Hummingbird

Hummingbirds Have Most Colours

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 […]

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Rosy-Faced Lovebird

Parrots Defy “Forbidden Phenotype”

Because no vertebrate has an odd number of limbs, having three limbs is considered a “forbidden phenotype”, i.e. a body structure that cannot happen.  However, some animals can use other body parts as well as their limbs to help them move around.  Researchers at noted that some parrots use their beaks to help them climb […]

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Woodpecker

Woodpeckers Don’t Get Stuck

If you have ever banged a nail into wood and then tried to extract it you will know how hard it is to overcome the friction that holds the nail into the wood.  Woodpeckers are well known for banging their beaks into tree trunks and branches and extracting them at an incredibly rapid rate.  Scientists […]

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Forest Floor

Birds Go Truffling

Truffles are underground fruiting bodies, i.e. reproductive structures, of fungi that live in a symbiotic relationship with trees. They have been described as underground mushrooms. They produce spores, but unlike mushrooms and toadstools they cannot release them into the air in order to be dispersed to a new location, where they can grow. Therefore, truffles […]

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Bats Flying

New Zealand Goes Batty

Each year the conservation organisation Forest and Bird asks people to vote for New Zealand’s Bird of Year.  This year the organisers included the long tailed bat in the list of candidates.  The bat received 7,031 out of 56,733 votes, putting it almost 3,000 votes ahead of the next most popular choice, the kakapo.  The […]

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Penguins Antarctica

Climate Pushes Antarctic Penguins Farther South

Climate pushes Antarctic penguins farther south says National Geographic 26 October 2021. But Antarctica is about as south as you can get folks. Then we also find that the Antarctic penguins named in the article – Chinstrap Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Adelie Penguins, are actually all doing well, (Australian Antarctic Program). Since Antarctica is a […]

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Pintail

Fossil Fancy Tail Feathers

Fossil fancy tail feathers found, according to reports in ScienceDaily and Field Museum of Natural History Chicago 16 September 2021 and Current Biology 16 September 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.08.044. Chinese and American scientists have studied the fossil of an extinct bird found in the Jehol Biota in northeastern China. The fossil has been named Yuanchuavis kompsosoura […]

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Galapagos Finches

Vampire Finches Evolve

Vampire finches evolve, claim scientists and David Attenborough, according to articles in Science Alert 16 January 2021, Smithsonian News 22 January 2021 and The Conversation 15 January 2021 and New Scientist 14 January 2021.  Finches on two of the most northerly islands of the Galapagos Islands have been found to feed on the blood of […]

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Archaeopteryx Fossil

Feather Flop 1 – Archaeopteryx Feather

Feather Flop 1 – Archaeopteryx feather, according to reports in ScienceDaily and SciTech Daily 30 September 2020 and Scientific Reports 30 September, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-65336-y. In 2019 a group of scientists from University of Hong Kong used a new laser scanning technique to study an isolated feather fossil found in the Jurassic rocks of Solnhofen, Germany. […]

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Parrots

Parrots Discarded Dull Colours

Parrots discarded dull colours, claim scientists, according to Inside JEB 17 June 2020 and Journal of Experimental Biology, published online 17 June 2020, doi:10.1242/jeb.225912. Most birds colour their feathers by producing a mix of two types of melanin pigment – eumelanin, which produces black and grey, and pheomelanins, which produce browns, reds and yellows.  Birds […]

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