Science Articles

WHY DO BIRDS HAVE SUCH BEAUTIFUL AND COLOURFUL FEATHERS?

There are more than 10,000 species of birds in beautiful diversity of colours and patterns present in the world.

WHY DO BIRDS HAVE SUCH BEAUTIFUL AND COLOURFUL FEATHERS?

There are more than 10,000 species of birds in beautiful diversity of colours and patterns present in the world. The bright feathers catch the eyes of the bird watcher. The bright colour feathers are also used by males for seeking the attention of the female counterparts.

In birds, males sport the bright colours more often than the females. Females do not usually have bright colour since bright colour would attract the predator to the nest. Female birds get attracted to beautiful and bright colours shown by the males. There are various other reasons why birds have beautiful and colourful feathers.

HOW ARE THE COLOURS IN BIRD’S FEATHERS FORMED

The feathers of the birds are of various patterns and colours. The colours are formed in two ways-

  1. Pigmentation – the colour provided by pigments are not dependent on the structure of the feather.
  2. Refraction of light caused due to structure of the feather

It can also be a result of both. The structural colours and pigmentation might together become the reason for the colours in the feather. For example, in parrots, the green colour is formed because of the yellow pigment that overlays the blue-reflecting characteristic of the feathers.

WHY DO BIRDS HAVE SUCH BEAUTIFUL FEATHERS?

  1. Birds tend to have attractive and colourful feathers in order to attract prospective mates. Some male birds use their colourful feathers to dance and attract the females.
  2. Birds have beautiful varied coloured feathers in order to differentiate between their own selves from each other in a flock. Without the colours, the birds will get confused regarding their mates or families.
  3. Birds use their colourful feathers for flight. Depending on the size and weight, the bird is able to take long flights. The different weight of the feathers gives them different abilities of flying. Feathers protect the bird from environmental changes and colors help camouflage.
  4. The difference in the colour of feathers stems from the variation in pigments. Pigments are what impart colour to the feathers.
  5. The difference in colour also helps them in maintaining stable body temperatures. For instance, black feathers attract more heat towards itself than white feathers.
  6. Birds also use their bright feathers for warning off other birds from their territory. For instance, on becoming angry or feeling threatened, various species of birds show their white feathers (present on the tails).