Standing on cold ground: how do birds keep warm?

How do birds manage to stand on cold ground, especially ice, and still keep themselves warm?

Birds in the coldest regions, with ice and snow, still manage to stand for long periods of time on the cold ground.

Birds in arctic and polar regions are adapted physically to extreme temperatures.

Birds fluff up their feathers to trap warm air against their bodies to provide more insulation against the cold temperatures. They will also tuck their beak under their wing feathers where the trapped air is warmest enabling them to breathe in warm air.

Birds also have blood vessels in their feet that warm up the blood traveling from their feet to the upper parts of their body. This help birds not to lose too much warmth. 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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