Four awesome facts about nocturnal birds

Four awesome facts about nocturnal birds

It is Stay Up All Night Night tonight and we are honoring it by looking at nocturnal birds and four awesome facts that make them so special.

Great eyesight

Nocturnal animals have really good eyesight. They need it for hunting in the dark. To collect the greatest possible amount of light, their eyes are huge; in fact, owls’ eyes are so large they cannot rotate them in their socket. Nocturnal birds also have something called a tapetum in their retina, an extra layer that acts as a flashlight, reflecting any light that passes through the eye, helping them see better.

Great hearing

Just because you can’t see a nocturnal bird, doesn’t mean it doesn’t know where you are! That is because many nocturnal birds hear their prey long before they see it. They owe their incredible hearing to their offset ears, and many species’ ears are also asymmetrical. Barn owls can, for example, find prey hidden under several layers of leaves and snow.

Now you see me, now you don't

Another thing that sets nocturnal birds apart from diurnal ones is their plumage. To blend into the darkness of the night, their feathers need to be much more understated. They are commonly black, brown or grey, and have dark patterned feathers that help them blend in during the daytime when they sleep, as many do so in the open, like the potoo that is rendered near invisible thanks to its plumage.

Super stealth

Moving around and especially hunting at night time also requires nocturnal birds to be super stealthy. The champions of stealth are undoubtedly nightjars! These birds have a reputation of being completely silent when flying. Interestingly enough, they are also known under the name “goatsucker” because it was thought they would creep into barns, and steal milk from goats. This is, of course, false; they did, however, visit them for the yummy insects.

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Four awesome facts about nocturnal birds

Four awesome facts about nocturnal birds

Four awesome facts about nocturnal birds

Four awesome facts about nocturnal birds

It is Stay Up All Night Night tonight and we are honoring it by looking at nocturnal birds and four awesome facts that make them so special.

Great eyesight

Nocturnal animals have really good eyesight. They need it for hunting in the dark. To collect the greatest possible amount of light, their eyes are huge; in fact, owls’ eyes are so large they cannot rotate them in their socket. Nocturnal birds also have something called a tapetum in their retina, an extra layer that acts as a flashlight, reflecting any light that passes through the eye, helping them see better.

Great hearing

Just because you can’t see a nocturnal bird, doesn’t mean it doesn’t know where you are! That is because many nocturnal birds hear their prey long before they see it. They owe their incredible hearing to their offset ears, and many species’ ears are also asymmetrical. Barn owls can, for example, find prey hidden under several layers of leaves and snow.

Now you see me, now you don't

Another thing that sets nocturnal birds apart from diurnal ones is their plumage. To blend into the darkness of the night, their feathers need to be much more understated. They are commonly black, brown or grey, and have dark patterned feathers that help them blend in during the daytime when they sleep, as many do so in the open, like the potoo that is rendered near invisible thanks to its plumage.

Super stealth

Moving around and especially hunting at night time also requires nocturnal birds to be super stealthy. The champions of stealth are undoubtedly nightjars! These birds have a reputation of being completely silent when flying. Interestingly enough, they are also known under the name “goatsucker” because it was thought they would creep into barns, and steal milk from goats. This is, of course, false; they did, however, visit them for the yummy insects.

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