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Feathers and Topography. Feathers. Origin: Originally thought to have evolved from scales Now thought to be novel structures Composed of beta-keratins Weigh 2-3 times the skeleton. http://www.themodernapprentice.com/feathers.htm. A group of crows is known as a murder.

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feathers
Feathers
  • Origin:
    • Originally thought to have evolved from scales
    • Now thought to be novel structures
  • Composed of beta-keratins
  • Weigh 2-3 times the skeleton

http://www.themodernapprentice.com/feathers.htm

functions of feathers

A group of crows is known as a murder.

Functions of Feathers
  • Protection
  • Insulation
  • Flight
  • Visual Communication
  • Modified for more
feather types
Feather Types
  • Contour and Flight
  • Down (plumules)
  • Semiplumes
  • Filoplumes
  • Bristles
feather maintenence
Feather Maintenence
  • Preening
  • Bathing
  • Dusting
  • Sunning
  • Anting
  • Chemical Defenses

The smallest bird in the world: Bee Hummingbird

http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com/images/bird1.JPG

preening
Preening
  • Uropygial gland
    • a.k.a. - preen gland
    • produces oil (waxes, fatty acids, fat & H20)
    • located on rump at base of tail
    • present in most birds
    • Usually larger in waterbirds
slide8

Oil from uropygial gland

    • Cleans feathers
    • Preserves feather moistness
    • Preserves flexibility
    • Essential ???
  • Maintains structural integrity of feather
  • Allopreening - mutual preening by conspecifics
    • widespread, 43+ families
    • maintains pair bonds
more maintenence
More Maintenence
  • Bathing
  • Dusting
    • similar to bathing
  • Sunning
    • also helps with thermoregulation
  • Anting
    • treat feathers with live ants
    • widespread activity
    • studies have shown higher levels of dead ectoparasites
chemical defenses
Chemical Defenses
  • Not known in birds until 1992
  • 3 species of shrike-thrushes (New Guinea forest birds)
  • Skin feathers produce deadly neurotoxin

http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/LittleShrikethrush(SM).jpg

feather color
Feather Color
  • Protection from sun
  • Heat absorption
  • Escape from Predation
    • cryptic coloration
    • countershading
  • Mating
  • Chemical and Structural

The most abundant bird? Possibly the Red-billed Quelea (Africa). 10 billion strong. (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

feather growth
Feather Growth
  • Once fully grown, feather is dead structure
  • Grow from follicles in skin
  • Follicle collar- ring of feather stem cells (horizontal or tilted)
  • Old feather pushed out as new feather grows
  • Begins as tube
    • Outer layer: sheath
    • Intermediate layer: barb ridges
feather growth1
Feather Growth
  • As feather emerges, cells filled with beta-keratin
  • Sheath cracks off, feather uncoils
  • Feather connected to blood supply as growing, living cells and blood vessels reabsorbed by follicle
  • Calamus remains in follicle, held by muscles and friction
  • See pages 89-91 in Gill
feather tracts
Feather Tracts
  • Feather tracts
    • Feathers grouped into 9 tracts
    • Spaces between feather tracts are Apteria
    • Brood patch is specialized apteria
    • Penguins lack apteria
  • Diagram in packet
slide15

http://www.windoverwings.com/images/isis01.jpg

Molt
  • Replacement of all or part of the plumage
  • Plumage changes seasonally and with age
  • Energetically taxing
  • Replace damaged feathers, breeding purposes
what influences molt
What Influences Molt?
  • Weather
  • Behavioral requirements
    • migration
    • reproduction
  • Geographic location
    • tropics vs. temperate
  • Food availability
molting pattern for typical passerine
Molting Pattern for Typical Passerine
  • November - February
    • prealternate molt
  • March - May
    • Migration to breeding grounds
    • alternate plumage
  • June - July
    • Breeding period (egg laying / rearing)
    • alternate plumage
molting pattern for typical passerine1
Molting Pattern for Typical Passerine
  • July - August
    • prebasic molt
  • August - November
    • Migration to wintering grounds
    • basic plumage
slide20

For more details on topography, look in front of field guide.

  • Field marks to look for when identifying birds
    • Eye line
    • Supercilium line (line above eye)
    • Malar streaks
    • Upper wing coverts
    • Many more…………

A group of flamingoes is know as a flamboyance.

terminology
Terminology
  • See handout, look for examples in lab
  • Foot arrangement
  • Toes
  • Beak Shapes
  • Wing Shapes
  • etc. etc.