Where The Color Comes From

Indigo bunting (photo by Marcy Cunkelman, May 2015)
Indigo bunting (photo by Marcy Cunkelman, May 2015)

Why does the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) look so blue?  It isn’t from the color of his feathers.  In dull light he looks gray!

Last month when I wrote about blue morpho butterflies I learned that their color comes not from pigments but from the structures of their scales that reflect blue light.

This same color trick is what makes indigo buntings’ feathers so blue.

Watch the Deep Look video below to learn how it works.


(photo of indigo bunting by Marcy Cunkelman, video from Deep Look on YouTube)

1 thought on “Where The Color Comes From

  1. I’ve seen indigo buntings along the Montour trail (located near Robinson Towne Center mall exit off the Parkway going to the airport). Along the Montour Trail is also a good place to see the spring migration of songbirds. I’d be curious as to other good places in the Pittsburgh area to see them.

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