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Dustrude: Why is the female kingfisher more colorful than the male?

To the editor, 

Brad Pillow’s photo of a kingfisher is, like all of his nature photography, a real treasure for all of us.

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the female kingfisher is more colorful than the male, just the opposite of the case with all other birds that I know of. I’ve wondered why this is so. Nature typically sees to it that the female is less colorful, to protect her and the eggs (and later the babies) in the nest.

Does anyone know why the kingfisher’s coloring defies the usual protective rule in the avian world?

Louise Dustrude

Friday Harbor

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