[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Feathers used like whiskers

Just to throw another usage in to the pot.

Follow link for full article


Birds may use their feathers for touch, using them to feel their surroundings just as cats use their whiskers.

The revelation that feathers have this hitherto unknown function comes from research on auklets, birds that sport prominent plumes on their heads.

Auklets with bigger crests, that stick out further, bump into things less.

A wider analysis suggests that numerous birds, from parrots, penguins, pheasants and hummingbirds, also use their feathers to feel their way.

Details of the discovery are published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Many species of bird sport elegant long feathers, either crests, beards or whiskers that adorn the head and face, or striking tail feathers.

Many of these feathers are thought to have a sexual function, being used to advertise a bird's virility to potential mates.

But Dr Sampath Seneviratne of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and Professor Ian Jones of Memorial University in St John's, Canada suspect they may also have a tactile function.