Tag Archives: birds

These Birds Evolved Feathers So Dark, They’re Like A ‘Black Hole’

If you’ve seen BBC’s Planet Earth, you may recall of one of its sillier scenes: the superb bird-of-paradise mating dance. A female hops up to a male, who unveils a mane of feathers and puts on a performance like a drunk rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a karaoke bar. But when the male bird faces the camera, things go black—way black. Skip to 2:34 in the video below. This bird’s feathers are so black that you can’t see any of its facial features, just radiant blues on a sea of natural Vantablack.

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How Sexual Selection Is Like Advertising

Years ago, Danny Abrams heard about a strange phenomenon: Deer skeletons were being found beside trees in the forests of the Midwest. These male deer had apparently gotten their massive, unwieldy antlers caught in the branches, where they’d found themselves trapped. Unable to find food or flee predators, they quickly met their demise.

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Watch How Dead Silent an Owl Flies Compared to Other Birds

When a pigeon flies, you can hear it sloppily slap its wings as it makes its way through the air. When a peregrine falcon flies, the flight is powerful and beautiful but you can still hear the movement. When a barn owl flies? Complete silence. It’s amazing to see. BBC Earth set up microphones along the flight path of the birds to let us hear the difference.

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