What are the seven types of bird feathers?

What are the seven types of bird feathers?

Birds of all species have feathers. 

There are a variety of feathers, but all feathers are made of beta-keratin, which is a protein. 

All feathers have similar elements: the calamus (the thick bottom part of the rachis or stem), the central rachis (like a stem going almost all the way up the feather), the barbs (like branches), and the barbules (like smaller branches with hooks that interlock with other barbules).

The seven (7) types of bird feathers are:

  1. Wing feathers (larger feathers on the wings)
  2. Tail feathers (larger feathers on the tail)
  3. Down feathers (soft, short feathers, close to the body)
  4. Contour feathers (feathers covering the body)
  5. Semi-plume feathers (fluffy feathers hidden beneath other feathers)
  6. Filo-plume feathers (short fibres like the whiskers of a cat)
  7. Bristles (short, simple barbless stems).
Wing feather
Wing feathers
Tail feathers
Tail feathers
Wing feathers and Tail feathers
Tail feathers
Down feathers (pink) and Contour feather (brown)
Contour feather
Filo-plume feathers
Rictal bristles
Golden Pheasant
Mandarin Duck
Griffon Vulture
Asian Houbara Bustard
Reverse Wings Pouter Pigeon

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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