Nocturnal Activity of Nesting Shrubland and Grassland Passerines

Christy M. Slay, Kevin S. Ellison, Christine A. Ribic, Kimberly G. Smith and Carolyn M. Schmitz

in Video Surveillance of Nesting Birds

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780520273139
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520954090 | DOI:
Nocturnal Activity of Nesting Shrubland and Grassland Passerines

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Nocturnal activity of nesting passerines is largely undocumented in field situations. We used video recordings to quantifysleep patterns of four shrubland and three grassland bird species during the nestling period. All species exhibited “back sleep” (bill tucked under scapular feathers); individuals woke frequently for vigils of their surroundings. Sleep-bout duration varied from 6 minutes (grasshopper sparrow) to 28 minutes(blue-winged warbler, field sparrow).Duration on nest varied from 6.4 hours(field sparrow) to 8.8 hours(indigo bunting). Adults woke 20–30 minutesbefore sunrise. First morning absence from the nest was short;nestlings were fed within 12 minutesof a parent’s departure. Further research is needed to understand energetic costs of sleep and behavioral adaptations to environmental pressures.

Keywords: back sleep; grassland bird; nocturnal; recordings; shrubland bird; sleep; video camera; vigils

Chapter.  6694 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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