The high cost of being bright

Chaffinches are bright birds, or at least the males are. Their colour comes at a high cost; the cost of using so much of their energy in creating such complex chemistry in their feathers to create the beautiful colours. It’s especially difficult for birds on a plant-based diet rather than those feeding on nutritious insects.

Chaffinch - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s now firmly into the breeding season and the male Chaffinches seem even brighter than they were just a few months ago. Have they moulted a new set of feathers or it it just this glorious spring light? Maybe it’s just me being dim.

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