Search

Do birds sleep?

on 25th November 2006

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.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

2 responses

  1. 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.

  2. ” 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 …..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories
Archives

Overall visits (since 2005)

Clustrmaps (since 2016)