birding-aus half awake birds

Subject: birding-aus half awake birds
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 11:08:23 +1000
Hi everyone,
was just reading an interesting article in Nature (397:397-398, 1999) 
which details the ability of birds to sleep with only half of their 
brain.  This sleep type (unihemispheric slow wave sleep or  USWS) is 
apparently also known in aquatic mammals where it allows them to 
sleep but still surface to breathe.  This paper suggests that birds 
can sleep with one eye open and with one hemisphere awake to look out 
for predators.  Also the likelihood of using this sleep pattern is 
significantly increased if a bird is in a high predation risk situation (in the 
paper they used ducks at the edge of a group).  So the conclusion is 
that birds can modulate the type of sleep depending on their 
situation with more REM sleep (which I guess gives better rest) if 
the bird is not in a high risk predation situation.
Just thought people might find this interesting as I did.
Best Wishes
John Boyce
To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • birding-aus half awake birds, John . Boyce <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU