A team of scientists at Yale University have carried out an extensive study of the wavelengths of light reflected by feathers of from 114 species of hummingbirds.  They then compared these with feathers of 111 other bird species, including penguins and parrots. 

They found the range of colours in hummingbirds exceeded to range of colours in all other birds put together.  They even found new colours not previously found by other methods.  These included vivid blues, blue-greens, and deep purples.  These colours not all visible to humans, but can be seen by birds as birds are able to see ultraviolet light as well as the colours we can see in visible light because they have extra light receptors in their eyes.  This means birds can see a greater range of colours. 

The bright iridescent colours in hummingbirds are structural colour, i.e. the result of reflected light from nanostructures in the tiny filaments that project from their feather barbs.  The newly found colours were mainly on their heads and throats, and are probably significant in mating displays and communication. 

Richard Prum, and ornithologist at Yale commented: “Watching a single hummingbird is pretty extraordinary, but the combination of versatile optical structures and complex sexual displays make hummingbirds the most colourful bird family of all.”

Refences: Science (AAAS) News 7 July 2022, Yale University News 23 June 2022; Communications Biology 23 June 2022, doi: 10.1038/s42003-022-03518-2.

Editorial Comment:  The structural colours can only occur if there are precise microstructures in the filaments of the feather barbs.  We know from modern nanotechnology that this does not come about from chance random processes.  It involves creative design and manipulation by intelligent scientists and engineers. 

Complex eyes and mating displays will not make colourful birds from non-colourful birds.  The colours had to be there at the same time as the visual receptors along with the brain circuits needed to perceive the colours and control the mating display behaviour. 

This study of bird colour is further confirmation that hummingbirds are brilliants creations and there is no evidence they were every anything less colourful. 

Creation Research News 21 July 2022

Were you helped by this item? If so, consider making a donation so we can keep sending out our newsletters and add more items to this archive.  Donate here.