Feathers of pigeon- black and white coloured strands

College : CMR National PU College, ITPL, Bengaluru

Sample: One feather of Columbia livia(pigeon)

Site of sample collection: CMR National PU College, ITPL

Date of Collection: 19 February 2019

Date of Observation: 19 February 2019

Students involved: Navyaa Shah, A.S.Vidisha, Malavika Rajesh

The specimen observed were two strands taken from the same quill feather of Columbia livia (pigeon). Quill feathers are found on wings and tail of birds for flight. The black strand was taken from the upper part of the feather whereas the white strand was taken from the main body of the feather.

Each quill feather has a central stem. It is divided into lower hollow part called the quill or calamus and a solid upper part termed rachis. First, a black colour feather strand was observed. Each feather hair appears to be its own singular unit with multiple micro hairs attached to a central stem like structure. Next, a white strand was observed. The anatomy appeared similar, but, the white feather strand sample appears to be less opaque that the black hair strand .Dark feathers containing melanin are more resistant to damage than other feathers. This is why the outer wing feathers of many birds with white wings, as in this case, have black tips.

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