256 pages, 225 col illus
This volume's gorgeous pictures and lively explanations will captivate beginners as well as serious birders. Author and noted ornithologist Geoff Hill takes readers on an informative visual and narrative tour. Seventeen short chapters with engaging narrative and lots of photos with information-packed captions illustrate the mechanisms by which birds produce the characteristic and sometimes brilliant colouration of their feathers and other body parts.
Why is a cardinal red or a bluebird blue? Why do some birds have plumage that is intensely coloured - is it pigment, light, gender, or simple good health? What roles do disease, heat, wear and tear, and other factors play in this process? What does feather display signal about sexual attraction and social status? How has colour camouflage evolved? It looks at the function of ornamental colouration and at how birds' signaling attracts mates and deters competitors. It gives answers to common questions such as why a male peacock makes its stunning tail displays and why a juvenile Roseate Spoonbill has colouration different from either parent.
"[...] Color permeates every part of a bird’s life. Knowing how birds perceive, produce, and respond to color will grant insight into their lives and behavior, and even hone your skills as a birder. If that sounds good to you, then I highly recommend National Geographic Bird Coloration."
- Grant McCreary (11-06-2010), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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Geoffrey E. Hill is an ornithologist and professor of biology at Auburn University, seeker of the Ivorybilled Woodpecker, and author of two books.