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This Majestic, Wine-Colored Bird Is Called A Pompadour Cotinga

Just when I thought I'd seen every color a bird could be, I got surprised again.

Not that birds don't come in countless varieties, but most seem to trend towards combinations of the primary and secondary color spectrum. I didn't expect to stumble across a bird whose hue wouldn't be easily categorized into a specific color group.

But the Pompadour Cotinga proved me wrong with its unique, wine-colored feathers.

Wikipedia | Mike Goad

In some lighting, you might call the color red or purple, but there's a luminescent quality that doesn't quite fit under either category.

Magenta is probably the closest, but since magenta isn't real, the fact that the cotinga's hue is similar is still incredible. Burgundy is also a close shade. (Yes, I'm a color theory nerd.)

Pompadour cotingas range throughout the rainforests of the Amazon Basin, but remarkably little is known about their habits.

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They eat primarily fruit, supplemented occasionally by insects, and while they are known to have an elaborate mating display, no one has successfully recorded its details beyond the fact that males chase each other to show dominance.

The differences between males and females of the species are very strong, with the females being described as a "dumpy gray" bird.

However, due to their unique coloration, a lot of research has been centered on how it is achieved.

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At first, it was assumed that the structural color of the feathers was blue, with a red carotenoid protein mingling to create the burgundy shade.

However, with advancements in research technology it was discovered that the birds have no structural color at all, and the hue is the result of a mix of up to eight different carotenoids combining.

Which is a fancy way of saying that these birds are wholly unique in how their incredible coloration is formed.

Thankfully, the species isn't currently under immediate threat of extinction, so scientists have plenty of opportunity to learn more about them, their lives, and their amazing color.

h/t: Dallas World Aquarium

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