Immature Carmine Bee-Eater  (Merops numicoides) with feathers fluffed to keep warm

Caption: Immature Carmine Bee-Eater (Merops numicoides) perched on a branch with its feathers fluffed against the cold.

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mk II; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/800; Aperture: f/5.6; ISO: 800.

Additional Info: It was a cool, damp day and this youngster, with its feathers fluffed out, looks like it’s wrapped in a rather ill-fitting, shaggy coat of muted colors. This fluffing of the feathers evidently increases the air cushion between skin and feathers, trapping body heat and so helping to retain warmth.

Below is a photo of an adult carmine bee-eater, also fluffing its feathers against the cold, taken a few minutes before against an overcast sky.

Adult Carmine Bee-Eater  (Merops numicoides) with feathers fluffed to retain warmth

For this shot I over-exposed by one stop (+1 aperture compensation) as the meter was being fooled by the light background, under-exposing the subject.

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