Night Hawk

Going on a LATE NIGHT Taco Bell run? Get me a crunchwrap supreme!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science… saying

Maybe your spirit animal is a letter-winged kite hawk? They LOVE a delicious midnight snack! But even their closest relatives don’t work the night shift. Why are THEY up SO late? 

Enter Aubrey Keirnan and colleagues from Flinders University in Australia. To understand how this species of birds can see, they created 3D models of their skulls. Then they compared the letter-winged kite’s skull to its day shift kite hawk relatives. 

Results? They found NO bone structure differences between kite hawk bone species. However, ALL species of kite hawks have eye structures typical of nocturnal birds! This suggests ONLY letter-winged kites have REALIZED they can hunt better at night! 

This surprising finding is a LOOK at nature’s adaptation! Species can adapt their behavior without any structural changes! Maybe other kite hawks will transition to the night shift! 

I wish this meant I could EASILY switch from a night owl to an early bird! Yawn.

Reference: Keirnan, A., Worthy, T. H., Smaers, J. B., Mardon, K., Iwaniuk, A. N., & Weisbecker, V. (n.d.). Not like night and day: The nocturnal letter-winged kite does not differ from diurnal congeners in orbit or endocast morphology. Royal Society Open Science, 9(5), 220135.