Dark “eyeliner” feathers of peregrine falcons act as sun shields to improve the birds’ hunting ability, a new scientific study suggests.
Scientists have long speculated that falcons’ eye markings improve their ability to target fast-moving prey, like pigeons and doves, in bright sunlight. Now research suggests these markings have evolved according to the climate; the sunnier the bird’s habitat, the larger and darker are the tell-tale dark ‘sun-shade’ feathers.
The distinctive dark stripes directly beneath the peregrine falcon’s eyes, called the malar stripe or ‘moustache’, likely reduce sunlight glare and confer a competitive advantage during high-speed chases. It’s an evolutionary trait mimicked by some top athletes who smear dark makeup below their eyes to help them spot fast-moving balls in competitive sports. [Read more…] about New study suggests falcons have natural ‘eye makeup’ to improve hunting ability