If you didn’t know, feathers aid birds with flight, thermal insulation, and waterproofing. Their colors and patterns help in communication and protection. The colors of feathers are produced by pigments, by microscopic structures that can refract, reflect, or scatter selected wavelengths of light, or by a combination of both. There are two basic types of feather: vaned feathers which cover the exterior of the body, and down feathers which are underneath the vaned feathers. A bird’s feathers undergo wear and tear and are replaced periodically during the bird’s life through molting.
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