Light-colored feathers may help migrating birds stay cool on long flights

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,

→ Continue reading at Science News

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