Posts tagged ‘Plumage’

Why do birds have feathers?

Birds have something that no other animal has—a covering of feathers.  These feathers help birds to fly and also keep them warm.  Birds have two main kinds of feathers:  “contour” and “down”.

The large, outer feather that cover the wings, body and tail of a bird are

Bird

called “contour” feathers.  These feathers streamline the body and help the bird fly smoothly through the air.

“Down” feathers are the soft, fluffy feathers found under the outer feathers.  Down feathers provide warmth.

Waterbirds have extra-thick coats of down.  That is why the ducks we see in the wintertime padding about in icy water are not cold.

The entire covering of feathers is called the “plumage.”

Feathers wear out, just as clothes do, and need to be replaced.

Birds lose an their feathers at least once a year and replace them with new ones.  This change of feathers is a process called “molting”.  – Dick Rogers

How did the secretary bird get its name?

Secretary Bird

The odd-looking secretary bird is a South African bird of prey.  The reason for this bird’s name is easy to guess because of the tuft of long, stiff feathers that stick out from the back of its head.

The tuffs resemble the quill pens that old-time secretaries and clerks once carried behind their ears.  The secretary bird has a long neck and very long legs.  It is about four-feet tall and its plumage is gray and black.

It usually prefers to run instead of fly and is the only bird of prey that hunts on foot.

An inhabitant of Africa’s grassy plains, the secretary bird feeds chiefly on snakes, which it kills by stamping on the snake with its strong  feet and biting it with its hooked bill.

In their native home, farmers often tame secretary birds and keep them to kill rats and mice.  Another name for the secretary bird is “serpent eagle.” – Dick Rogers

Why does a peacock raise its feathers?

Peacock

The handsome peacock spreads his feathers into a gorgeous fan when he courts the female, or peahen.  A peacock is a bird with beautiful, rainbow-colored feathers.  Its range is really “peafowl”.

The male bird is called a peacock.  It is about as large as a turkey and has a long train or greenish feathers brilliantly spotted with bronze blue, green and gold.  A crest adorns his head.

The feather which grow from the back (and not the tail), are spread out into a gorgeous fan as the bird struts back and forth, “proud as a peacock ,” for all to see.

His majestic parade of flashing colors is actually a courtship display to charm the female, or peahen, and persuade her that he is the most handsome peacock.  The peahen is less brightly colored and has no train of feathers.

As you might imagine, the peacock’s magnificent plumage has made it a favorite parts of the world.  A peacock’s call is so loud it can be heard far away.  It sounds like a human screaming.  – Dick Rogers