Blue Gourami

The Blue Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus) is a freshwater fish in the Osphronemidae family of labyrinthine fish. It is also known as the Dotted Threadfish, the Blue Threadfish, the Opaline Gourami, or the Three Spot Gourami. 

The Blue Gourami is blue-grey to ochre-brown, yellow-orange, and violet. It has the appearance of mother-of-pearl, opal, or iridescence. At the base of the tail fin and in the centre of its body are dark-brown or black spots. Its eyes are reddish-black. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove

The Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove (Gallicolumba luzonica) is a medium-sized bird in the dove and pigeon family of ground birds. 

The Luzon Bleeding-Heart Dove is grey with iridescent purple, blue, or green feathers. It has a whitish-buff underbelly that has a reddish stripe that looks like blood on its chest. The male has a brighter red patch than the female. Its wings are grey with black bands. Its body is rounded, with a short tail and long pink legs. 

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Common Brimstone Butterfly

The Common Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) is a medium-sized insect in the Pieridae family – white, yellow, and orange butterflies.

The male and female Common Brimstone Butterfly look different. The male has yellow wings with iridescence. The female has greenish-white wings with no iridescence. It has one small orange-brown spot on each of its four wings. Its body is dark-brown. It has medium-sized antennae.

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Northern Shoveler

The Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) is a freshwater, wetlands dabbling duck. It is a bird. Spatula means spoon – it has a spoon-shaped beak.

The Northern Shoveler has a large, broad, greyish spoon-shaped beak, called a spatulate beak. It often has an orange colour on the cutting edge of its beak and lower jaw. The male has an iridescent dark-green head, white chest, chestnut belly, and chestnut side feathers. In the breeding season, the male has a white crescent on each side of its face. The female is pale mottled brown.

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Eurasian Common Merganser

The Eurasian Common Merganser (Mergus merganser merganser) is a freshwater bird – a large duck. It is also known as the Goosander or a Sawbill.

The Eurasian Common Merganser has a whitish-cream body with a salmon-pink tinge. Its head is black with an iridescent green sheen. It has a crest, but it usually lies flat, and is not often raised. Its rump and tail are grey, and its wings are white on the inner half and black on the outer half. Its beak and legs are red to brownish-red. The female is mainly grey with a reddish-brown head, white chin, and white feathers on its wings.

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Indian Rock Pigeon

The Indian Rock Pigeon (Columba livia intermedia) is a medium-sized game bird. It is also called the Indian Rock Dove.

The Indian Rock Pigeon has a pale grey back and wings, with two black bars on each wing. It has a dark bluish-grey head, neck, and chest, with an iridescent greenish-purple neck and wing feathers. Its eyes are orange, red, or golden, with a blue-grey eye-ring. Its beak is grey-black with a white cere. Its feet are purplish-red. Its tail has a black band. Male and female Indian Rock Pigeons are similar, but the female has less iridescence on her neck.

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African Sacred Ibis

The African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus aethiopicus) is a common African water bird.

The African Sacred Ibis is mainly white. It has a wrinkled black featherless head and neck, that has a large decurved beak (curving downward). Its tail feathers are iridescent blue-black. Its eyes are brown with a dark red eye-ring when it is breeding, which is also called an orbital ring. Its legs and feet are black.

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Long-Tailed Cormorant

The Long-Tailed Cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus africanus) is a large African wetlands bird with a long tail. It is also known as the Reed Cormorant.

It has black glossy feathers with some green iridescence. Its beak is yellow and smaller than the beak of the Great Cormorant. Its eyes are red, and its webbed feet are black.

It can grow to 56 centimetres (22 inches) tall, with an 85 centimetre (34 inch) wingspan.

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Hadada Ibis

The Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash) is a medium-sized, common African wading bird, found in the grasslands, rainforests, and urban areas of Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Gabon, Zaire, Cameroon, Gambia, Kenya, Somalia and South Africa.

The Hadada Ibis has brown and iridescent green feathers, a long black downward-curved beak with a red stripe on it upper mandible (top beak), and long black legs. It is related to the Spoonbill.

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Egyptian Goose

The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is a large African waterbird with chocolate-brown eye patches, living close to rivers, lakes, marshes, and estuaries. Alopochen means fox-goose because it has feathers that are the same colour as a fox.

Egyptian Geese have red to grey-brown feathers, with black lower back, rump and tail feathers

There is a narrow, dark reddish-brown collar around the base of their long necks. The wings have iridescent green patches. Their eyes are orange and their beak is pinkish, with a black tip, black nostrils and black edges. Their legs and feet are pinkish, turning redder when in breeding condition.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Saddle-billed Stork

The Saddle-Billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) is the largest African stork, with a height of 1.8 metres (six feet) and a wingspan of 2.7 metres (9 feet).

It has striking colours with an iridescent black head, neck, back, wings, and tail. The rest of the body and primary flight feathers are white.

The long beak (bill) is red with a black band and a yellow shield, which is called the saddle (like a horse saddle). They have black legs and feet with pink knees.

Males have black eyes and females have yellow eyes.

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Superb Starling

The Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus) is a northeastern African bird. It belongs to the Passeriforme Order, and the Sturnidae family.

The Superb Starling has a black head, iridescent bluish-green feathers on its back, chest, wings and tail, with an orange-coloured stomach. There is a white bar between the stomach and the chest. Its eyes are white. The juvenile has no white stripe between its stomach and chest, and its eyes are black, not white.

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Iridescent scales, feathers and shells

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.

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