Juvenile Dark-necked Tailorbird sleeps with one eye closed

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 0

After reading the earlier post on birds sleeping with one eye closed, Forest Ang sent in his image of the Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) taken on 18th April 2010 at 8.30 am in Kedah, Malaysia to illustrate the point (below left). Note that the right eye is closed, with the eyelid drawn up. The left eye is wide open.

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Forest and his friends had arrived at a campsite along the edge of Pedu Lake on the evening of 17th April. There was a dead bird in the water whose identity they could not then determine (above right). Note that the eye is covered with the nictitating membrane.

“The next morning, while still lazing in the tent, the deep chirping calls of tailorbirds woke us,” recounts Forest. “I noticed that this particular tailorbird did not move at all while another was calling further inside the forest. It was then that we realised it was a juvenile. It would make noisy calls to its parent (only one adult) and then stop to rest before making calls again. We went up close and took pictures, sometime just a foot away from the bird. I presumed these birds were still too weak to fly. The dead baby could have drowned.”

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