Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Color in a bird of paradise

In its courtship display, the male Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise presents three bright swatches of color: blue, yellow, and crimson, making it one of the most colorful creatures on the planet. 

(Direct link to video) As with many butterflies, reptiles, and other birds, the blue color is not based on a pigment, but rather it's a "structural" color, which means that microscopic textures interact with the light to reflect back blue wavelengths. The bird also uses structural blues on the legs, and greens on the breast feathers. The yellows and reds are pigment-based colors. 

Wikipedia on Structural Color,


RobNonStop said...

Do you think Dinosaurs in some areas did similar displays and dances?

James Gurney said...

Rob, given their morphological similarities, it stands to reason that their suite of behaviors might be similar, too.

K_tigress said...

I really think it would depend how intelligent they were. If they were smiler to chickens and pidgins they only do simple dances and displayings.
I have had both at one time. Still have ring neck doves some original from my grade school days. That's about 30 years worth of time. Anyways when my doves get in to the mood, they do lots of bowing, cooing, strutting, sharing of food and finally “show off preening“. Also occasional fighting for dominance and such. I bet bird like dinos did similar things such as that.

Emanuele Sangregorio said...

I didn't know about structural colors. I have searched the internet a little to see what's the cutting edge in the technology and there are already some patents of structural color paints! I was wondering if in the future someone will manage to create oil paints out of nano-particles of virtually any possible color :)

i found this documentary on an artist that currently uses structural color: