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Structures create colorful feathers: common kingfisher


common kingfisher / Sergey Yelis.. / LicenseCC-by-nc-nd - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

Feathers of the common kingfisher create colorful feathers due to pigment granules, spongy nanostructures, and thin films.

"The bright colours of the common kingfisher A. [Alcedo] atthis are created by two types of feather barb: one filled with pigment granules and the other with quasi-ordered channel-type keratinous sponges. A broad-band background reflection is added by the cortex of the shiny feathers, especially when the feathers are illuminated from oblique directions." (Stayenga et al. 2011:3966)
About the inspiring organism
Med_king Common Kingfisher
Alcedo atthis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_LC IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Paints for cars, buildings, industrial applications. Cosmetics and fabrics.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Manufacturing, Interior decorating

Stavenga DG; Tinbergen J; Leertouwer HL; Wilts BD. 2011. Kingfisher feathers – colouration by pigments, spongy nanostructures and thin films. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 214: 3960-3967.
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