Feather iridescence of Coeligena hummingbird species varies due to differently organized barbs and barbules

Marco Giraldo*, Juliana Sosa, Doekele Stavenga

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

21 Downloads (Pure)


Hummingbirds are perhaps the most exquisite bird species because of their prominent iridescence, created by stacks of melanosomes in the feather barbules. The feather colours crucially depend on the nanoscopic dimensions of the melanosome, and the displayed iridescence can distinctly vary, dependent on the spatial organization of the barbs and barbules. We have taken the genus Coeligena as a model group, with species having feathers that strongly vary in their spatial reflection properties. We studied the feather morphology and the optical characteristics. We found that the coloration of Coeligena hummingbirds depends on both the Venetian-blind-like arrangement of the barbules and the V-shaped, angular arrangement of the barbules at opposite sides of the barbs. Both the nanoscopic and microscopic organization of the hummingbird feather components determine the bird's macroscopic appearance.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's4
TijdschriftBiology Letters
Nummer van het tijdschrift8
StatusPublished - 25-aug-2021

Citeer dit