Quiz Solution: Feathers

Identify each type of feather below and describe how it helps a raptor to survive.

Down Feather

Type of feather:   down feather

Why is this feather important?   This feather is fluffy, located close to the body, under the contour feathers, and helps insulate and keep a bird warm.

Counter Feather

Type of feather:   contour feather

Why is this feather important?   These types of feathers cover the wings, body, and tail. They streamline a bird to help give it a smooth, sleek shape. They are stiff, flexible, and very strong yet lightweight.

Flight Feather

Type of feather:   flight feather

Why is this feather important?   These are special contour feathers located on the wings, called flight feathers. They are shaped to fan the air, creating "lift" to help a bird get off the ground, move about in the air, and land safely.

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Quiz created by BLM Snake River Birds of Prey NCA staff, 1997. Boise, ID. Illustrations in the quiz © The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology by M. Brooke and T. Birkhead, 1991. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY. Reproduced with permission.