This is an incredible close up view of an adult male hummingbird displaying his iridescent head and gorget feathers. But how is this possible?
The gorget is a shimmering patch of feathers found on the throats of males in many hummingbird species. The mesmerizing shifting of colors doesn’t arise from pigments in the feather, but rather from their microscopic structure.
Not pigments in the feather, but a microscopic structure is causing this effect
The bird’s throat feathers contain minutely thin, film-like layers of so-called ‘platelets’, that are set like tiles in a mosaic against a darker background. The light waves reflect and refract off the mosaic, which is in extend creating the color in the manner of sun glinting off oily film on water. Pretty amazing, right?!