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chicken anatomy – the nictitating membrane

March 17, 2009

I was out snapping photos of the chickens again yesterday. I zoomed in close and used a fast shutter speed to try to capture the moment they peck at food. I captured this image:
nictitating membrane half closed
Do you see that white thing covering her eye? It turns out that when the chickens peck at the something they actually blink too. Birds have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane which both lubricates and protects their eyes.

This nictitating membrane is between the other two eyelids and the cornea and has its own lubricating duct equivalent to our tear duct. (from here)

I feel like I learn something new about the chickens almost every day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. vagabondbee permalink*
    March 22, 2009 12:19 am

    While I think it would be awesome to have one, I don’t want one just because of that terrible name. I don’t want anything that nictitates. Had they just left it in the simple form, ‘nictate’, that would be one thing. From the Latin ‘nicto’ meaning ‘wink’.

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