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).
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What are the similarities and differences between big bird feathers – the feathers of the largest birds on earth?
The Emu, the Cassowary, the Ostrich, and the Rhea are large flightless ratite birds. The Emu is from Australia, the Cassowary is from northern Australia and New Guinea, the Ostrich is from countries in Africa, and the Rhea is from countries in South America.
Their wings have no keel (anchor) on their sternum (a long flat breastbone) to connect to their wing muscles, which means that the birds can’t fly. Therefore, their feathers are mainly decorative.
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The Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is a large African flightless bird.
Its wings are also large, with a wingspan of about two metres (6 feet and 7 inches).
Ostriches have many differences from flying birds.
Flying birds have external feathers with hooks that lock together. The Ostrich external feathers do not have tiny hooks that lock together. These hooklets are called barbules. They zip the vanes of individual feathers together to make the feather strong enough to hold the airfoil (the shape of the wing that makes it aerodynamic). Similar foils in water are called hydrofoils.
Continue reading “Ostrich Wing: why the ostrich can’t fly”