Thermoregulatory postures limit antipredator responses in peafowl

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Abstract

Many animals inhabit environments where they experience temperature fluctuations. One way in which animals can adjust to these temperature changes is through behavioral thermoregulation. However, we know little about the thermal benefits of postural changes and the costs they may incur. In this study, we examined the thermoregulatory role of two postures, the head-tuck and leg-tuck posture, in peafowl (Pavo cristatus) and evaluated whether the headtuck posture imposes a predation cost. The heads and legs of peafowl are significantly warmer when the birds exhibit these postures, demonstrating that these postures serve an important thermoregulatory role. In addition, the birds are slower to respond to an approaching threat when they display the head-tuck posture, suggesting that a thermoregulatory posture can limit antipredator behavior.

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Yorzinski, J. L., Lam, J., Schultz, R., & Davis, M. (2018). Thermoregulatory postures limit antipredator responses in peafowl. Biology Open, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1242/bio.031005

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