Manipulating daytime sleep in herring gulls (Larus argentatus)

James P. Shaffery, Nigel J. Ball, Charles J. Amlaner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The regular provision of a sufficient quantity of food on the territory of pairs of breeding herring gulls led to an increase in the time individuals spent on the territory during the day, relative to controls. This 'extra' time was not used to increase overall sleeping time, as predicted. Instead, the experimental gulls reduced their overall sleep time due to a decline in front-sleep. Back-sleep remained relatively unaffected, with both groups spending similar amounts of time in this posture. The consequences of the two postural types of sleep were examined with respect to the cost of allowing intruders to remain on an owner's territory. Intruders arrived more often on control territories and stayed longer when only one pair member was present. Intruders were seen on control territories for more consecutive scans when the solitary control gull was in a sleep posture, particularly front-sleep. It is concluded that these results imply a difference in the consequences resulting from the two sleep postures and give additional support for the multiple function hypothesis of sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-572
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1985


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