Stunning High-Speed Photos of Birds as presented by: Discover Magazine

"It was one of those images that demanded more investigation," says photographer and film maker Andrew Zuckerman of a photo of a macaw that he had shot for his first book, CREATURE. So for his latest project, Zuckerman focused his lenses on birds. "Imagery of birds is found in all ancient art and has been repeatedly used throughout history—I was curious if I could add something to this tradition." The result is the new book BIRD from Chronicle Books, a collection of avian photographs stunning for their brilliant simplicity. Here, DISCOVER presents some high-flying highlights. From the plebeian pigeon to the rarest bird of all. The Spix's macaw, or the little blue macaw, may be the most endangered bird in the world. The last remaining member of its species known to be living in the wild, a lone male, was discovered in Brazil in 1990, but it has not been seen since 2000. Approximately 120 individuals now survive in captive breeding programs. Fifty of these are kept in the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar where Andrew captured them on film. This scarlet macaw is found in the subtropical rainforests of Central and South America. Individual birds can grow up to three feet in length, with nearly half that length consisting of long, tapered tail feathers. here's something special in a blue feather. Unlike feathers of other colors, which are pigmented, bright blue feathers, like these on the vulturine guineafowl, are the result of nanoscale structures in the feather barbs. Microscopic air cavities within the feather barbs are arranged just so to allow coherent light scattering, creating a blue hue. Green feathers are typically the result of a combination of blue structural color and yellow pigments.

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