Andrea Ferretti



My main research interests lie in behavioral ecology and eco-physiology. My research focuses on physiological and behavioral strategies that individuals adopt to optimize energy management in challenging life-history stages (e.g. during development or migration) and in adverse environmental contexts. Particularly, I am interested in uncovering the role of sleep in energy conservation and whether it can be modulated in response to ecological and physiological variations in energy demand.

In my doctoral research at the Fusani Lab (University of Vienna), I investigated behavioral strategies adopted by migrating songbirds to manage energy reserves during stopover, with a particular focus on the impact of energy stores and predation risk on sleep. Through the integration of several techniques (behavioral analysis, thermal-imaging and respirometry), I demonstrated that songbirds modulate their sleep pattern and posture preference in accordance with the trade-off between energy consumption and predation risk. As a postdoc in the Avian Sleep Research Group, I will study if and how sleep is compatible with active locomotion in birds. Moreover, I will investigate whether the simultaneous occurrence of these behaviors is influenced by the variation in energy demand due to factors like growth, workload and environmental conditions.


2021 -

Postdoc, Avian Sleep Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany

2015 - 2020

PhD in Biology, Dep. Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna

2012 - 2014

MSc in Ecology and Evolution, with specialization in Behavioural Biology. Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara

2008 - 2012

BSc in Biology, with specialization in Behavioral Biology. Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara

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List of publications


Ferretti, A., Maggini, I., Cardinale, M., & Fusani, L., “Heat loss in sleeping Garden Warblers (Sylvia borin) during migration”, Journal of Thermal Biology                                            


Ferretti, A., McWilliams, S.R., Rattenborg, N.C., Maggini I., Cardinale, M., Fusani, L., “Physiological condition, oxidative balance and sleep in migratory Garden Warblers (Sylvia borin) and Whitethroats (Sylvia communis) at a spring stopover site”, Integrative Organismal Biology                           


Ferretti, A., Maggini, I, Lupi, S., Cardinale, M., Fusani, L., “The amount of available food affects diurnal locomotor activity in migratory songbirds during stopover”, Scientific Reports         


Ferretti, A., Rattenborg, N.C., Ruf, T., McWilliams, S.R., Cardinale, M., Fusani, L., “Sleeping unsafely tucked in: the sleep dilemma of nocturnal migratory songbirds”, Current Biology


Huber, N., Fusani, L., Ferretti, A., Mahr, K., & Canoine, V., “Measuring short-term stress in birds: Comparing different endpoints of the endocrine-immune interface.” Physiology & Behavior.

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