Feather care in birds

“Healthy feathers are a top priority for birds as this ensures their long term survival, and their ability to attract a mate for procreation.

“Bills are used to preen their feathers, as their forelimbs have been adapted to wings.

“Bills clean individual feathers, scratching with feet are also done, bathing in water or dusting. Dusting is when a bird wriggles in dust or sand, tosses fine particles over its wings and body, then rubs it into plumage and shakes it off again. This removes excess preen-oil from feathers, and keeps them grease free. Besides, this also helps to remove parasites such as lice and mites

“There are birds that regularly waterproof their feathers with oil from the preen-gland enabling them to spend long periods of time floating on the surface of the water. This again is done using the bill, which collects the oil from the special preen-gland just above the base of their tail and spreads the oil across the surface of their feathers.”

KC Tsang
11th May 2009

Image of the Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata) preening by KC Tsang.


2 Responses

  1. […] Bird Ecology Study Group Feather care in birds Posted by root 5 minutes ago (http://besgroup.talfrynature.com) Feather damage in birds an earlier post on the chestnut bellied malkohas phaenicophaeus leave a comment name required mail will not be published required powered by wordpress based on the leia theme by kapikua Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Bird Ecology Study Group Feather care in birds […]

  2. […] their ways of dealing with ectoparasites, like anting, water bathing, sand bathing, sunning and preening. But not newly hatched chicks that are helpless and depend on the adults to care for […]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.