Artificial light pollution increases nocturnal vigilance in peahens. Academic Article uri icon


  • Artificial light pollution is drastically changing the sensory environments of animals. Even though many animals are now living in these changed environments, the effect light pollution has on animal behavior is poorly understood. We investigated the effect of light pollution on nocturnal vigilance in peahens (Pavo cristatus). Captive peahens were exposed to either artificial lighting or natural lighting at night. We employed a novel method to record their vigilance behavior by attaching accelerometers to their heads and continuously monitoring their large head movements. We found that light pollution significantly increases nocturnal vigilance in peahens. Furthermore, the birds faced a trade-off between vigilance and sleep at night: peahens that were more vigilant spent less time sleeping. Given the choice, peahens preferred to roost away from high levels of artificial lighting but showed no preference for roosting without artificial lighting or with low levels of artificial lighting. Our study demonstrates that light pollution can have a substantial impact on animal behavior that can potentially result in fitness consequences.

published proceedings

  • PeerJ

altmetric score

  • 5.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Yorzinski, J. L., Chisholm, S., Byerley, S. D., Coy, J. R., Aziz, A., Wolf, J. A., & Gnerlich, A. C

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Yorzinski, Jessica L||Chisholm, Sarah||Byerley, Sydney D||Coy, Jeanee R||Aziz, Aisyah||Wolf, Jamie A||Gnerlich, Amanda C

publication date

  • August 2015


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