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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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. […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More