12 February 2010:
If you thought we were done with bird anatomy because we reached the tail last week, think again.
There are plenty of obscure anatomical words that I haven’t covered yet. For instance, what about axillaries?
Axillaries are the bird’s armpits, circled above in yellow. Usually they’re unremarkable because they’re a single color but every once in a while there’s a surprise.
For instance, notice the American robin above and the black-bellied plover below.
And how about this illustration of rose-breasted grosbeaks? Who knew that the males have rosy armpits and the females have yellow?
If birds don’t soar, we get only a fleeting glimpse at their axillaries.
(photo credits: American robin by Marcy Cunkelman, black-bellied plover by Chuck Tague, rose-breasted grosbeak illustration from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)