Behavioral Thermoregulation

Brandt's Cormorants, Phalacrocorax penicillatus, taking advantage of coastal morning sunlight. Cormorants and other birds, such a as vultures, orient their spread wings to the incoming sun. This allows the bird to capture heat, which is circulated from the wings to the rest of the body. These birds dive in cold water to feed on crabs and other marine life; by using solar energy for heat, they reduce the metabolic energy used to regulate their body temperature.

Many animals engage in this sort of behavioral thermoregulation. Examples include basking lizards and snakes, bees and butterflies which may pause on flowers to absorb heat, and mammals, such as house cats.

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