Superb fairywrens have a pretty superb magic trick.
They can switch to energy-saving mode when food is in short supply.
A study from Western Sydney University shows superb fairy-wrens allow their body temperature to drop when roosting at night to conserve energy.
The study is the first evidence that perching birds employ torpor, a state where an animal dials down the amount of energy going into maintaining their body temperature.
Because birds need to stay small and light to fly and escape predators, they cannot put on layers of fat to prepare for the winter season when food is harder to find.
Dr Christopher Turbill said superb fairy-wrens benefit even in Australia’s mild climate, powering down their energy needs by up to 22 percent at night-time.
“When roosting during the night, the bird can reduce its demand for energy by turning down its internal thermostat – reducing its core body temperature by nearly 15 degrees Celsius,” he said.
Support more im-peck-able research by signing the petition to protect funding to our universities below.