Feathers of the common kingfisher create colorful feathers due to pigment granules, spongy nanostructures, and thin films.
"The bright colours of the common kingfisher A. [Alcedo] atthis are created by two types of feather barb: one filled with pigment granules and the other with quasi-ordered channel-type keratinous sponges. A broad-band background reflection is added by the cortex of the shiny feathers, especially when the feathers are illuminated from oblique directions." (Stayenga et al. 2011:3966)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Stavenga DG; Tinbergen J; Leertouwer HL; Wilts BD. 2011. Kingfisher feathers – colouration by pigments, spongy nanostructures and thin films. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 214: 3960-3967.
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