Why don’t sleeping birds fall off their perches?

Why don’t sleeping birds fall off their perches

Everyone of us mostly have experienced falling off when sitting erect yet sleeping. Though it appears really funny, but at the same time its nothing quite unusual. Often when sleeping in an erect posture (i.e. while sitting on a bed or chair), we humans tend to fall off easily if we suddenly doze off.

But, apart from human beings, what’s interesting is that birds are the only living beings who sleep while sitting on the branches, and still don’t fall off!

Curious?! Come lets find out!


Beds On Trees

Tree branches is the most comfortable and cosy bed a bird could ever wish for. The height of the branch is what provides additional safety to the bird, as it easily dozes off on it while feeling completely secure and sound.

For us though sleeping on a branch would require utmost courage and equal balance, the bird however never falls down asleep from the branch of a tree because its toes automatically locks itself on the branch, resulting in a tight grip of the branch. And so a bird never falls down from it.

Sleeping  With Open Eyes

It is really amusing to note that the birds usually don’t sleep with their eyes completely closed, like most other living beings. Instead, one of its eyes remains half open, so that the bird stays alert of its circumstances and surroundings, and the minute it senses danger, it wakes up and ensures security.

What’s more, with one eye open, and half brain alert, the other half of the brain safely falls asleep and rests in the meantime!

Feather Work

Apart from its utility while flying, the feathers of the birds help to make the bird cosy, comfortable and keep warm while they doze off to sleep. Birds like to fluff up their feathers to provide the necessary comfort while at rest.

Is it not relatable to us humans using soft blankets at night while we sleep!?

Balance And Foot Work

Balance is an important aspect of staying at an erect position for a long time.

So does the birds display immense strength of staying balanced while they are perched on the branch and goes off to sleep. This is done by them by using their extraordinary foot-locking mechanism.

When the bird begins to perch down on the branch of a tree, its body bends down as well as their legs. The bent limbs then brings down along with it all the connected muscles and tended, which automatically results them into forming a inter-locking posture.

The toes get curled up, and lock themselves tightly on the surface of the branch. As long as the bird perches down and the limbs stay bent, the inter-locked position remains and the bird does not fall easily off the branch.

Curly Toes

Most commonly birds have claw-like toes, which come in a pair. This pair of toes face on different sides, on forward and the other backward. Thus, the ability to perch and clasp on to the branch is possible in birds because of this very style of toes they have.


  • Elephants and horses are some other animals that can easily go off to sleep while standing erect!
  • The birds usually love sleeping in a group. That’s the prove of their community bonding!

Related Questions:

  1. How does the horse stay erect while sleeping?
  2. How does a bird balance its nest on a branch of tree?
  3. Which bird can go off to sleep, even when flying?

Objective Questions:

  • Birds sleep with one ______ open.
  • Toes of the bird clasp the tree branch in an _______ manner.
  • ________ on a bird help to keep warm and cosy when they sleep.
  • Birds have oppositely directed ______.
  • _______ is the most commonly opted place of rest for a bird.

True Or False:

  1. Birds often fall off from branches when asleep: ______
  2. Birds sleep completely unaware of their surroundings: ________
  3. Sleeping in a group is a common aspect of birds: ______
  4. Feathers on a bird help to keep balance while perched on a tree: ______
  5. Birds build nests on the branches of the tree: _______

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