The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Structure of owl flight feathers



Quick facts

Project title: 
Structure and function of serrated fringes in flight feathers of owls
ZFMK Project lead: 
Object of research: 


The flight feathers of owls (Strigiformes) are characterised by a number of morphological peculiarities that predominantly serve to reduce noise during flight. Such noise-reduction is enabled by special structures, especially by serrated fringes at the outer vanes of flight feathers.

The species-specific characteristics of serrated feather fringes appear to be stronger in nocturnal and crepuscular owl species, whereas feathers of diurnal species have only weakly developed noise-reducing structures. Since the taxonomic range of species hitherto analysed is comparatively small, we aim at compiling data from a geographically and ecologically broad data set.


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