Parrot feathers contain an anti-bacterial pigment

A parrot’s brilliant plumage has a special defence against damage: Psittacofulvins, a pigment that only parrots are known to produce, give the birds’ feathers their red, yellow and green colouration. In a 2011 study, researchers exposed different colours of feathers to a feather-damaging bacteria strain and found that the pigment helped protect the glorious plumage from degradation.

The brightest plumage colours are provided by carotenoid-based pigments, which are red, orange and yellow. But birds do not synthesize their own carotenoids; instead, these pigments are co-opted from their diet and are placed into growing feathers. Thus, carotenoid-based feather colours can provide visual information about the state of a particular individual’s health and the quality of its diet.

This is the reason that many captive flamingos are white while wild flamingos are a brilliant pink: they obtain carotenoid-based pigments from their diet of algae and invertebrates and place these pigments into their skin, feathers and even into the keratin sheath covering their beaks. The pinkest flamingos are those that consumed the best diet and are the healthiest.


Picture Credit : Google