Main Article Content
Feathers are the vital structure of the outer covering and flight surface of all modern birds. Feathers are branched structures consisting of β-keratin—a rigid protein material formed by pleated β sheets—with a hollow central shaft. Feathers can perform flying, heat regulation, Bracing, sending visual signals, eating, Aiding digestion, Foraging etc and make birds a unique one. The aim of the current study is the comparison of shed feathers collected from flying and flightless birds as well as documentation of feathers for the detailed examination of their structural parameters. The microscopic images were captured to study the pattern, kinking, pigmentation, nodes, barb size and interlocking pattern of barbules. The barbules were analysed and feather comparison was done by using stereo microscopic and Scanning Electron Microscopic images. For easier comparison as well as documentation, selected features were divided into different taxonomic orders of birds. Types of feathers collected for the study include wing contour, body contour and Semiplume and tail plumages from different birds. Shed feathers of flying and flightless have been described qualitatively based on the morphological investigation using stereo and SEM images. The feathers are grouped into various orders on the basis of flying and flightless. Flying birds are of the order Psittaciformes, Accipitriformes, Stringiformes, Gulliformes. Flightless birds are of the groups Struthioniformes, Rheiformes and Cassuariformes. No two orders share all the characteristics. However, they may share some of the similar characteristics. Each feather differs in their interlocking pattern, pigmentation and length. Variant shed feathers of different birds are critical to the study. Although identification is confusing, this work might be helpful in various fields such as forensic investigation, illegal wildlife trades; where this document may use as a key/tool for identifying birds based on the plumage parameters.
Brush AH. Feather keratins. Chemical Zoology. 1978;10:117-139.
Chuong CM, Chodankar R, Widelitz RB, Jiang TX. Evo-devo of feathers and scales: Building complex epithelial appendages. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 2000;10(4):449.
Lucas AM, Stettenhein PR. Analítico: Avian anatomy. Agriculture Handbook; 1972.
Burtt Jr EH. Tips on wings and other things. The Behavioral Significance of Color. 1979;75:110.
Auber L. The distribution of structural colours and unusual pigments in the class Ibis. 1957;99(3):463-476.
Alibardi L. Fine structure of juvenile feathers of the zebrafinch in relation to the evolution and diversification of pennaceous feathers. Journal of Submicroscopic Cytology and Pathology. 2005;37(3-4):323.
Yu M, Yue Z, Wu P, Wu DY, Mayer JA, Medina M, Chuong CM. The developmental biology of feather follicles. The International Journal of Developmental Biology. 2004;48: 181.
Sick H. Morphologisch-funktionelle Untersuchungen über die Feinstruktur der Vogelfeder. Journal für Ornithologie. 1937;85(2):206-372.
Day MG. Identification of hair and feather remains in the gut and faeces of stoats and weasels. Journal of Zoology. 1966;148(2):201-217.
Ornithologists' Union B. A new dictionary of birds. S. A. L. Thomson, & A. L. Thomson (Eds.). London: Nelson. 1964;844.
López R, Martino R, Brunet S, Sureda A, Domingo-Albós A, Sierra J. Salvage chemotherapy with IAPVP-16 for advanced refractory or relapsed follicular lymphomas. Haematologica. 1999;84(10):911-916.
Cone CD. Thermal soaring of birds. American Scientist. 1962;50(1):180-209.
Bergmann G, Horvath M, Palfalvi G, Tomcsanyi G, Kovacs G, Laszlo K. U.S. Patent No. 4,352,378. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; 1982.
Heinroth O, Heinroth K, Cullen M. The birds. University of Michigan Press; 1985.