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 Resting and roosting

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kosovohp
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PostSubject: Resting and roosting   Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:52 pm

The high metabolic rates of birds during the active part of the day is supplemented by rest at other times. Sleeping birds often use a type of sleep known as vigilant sleep, where periods of rest are interspersed with quick eye-opening 'peeks', allowing them to be sensitive to disturbances and enable rapid escape from threats.[126] Swifts are believed to be able to sleep in flight and radar observations suggest that they orient themselves to face the wind in their roosting flight.[127] It has been suggested that there may be certain kinds of sleep which are possible even when in flight.[128] Some birds have also demonstrated the capacity to fall into slow-wave sleep one hemisphere of the brain at a time. The birds tend to exercise this ability depending upon its position relative to the outside of the flock. This may allow the eye opposite the sleeping hemisphere to remain vigilant for predators by viewing the outer margins of the flock. This adaptation is also known from marine mammals.[129] Communal roosting is common because it lowers the loss of body heat and decreases the risks associated with predators.[130] Roosting sites are often chosen with regard to thermoregulation and safety.[131]

Many sleeping birds bend their heads over their backs and tuck their bills in their back feathers, although others place their beaks among their breast feathers. Many birds rest on one leg, while some may pull up their legs into their feathers, especially in cold weather. Perching birds have a tendon locking mechanism that helps them hold on to the perch when they are asleep. Many ground birds, such as quails and pheasants, roost in trees. A few parrots of the genus Loriculus roost hanging upside down.[132] Some hummingbirds go into a nightly state of torpor accompanied with a reduction of their metabolic rates.[133] This physiological adaptation shows in nearly a hundred other species, including owlet-nightjars, nightjars, and woodswallows. One species, the Common Poorwill, even enters a state of hibernation.[134] Birds do not have sweat glands, but they may cool themselves by moving to shade, standing in water, panting, increasing their surface area, fluttering their throat or by using special behaviours like urohidrosis to cool themselves.

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