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Camouflage is an amazing thing. d so well that they can be impossible to spot in their natural environments. For example, a recent picture of a snake among dry leaves left the internet baffled. No one could spot the reptile although it was hiding in plain sight. It wasn’t even hiding. It was lying right on top of the leaves in the center of the photo. But even when it was pointed out to many people, they still struggled to see the snake. It had camouflaged into the environment that perfectly. Now a series of images depicting birds have people scratching their heads. The birds in these photos are species found in Zambia in Africa. Researchers learned that the birds would adjust their lifestyles and their nests depending on their colors. This helped protect them and their babies best from predators. Although it beyond disputable that these birds can scout for the perfect location, the scientists have no clue how they know how to camouflage so well. Nevertheless, take a look through these photos and see if you can find the birds hiding in plain sight.
The Zambian birds that are shown in these photos include nightjars and plovers. Although they are born with feathers and coloring that match the natural environment, these intelligent birds take things to the next level to use their camouflage in better ways.
These birds carefully choose locations for their nests that will match best with the background.
The female birds that pick the spot for the nest, choose the location to within inches of perfect. The female birds pick the best spot they can find that matches their unique markings. When the researchers compared other potential nesting spots 5 centimeters, 20 centimeters or five meters away, the birds choose the best nesting spot to match their unique camouflage.
Exeter University professor Martin Stevens led the study, said: “This is not a species-level choice. Individual birds consistently sit in places that enhance their own unique markings, both within a habitat, and at a fine scale with regards to specific background sites. It could be that somehow they “know” what they look like and act accordingly. They may look at themselves, their eggs and the background and judge whether it’s a good place to nest, or learn over time about what kinds of places their eggs escape being eaten.”
The nesting sites these birds chose, match their feathers and their eggs almost perfectly.
Co-author of the study Dr Jolyon Troscinanko said: “The nightjars are such masters of camouflage that when we returned to a nest to find them, the GPS would tell us we were less than six feet away and we knew they were in front of us, but it would take a good five minutes to be able to see them. Sometimes it was only the tiny reflection of the sun against their black eyes which would give them away before we even saw the rest of their body. It is totally incredible to be so close to a relatively large animal that’s made invisible because they blend in so beautifully with their background.”
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