feathers

  • On the wings of an owl

    And maybe, one day, the wings of an aircraft.

    There’s a lot of learning going on about how owls fly – and what we can learn from that. Last month, as reported i...

    Core Sciences November 20, 2020
  • Cassowaries shine in an interesting way

    Study suggests its due to feather shape.

    The cassowary achieves its luxuriously glossy plumage through modifications to feather shape similar to the hair stru...

    Birds May 14, 2020
  • How do colourful birds protect themselves?

    Researchers unravel the mystery with Australasian lorikeets.

    The dazzling array of colours that birds display – some that humans can’t even see – are more than awe-inspiring eye ...

    Birds March 8, 2020
  • It’s structure that creates this colour

    Scientists discover what makes hummingbirds so bright.

    Hummingbirds are among the brightest birds in the world, and now scientists know why. A new study in the journal Evo...

    Birds January 12, 2020
  • The other use for feathers

    Research reveals they make pretty useful armour.

    A bird’s feathers play an important role in mating, flight and insulation, but new research suggests they also help p...

    Birds November 20, 2019
  • Birds dress to impress – and avoid

    For a select few, two feather changes a year is the norm.

    Some birds moult twice a year, changing colours as well as actual feathers when they do – and now scientists think th...

    Birds August 25, 2019
  • Hidden feather patterns tell the story of birds

    Like the annual growth rings of trees, birds’ feathers lay down growth bars during their moult.

    Shown as bright orange and pink highlights under X-ray fluorescent light, birds incorporate metals like zinc and brom...

    Biology June 26, 2017
  • Feathered fossilised friend

    Contains the oldest beta-keratin proteins so far found.

    A team of international scientists led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported the oldest fossil...

    Archaeology November 22, 2016
  • Calling all bird-watching citizen scientists

    Help is needed to observe birds in Australia.

    Found a feather at an Australian wetland? Don't throw it away! Credit: Auscape / UIG / Getty Images Birdwatching can...

    Biology September 19, 2016
  • Feather map reveals secrets of waterbirds

    Enlisting the help of citizens to track bird movements.

    Feathers create a record of what the birds have been eating and drinking, which is specific to where they are in the ...

    Biology August 29, 2016
  • Hair & feathers evolved from reptile scales

    Thank a distant reptilian ancestor for your luscious locks.

    A normal bearded dragon, showing a full array of pointy scales. Credit: Michel C. Milinkovitch 2016 What can naked l...

    Biology June 27, 2016
  • The secret signal in a peacock's tail

    Tail feathers used to emit an extremely low-pitched sound.

    The peacock’s shimmering blue and green tail plumage is one of the most dazzling sights in the animal kingdom – and t...

    Biology March 30, 2015