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Sleep in the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Animal Behaviour (1981)
  • Charles J. Amlaner, Kennesaw State University
  • David J. McFarland, University of Oxford

Sleep postures and eye state of free-ranging herring gulls (Larus argentatus) were studied during the breeding season. Three mutually exclusive behaviours were observed, namely sleep, rest-sleep and rest postures. Arousal thresholds, eye blink rates and eye closure time were obtained during these behaviours. Significant relationships existed between eye blinking, eye closure, and a raised threshold of arousal when birds were in the sleep and rest-sleep postures. During a natural disturbance, birds in the sleep posture remained in this posture but did not blink their eyes: this is called pseudo sleep. Male gulls also exhibited a lower threshold of arousal while in the sleep posture compared with females. We conclude that rhythmic eye blinking is a good indication of sleep in herring gulls.

Publication Date
May, 1981
Citation Information
Charles J. Amlaner and David J. McFarland. "Sleep in the Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)" Animal Behaviour Vol. 29 Iss. 2 (1981)
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