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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Iridescent Insect

Iridescent Camouflage

Iridescent camouflage found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News, ScienceDaily, Telegraph (UK) 23 January 2020 and Current Biology 23 January 2020, doi: 10. 1016/j.cub.2019.12.013.  Iridescence is the bright, variable colour created by light being refracted in surface structures, e.g. peacock feathers and some butterfly wings.  It produces bright clear colours, so most evolutionary biologists […]

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Bird Wing

How Bird Feathers Stick Together

How bird feathers stick together, and undo, discovered by scientists and described in Telegraph (UK) 16 January 2020 and Science 17 January2020, doi: 10.1126/science.aaz3358. As birds fly their wings morph into different shapes, with their wing feathers spreading out evenly to maintain a continuous solid surface.  Scientists noticed that the wing feathers of pigeons slide […]

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Puffins

Cool Beaks For Puffins

Cool beaks for puffins described in articles in Inside JEB 8 November 2019, PhysOrg 27 November 2019 and Journal of Experimental Biology 8 November 2019 doi: 10.1242/jeb.212563.  Birds generate a lot of heat during flying and have to be able to dissipate some of this or they will overheat their bodies.  As they are covered […]

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Downy Feather

South Polar Dinosaur Feathers

South polar dinosaur feathers found, claim scientists, as reported by ScienceDaily 12 November 2019 and National Geographic 18 November 2019, and Gondwana Research, published online 11 November 2019; doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2019.10.004. An international group of scientists has studied 10 tiny fossil feathers found in the Koonwarra fossil formation in Victoria Australia. The specimens examined by the […]

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Kea Parrot

Giant Fossil Parrot

Giant fossil parrot found in NZ, according to reports in ScienceDaily and ABC News 7 August 2019 and Biology Letters 7 August 2019, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0467. Scientists from Australia and New Zealand have studied “two incomplete tibiotarsi,” (leg bones with bits missing) found in a fossil site near St Bathans in Central Otago, New Zealand, and […]

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King Penguins

GAYBC on Gay Penguins

GAYBC on gay penguins: Male penguin pair incubate egg, according to a report in Popular Science 12 August 2019 and ABC News 15 August 2019. Two male king penguins in the Berlin Zoo were noticed to display mating gestures to one another soon after arriving in the zoo, and since then have tried to incubate […]

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Fossil Feather

Archaeopteryx Feather Challenge

Archaeopteryx feather challenge reported in ScienceDaily 4 February 2019 and Scientific Reports, doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37343-7. An isolated fossil feather found in limestone from Solnhofen Germany has long been considered to be from the famous Archaeopteryx, whose fossils are also found in the same rock layer.  The original specimen consists of a black film on pale rock, with […]

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Peacock Peahen

Good Vibrations for Peafowl

Good vibrations for peafowl described in Science (AAAS) News, and ScienceDaily 28 November and PLoS ONE 28 November 2018 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207247. When peacocks display their splendid iridescent tail feathers (called trains) to a peahen they also shake them – a behaviour known as train rattling. As well as making an audible rattling sound, this behaviour […]

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Flightless Rail

Smallest island dwelling flightless bird got there how?

Smallest island dwelling flightless bird got there how?  According to ScienceDaily 1 November 2018 and Science Alert 7 November 2018 and Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.10.007, the world’s smallest flightless bird lives on a small island in the South Atlantic named Inaccessible Island. Not surprisingly it has been named the Inaccessible Island Rail. Since […]

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