Feathers of the common kingfisher create colorful feathers due to pigment granules, spongy nanostructures, and thin films.
"The bright colours of the common kingfisher 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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