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Question:
Why are bird eggs different colors?



Replies:
Evolution has brought about a number of colorations and designs in egg appearance over time for a number of possible reasons. Generally, most bird and almost all reptile eggs are white and many agree that this is the original color of laid eggs. Birds that lay their eggs in cavities are generally white.


If a bird lays its eggs on the ground, the coloration it may have is to protect the egg from predation by blending it to the ground cover. There is an array of different coloration that suits this purpose including blues, greens and various other markings to break it to blend with the land. This is the case with most exposed eggs whether on the ground or not.

A second purpose to darker eggs is to shield it from harmful sun radiation. especially if the eggs are exposed.

Steve Sample


Not an easy question to answer. Some people think birds with more exposed nests lay more speckled or mottled eggs for camoflauge, other colors, I don't think anyone really knows. This is an important thing for young students to remember: science is not a lot of facts to be learned, science is a process of learning and there are many many things about nature and all other science subjects that future biologists and scientists may learn. More information about bird eggs can be found in The Birder's Handbook, which is in many libraries, along with other very useful books about birds, nests, etc.

J. Elliott



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