Natural Hues

6H SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2005 NEWS ILLUSTRATED · SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL Pale eggs may not be so white to birds. With a bird'sutraviolet vision, eggs may take on a bluish or pinkish hue. Piok headed dud Commen Streaked bittern mume Northern Bald bobwhite eagle Grebe Some birds, such as grebes, will cover their white eggs with dirt or vegetation to create a brown or gréenish stain Forget dyeing Easter eggs, Mother Nature has a color palette all her own. Boeted warbler Narthern Speckles gannet Chalky Natural Cassewary Shiny HUES Bustard Red winged tinamou Saawls Greater golden plever Cap of calor and spots Guira cucke A multitude of eggs Streaks Paradise riffebird Pied Cape weaver Tinameu starling Colors, shapes and pattems are essential to an egg's survival. For some species, colors and patterns can hide it from predators. For others, shape could keep eggs from rolling off a high-ledge nest. A look at the natural state of eggs: Glossy Vermilion fyatdher Large large spots Oval Shape of flamingo and osprey eggs. Conical Plains wanderers lay cone-shaped eggs. Flamingo Cetti's warbler Pyriform Common murres will lay pear-shaped eggs. The shape allows them to roll around in circles without rolling out of the nest. Streaked bittem Commen pheasant Egyptian vulture Ova are passed in dusters What makes color important? Commen mume 1A single ovum, yolk, passes down the oviduct. It takes approximately 24 hours for an egg to pass through the oviduct Grebe 2 The ovum is coated with albumen, or egg white. Identification Patterns help female birds identity which eggsare theirs, especially for species that lay eggs in communal nests Ostium Biconical Tinamous'and bec'eons 3 Shell membranes wrap around the egg in the isthmus Magnum Spherical Ostriches. falcons and owis lay round eggs grebes' eggs. Great agle It takes 3 hours for albumen OVIDUCT to wrap around Different markings help common murres identify each other's eggs, uses phote Itkesan an ovum hour for the shell to form. Isthmes Cylindrical Hummingbirds and some albatrosses lay this shape. Camouflage Some eggs have colors and patterns that closely resemble rocks, foliage or dirt to help hide them from predators. Most birds that produce these eggs are species that nest in exposed areas or on the ground. Adding dye Pigment is added as the egg travels through the uterus Red, black and brown colors are derived from blood pigments, while blue and green colors are from bile pigments. UTERUS 4 The egg enters the uterus where the hard shell and pigment lare added. Longitudinal Gannets, kiwis and loons lay elongated eggs. Hthe eggis stationary, spets are produced. the eggis moving, streaks occur. Common loon VAGINA MIX AND MATCH Detail All colors are made with one or a combination of three pigments. Cleaca All shapes and sizes area Cokers are added in pathes as the egg The patterns on these killdeer eges blend into the background. File phete Fog color Pigment cambinatien moves throuch. Protoporphyrin Protoporphyrin biliverdin White Copycats Not all eggs are "egg-shaped." There are eight basic shapes used to classify eggs, with no two eggs exactly alike. Some species, such as the cuckoo, will lay eggs in other species'nests and mimic egg patterns to fool the host bird. Protoporphyrin, biliverdin or zinc chelate. Brown Protoporphyrin bilivedin Biliverdin 5| More markings can be added to the surface as the |egg is laid. Blue or green Elliptical The most common shape. Biliverdin + zinc chelate Pale with Protoporphyrin brown or Protoporphyrin biliverdin red marks Cuckoo Skylark Eme An ideal mate Scientists think eggshell colors may be linked to how birds select their next partner, Females with more colorful eggs are more appealing to a male bird because they represent a healthier female. Hamningbird Quail Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs, which measure less thana half inch, or as large as a jellybean, and weigh less than half a gram. Oidken Signal to Dad Another theory says bright colors act as Outrich The largest egg belongs to the ostrich, measuring a signal In the case of the pied flycatcher, a female will lay big, bright eggs so the male will interpret the color as a sign for 6-8 inches long, roughly the size of a grapefruit, him to work harder to take care of his and weighing as much as 2 pounds. baby birds, resulting in the father young. Brightere eggs may mean healthier bringing more food. Eggs are not always relative to a bird's size. An ostrich has one of the smallest eggs relative to its body size while the kiwi has the largest. Ostrich SOURCES: Birh'Eggi by Michael Waters Aan eolrandselselection Don eggf Pigmentationfectfemalecondition and genetic quality by Juan Moreno and Joe L Oome Asurvyofavian egghelpigmens by GY. Kennedy and HG Vevers Egpcolurationandmale parentaleffort in thepied fycotherficedula hypoleuca by Jone Morena, JoneLOsoma, Judith Morales, Sartiago Merino and Gantavo Toma Avian tcology by CM. Perkinn and TA Birkhead Wkipedia Eneycopeda and Sun-Sentinelreerch Staff graphicBelinda Long

Natural Hues

shared by karbel on Feb 27
Infographic describing how bird eggs are naturally created, colored, and why they have different shapes. Here's a hint: It's about survival.


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