April 13, 2024

Evolution: the white feathers of birds

Anyone venturing into the forest clearing at dusk in March and early April may notice a generally unknown natural sight: the Woodcock’s courtship flight (Scolopax rusticola)Also known as snipe stroke in hunting parlance. It’s the only way to see the well-camouflaged birds more easily than usual, as their plumage blends in almost perfectly with the forest floor on which they prefer to perch. Only the white tips of the tail feathers stand out against the brown tones of the woodpecker—revealing an unexpected register, As a team led by Jamie Dunning of the University of Akron in Ohio in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface..