Bird Identification By Color

Birds are a unique family in the animal kingdom that has developed their existence in accordance to the environmental demands. Their beauty is defined because of their vivid colors and unique designs and patterns over their body. The fishes and insects are the only competitors to birds with regards to colors.
| Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Color can be an identity! Terms like 'sky blue', 'blood red', 'baby pink', 'parrot green', associates colors with things which reflect that particular color.

'Parrot green' reminds us of the specific bright and attractive shade of green that is of the parrot. So let us travel through the journey of identifying the birds around us as per their colors.

A famous Chinese proverb says, "It is the beautiful bird which gets caged". Sad, but true that it is the vibrancy of the colors that make a bird look beautiful and indeed fall prey to caging. Colors have got much to do with the identity of the birds rather than only making the birds look attractive.

Bird watching or identification can take you to a flight!

Bird watching becomes more a pleasure than a hobby for people involved in it. The hobby is certainly not recommended to people with lack of patience. Bird identification guides and charts are  available in the market that serve to be useful.The mind blowing vivid colors and the variety of birds leaves a thought behind that how have these wonders been created by the almighty.

Why are birds colorful?

They are not what they actually appear! There are certain chemical compounds (pigments) embedded in the feathers and skin of the birds.  The mechanism is basically of absorbing one wavelength and reflecting another. The reflected light is what our eye catches. So the color that we observe is just a perception of the magic of wavelengths of light.

Colors have a role!

  • The colors are nature's gift to the birds to protect themselves from predators and other threats. Try spotting a Parrot among the lush green trees!
  • The bird colors are to please humans but to attract mates and also to associate with other members of the family.
  • Color uniqueness also helps to keep intruders away.

Bird Identification by Color

1. Male or Female

Colors help in distinguishing between sexes in birds. A common example would be of the Peacock and the Peahen. But the same does not hold true among all the species of birds. For example, in case of Swans or Pigeons, the males and females have the same color, so the Swans make gestures to identify the opposite sex. On general notes, male birds are more attractive and colorful than their counterpart females.

2. Spotting the Bird Species

Bird species identification is a step-wise procedure as follows:

  • Identify and make a note of the main colors of the body parts.
  • Make a research on the birds of a particular color with the help of bird identification guide. This would narrow down the focus, limiting to a certain group of birds having the same color.
  • Once a color group is jotted down, observe for some unique traits of the bird in your focus, like the color of the wings, the crest etc and also make a note of whether the bird has a peculiar design or pattern on its body parts. This would help in moving a step closer to the final identification.
  • Once you find a match that has a similar description as the one under your observation, bingo! Your bird is identified.

3. Bird egg color identification

  • Bird eggs have a vast variety that makes them easy to identify.
  • Duck species generally have pale eggs. Spotted eggs are found among cavity nesters. Sea bird eggs can be identified on basis of various markings and patterns. The eggs of sparrows are cream or white or gray in color.

4. Wild bird identification

Birds of prey are also commonly known as 'Raptors'. There are slight differences that help in identifying the wild birds. Eagles are found to be of colors like Dark brown, orange gold, yellow and also light gray bands may be seen on the tail. Falcons are found to be of colors like Yellow, brown, black, white, fawn, bluish-gray with dark spots on the legs and belly.

The job sounds easy but it is not so!

Birds' colors play pranks on you. The color may appear different during the day and different during the night. The color may dazzle in bright sunshine or may appear faded on a cloudy day. So you have a considerable homework to be done!

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