CAROTENOIDS PRODUCE FLUSH IN THE ELEGANT TERN PLUMAGE

Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) Science Article 3

abstract

Adult Elegant Terns (Sterna elegans), Roseate Terns (S. dougallii), many gulls (Laridae), several pelicans (Pelecanus spp.), the Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), and ptarmigans (Lagopus spp.) display a pink flush on their white body feathers (Stresemann 1927-1934; see also Vijlker 1964, Hijhn and Singer 1980, Harrison 1983). Called variously ‘flush,’ ‘blush,’ ‘bloom,’ ‘tint, ‘ ‘wash,’ or ‘cast,’ the color is generally confined to the ventral surface.

JOCELYN HUDON AND ALAN H. BRUSH, The Condor 92:798-801

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