From teeny hummingbirds to giant whooping cranes, roughly half of the world’s more than 10,000 bird species migrate. Longer wings and beefed-up flying muscles often help these birds crisscross vast expanses of air. But a study of nearly all bird species suggests many migrators share another unexpected flight aid: lighter-colored feathers.
Being a tad more lightly colored than non-migrating birds may help these long-distance fliers stay cool as they work hard under the hot sun to fly, researchers report December 6 in Current Biology.
It’s known that color can help birds hide from predators by blending in, or attract mates by standing out. But color has subtler effects too,
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