Tuesday, January 22, 2008


A bona fide avian biologist would scoff at this amateurish blog today which is about different types of feathers we have observed.

  • Baby white down: this is apparently fast growing, and must require less complexity to develop. It is the fluffy white down that first appears on a baby budgie, and also, the first to grow after an injury (Magoo sprouted this type in his denuded chest area first, but now is getting regular feathers, as pictured above, from her/his best angle!).
  • Chest/head/body medium feathers: these are softer than the wing/tail feathers, shorter, and more round. They are the ones that seem to fall out when budgies fight.
  • Wing and tail feathers: long, and in our birds, have stripes in a contrasting color. In the white birds Sutcliffe and Mia, the contrasting stripes are a subtle blue-ish, yellow, or gray. On the greenish birds, these are black. On the Lutino (Mary ann) no stripes are seen. These feathers are stiff, narrow, and could make some very nice quill pens. The tail feathers in particular are especially long and come to a lovely point. Several of the flight feathers also come to a long point in the back, and fold across the back of an unclipped budgie.

Since budgies are considered a member of the tribe of broad-tailed parrots (Platycercini), biologists clearly found the tail feathers impressive.

More about color variations and patterns in future blogs!

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The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple
Sutcliffe and Maryann in early 2007