birds perched on perches, frequently stand at the edge of the water or on a partially submerged stick or rock and tuck one foot into their body. Birds settle down for a nap wherever they can find firm ground. There are records of Chimney Swifts dozing off while clinging to chimney interiors!

Actually, it’s quite warm for the snoozing bird. Heat is retained by down feathers, the short, fluffy feathers beneath the sleek outer feathers. As the temperature drops for the night, the bird’s exposed parts—its legs and beak—are tucked in under a thick layer of feathers to stay warm.

Migrating birds may also rely on USWS to rest. The long migration flights of many species don’t allow for many chances to stop and rest. But a bird using USWS could both sleep and navigate at the same time. There is evidence that the Alpine Swift can fly non-stop for 200 days, sleeping while in flight!