Look Up #2

Look Up #2

Lab of Ornithology

 

The feathers on this hummingbird’s throat are surprising. One minute they’re bright red, the next, black. This is known as iridescence, a common, showy feature of many birds’ plumages, from hummingbirds to starlings to jays to ducks. Iridescence doesn’t exist as a pigment—it is a structural color created by light striking the feathers. In each iridescent feather, keratin, melanin, and air are arranged in such a way that the appearance of the feather changes at different viewing angles.

 [All about birds]

 

Look Up

Look Up

Lab of Ornithology

 

The Wire-tailed Manakin’s dance may be one of the most impressive in the bird world, but it can’t be performed on just any dance floor. Like many other species with elaborate displays, the male very carefully selects his dance site relative to the sites of other males in the area. Together these sites are known as an exploded lek. Each male picks a location that is easily visible to females and then carefully maintains it, clearing away anything that might obscure the view or get in the way of his performance. 

 [All about birds]