Why is a cardinal red or a bluebird blue? Why do some birds have plumage that is intensely coloredis it pigment, light, gender, robust health, or some combination of all four? What roles do disease, climate, and wear and tear play in this process? What does feather display signal about sexual attraction and social status? How has color camouflage evolved?
These are just a few of the fascinating questions explored here in the first non-academic work on coloration and plumage, and their key role in avian life. More than 200 gorgeous photographs highlight the explanations of the essentials: what color is, ornithologically speaking; how it is produced and measured; how birds use color to attract mates and deter competitors; how birds perceive color; and how coloration varies across species by sex, season, and age.
Geoff Hill guides his readers along an engaging but authoritative narrative illustrated with vivid photographs and fact-packed captions. A book conceived in the same spirit as National Geographic's more traditional bird guides, it's sure to appeal to serious ornithologists, recreational bird watchers, and natural history buffs alike.
Geoffrey E. Hill is a noted ornithologist, seeker of the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and author of two books: A Red Bird in a Brown Bag and Ivorybill Hunters. He served as the consultant for the forthcoming National Geographic feature film The Lord God Bird.