How are birds' feathers waterproofed? © Getty Images

How are birds’ feathers waterproofed?

Birds are able to keep their plumage waxy and water-repellent even in the wettest conditions by preening tail to top.

Asked by: Oliver Lai, Port Louis

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Birds pick up oil on their beaks, by rubbing against the uropygial or preen gland near the tail, and then rub it over their feathers. This coating insulates the interlocking barbules in the feather. As water cannot penetrate through the oil coating, the feather is waterproof.


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