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Re: size & insulation (naked chicken)
>Surface color can also influence
>thermoregulation. Whie surfaces are reflective (gull in the open) and
>black strongly absorbs heat. Ironically, birds like ravins and crows
>(whihc are essentially all black, inhabit some of the warmest areas, and
>are subject to intense insolation.
HP Chris Lavers, in his book: Why Elephants Have Big Ears (104-105), covers
this exact topic. The black feathers on ravens are actually *beneficial* to
them. The colouring of the feathers allows for rapid heat absorption. The dead
air space found between the skin and feathers keeps this excess heat from
effecting the bird too much internally. This heat absorption works so well that
the feathers eventually *exceed* the ambient temperature of the environment and
reverse the flow of heat. So now instead of the bird sweltering in this heat,
it is instead, rather cool.
Just another fine example of nature blowing away human expectations.
Incidentally, HP Chris Lavers has done a very fine job with this book and I do
recommend it to all those interested in the many ways creatures deal with the
thermal constraints of their environment.
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