Just Another Nature Enthusiast

JANE’s Images & Thoughts 🌲 Inspired by the Pacific NW & places I wander

They Are What They Eat

They Are What They Eat

How many species of finches are feasting on these Forget-Me-Not flowers?

A red species, an orange species, and a yellow species. Three, right?

Surprisingly, that would be the wrong conclusion.

It turns out this trio is comprised entirely of male House Finches.

How can this be?

Male House Finches can be different colors because of what they eat. These seed and fruit eaters acquire their coloration from organic pigments known as carotenoids- pigments found in the wild plant foods they eat . Each color of male feathers is a result from consuming a specific carotenoid pigment.

Echinenone is a carotenoid pigment that produces red color in feathers.

Beta-carotene produces yellow to orange colors.

Isocryptoxanthin produces orange colors.

Curious to find out more? Check out the resource/more to explore list below.


Have we wondered about some of the same things?

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