Did you ever wonder how birds get their particular colors? Some are really colorful while others are a lot darker but one thing is always constant, no matter what color the bird, each species always has a certain pattern. So how exactly does this happen?
It basically boils down to two different pigments which decide what color the bird will be, melanins or carotenoids. Melanins create a range of colors between black, gray, brown, and orange. Carotenoids, on the other hand, usually create a brighter color range.
But wait, things get far more interesting.
Melanins typically occur naturally in a birds body at the cellular level in a cell called melanocytes. Carotenoids, however, do not occur naturally in a bird's body and bright colored birds only get to be that way depending on the foods they eat. Carotenoids circulate through the bird's bloodstream and give them their bright color. Pretty awesome right?
Researchers at the University of Chicago made the research and they examined around 9,000 different bird species, in order to come to a conclusion. Aside from finding out how bird's get their colors, researchers found that each bird has unique color patterns that are usually made up of two or more different colors.
Isn't nature awesome?