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Seeing red: Decoding the hidden information on robins' feathers


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Red breasted robins are a classic symbol of the winter months and have adorned Christmas cards for over a century. Ornithologists studying the feathers of the European robin (Erithacus rubecula) have discovered that the red breast reveals more than simply the species of the owner. The findings, published in Ibis, reveal how the famous red breast varies in size and colouration over ages and sexes, suggesting it may be used to communicate features of the owner to other robins.


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