keratin producers

Feathers are made up of keratin, a very strong protein also present in our hair and nails. Only covered by down in their first days after hatching, Golden Plover chicks produce thousands of new feathers during the pre-fledging period.

Contour feathers will cover their body to help thermal insulation and waterproofing, and finally wing feathers will give them the power to fly.

Juvenile Golden Plovers are very easy to recognise in the field. With fresh golden feathers on back and wings, lacking dark belly and face tipical from breeding adult plumage. However, once adult birds moult into winter plumage, the differences are almost imposible to detect.

A 18 days-old (left) and 25 days-old chick (right)
A 18 days-old (left) and an almost fledged 25 days-old chick (right)

Ground-dwelling arthropod abundance has dropped in the last days. However, berries are starting to mature and Golden Plover chicks will defenitely go for them. Moreover, with their now longer bills they will increase their feeding range, probing under the soil surface in search of larvae and other hidden invertebrates.

A crane fly (tipulidae) sheltered from the wind
A crane fly (tipulidae) sheltered from the wind

2 thoughts on “keratin producers

  1. Alie en Herman van Bemmelen August 6, 2013 / 6:49 pm

    Thank you for the beautifull photo’s.
    Your ara still in Sweden we presume.
    Enjoy you stay there.
    Alie and Herman van Bemmelen

  2. paco August 7, 2013 / 12:03 am

    Genial !!!…I could see !!!…very good work !!!

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