12th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Phainopepla nitens is the most northerly representative of the mainly tropical Central American family Ptiliogonatidae, the silky flycatchers. Its name is from the Greek phain pepla meaning "shining robe" in reference to the male's plumage.
Phainopepla have a specialized mechanism in their gizzard that shucks berry skins off the fruit and packs the skins separately from the rest of the fruit into the intestines for more efficient digestion. So far this is the only known bird able to do this.
© Erika Hernandez.
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||Nov. 27, 2014, 10:21 p.m.