Semiplume feather, 2010

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I have had the opportunity to do some illustrations for the recently published book by Thor Hanson: "Feathers: the evolution of a natural miracle." This is the illustration of a semiplume feather.

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Original pencil on paper drawing not available for purchase.

Image: Semiplume feather, 2010. Copyright 2010 Nicholas Judson. Graphite pencil on paper drawing.

"Semiplume Semiplumes fill the space in form and function between contour feathers and down. They have a distinct rachis, but their plumy barbs do not interlock to form a closed vane. They fill out the body plumage and add insulation, and in some cases the visible tips provide color. Semiplumes can also be modified for display. The Great Egret's elegant breeding plumes, once so desirable for ladies' hats, are simply elongated semiplumes."

Text from "Feathers: the evolution of a natural miracle," by Thor Hanson. Copyright © 2011 by Thor Hanson. Used by permission of the author.