The American Fantail (Columba livia) and the Indian Fantail (Columba livia) are both ornamental (or fancy) pigeons.
The American Fantail and the Indian Fantail both have fan-shaped tails with 30-40 feathers, compared to other pigeons that have 12-14 feathered tails.
The American Fantail and the Indian Fantail both have a pink beak and pink legs.
Continue reading “What are the similarities and differences between an American Fantail Pigeon and an Indian Fantail Pigeon?”
What is keratin?
Keratin is a strong, fibre-based protein material.
Keratin is found on amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Keratin is the material in animal beaks, bills, claws, feathers, fingernails, hair, hooves, horns, scales, shells, talons, toenails, and wool. It is also in the outer layer of human skin.
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What does preen mean?
To preen means to clean.
A bird that preens is a bird cleaning its feathers.
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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”
The Schmalkalden Moorhead (Columba livia) is a breed of fancy pigeon. This is called selective breeding in order to develop specific characteristics. It is a domestic pigeon from Germany.
The Schmalkalden Moorhead has an arched brown head, dark eyes, and a long neck with ruffled neck feathers. The white feathers are bent forward and cover the neck so that the pigeon looks as if it has a mane.
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Most pigeons have scales on their feet (and not feathers).
However, some pigeons have a genetic variation (or two) that gives them feathers on their legs and feet (a lot of feathers or a little bit).
Foot feathering comes from variations in two genes: slipper and grouse. A bird that has the feathery versions of both slipper and grouse have an extreme form of foot feathering, called muff.
Continue reading “Why do some pigeons have feathered feet?”
Down feathers are fine fluffy feathers. Baby birds are covered in down feathers. In adult birds the down feathers are found underneath the exterior (outer) feathers.
Down feathers are used as padding or insulators to trap heat and keep the bird warm. That’s why baby birds are covered in down feathers. Down feathers are used in pillows and sleeping bags.
Powder down is called or pulviplumes. Pulvi means dust and plumes means feathers – so pulviplume means feather dust.
Continue reading “Feathers: Are down and powder down the same?”
External covering is the outside appearance of an animal. Animals can have fur, feathers, hair, short hair, long hair, smooth hair, bristles, skin, thick skin, moist skin, dry skin, scales, waterproof scales, small scales, overlapping scales, spikes, hard shells, soft shells, smooth shells, rough shells, wool, or no covering at all.
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Iridescence means shiny with many colours. Many animals have iridescent colours.
Iridescence is structural colour from refracted light (crystals), diffraction gratings (feathers or butterfly wings), thin film (oily surfaces), multiple layer interference (nacre in shells), or 3-D arrays of spheres (opals).
The word iridescence comes from iris, the Greek word for rainbow. An iridescent object has many tones of colour. Iridescence creates colour by splitting and reflecting light from different structures – which is why it is often called structural colour.
Continue reading “Iridescent scales, feathers and shells”