Updated: Feb 9
Note: This actually includes real facts from me for once, this is all (mostly) true.
I learned from Zach that there is a word for the ear-like tufts of feathers some birds have (eg the Great Horned Owl). He claimed it was called a "plumicorn," which of course I was not buying at all. Turns out it's a real term and it's really interesting.
The word plumicorn comes from the Latin words pluma (feather) and cornu (horn). After reading more about plumicorns, I learned that their exact purpose is still unknown. One popular theory is that these feathers make the bird seem more aggressive and frightening to predators or attackers. Another theory speculates that they break up their silhouettes, giving a bird better camouflage.
Not just unique to owls, there are other species of birds have these tufts as well, including Horned Larks, Tufted Puffins, and Rockhopper Penguins.
Now that you have this new knowledge, I have prepared a handy guide to help you tell the difference between "Plumicorns" and "Unicorns"
In conclusion, I vote that we change the name of the Great Horned Owl to Great Plumicorned Owl for better accuracy (and because it sounds really neat).
Final Note: Here's to Plumicorned Larks, Great Plumicorned Owls, and Plumicorned Grebes! To be fair, we are rebels in the bird naming world.
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