The Color of Birds: iridescence

Back Yard Biology

This is a continuation of a recent post on how feather colors are achieved in birds.  To recap that discussion, feather color is a product of pigments, or micro-structural features within the feather, or both processes.

Some of the most striking colors produced are those in iridescent feathers, like the crown and back feathers of Common Grackles which turn from black to blue in the right light,

or the shimmering greens, golds, and blues in peacock tail feathers, (photo from Wikipedia)

or the throat feathers of hummingbirds, which seem to light up and flash intense color as the bird turns its head (Scintillant Hummingbird photographed in Boquete, Panama, January 2012),

(Throat feathers look brown when light is not shining directly on them.)

or the brilliant contrasts in neck and wing feathers of the Nicobar Pigeon (photographed at the MN Zoo, not in the Nicobar Islands east of Sri Lanka, unfortunately).

Iridescence is a result of…

View original post 112 more words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.