What is a peacock feather up close?
Each feather consists of thousands of flat branches (as shown above in the detail). When light shines on the feather, we see thousands of glimmering colored spots, each caused by minuscule bowl-shaped indentations. Stronger magnification reveals microscopic lamellae (thin plate-like layers) at the bottom of the indentations. As with butterfly wings, the regular pattern of the lamellae
leads to interference phenomena and iridescent colors. The feathers of pheasants, birds of paradise, and hummingbirds create color using the same mechanism. ~ Bernard