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Fluffy down feather on white background
Down feather
The downy feather of a common woodpigeon (columba palumbus)

The down of birds is a layer of fine feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers. Very young altricial birds are clad only in down. Powder down is a specialized type of down found only in a few groups of birds. Down is a fine thermal insulator and padding, used in goods such as jackets, bedding (duvets), pillows and sleeping bags. The discovery of feathers trapped in ancient amber suggests that some species of dinosaur may have possessed down-like feathers.

Description and etymology

Chicken hatchling
Like many precocial hatchlings, domestic chickens are already covered with a downy coat of feathers when they hatch.

The word down comes from the Old Nors

The down of birds is a layer of fine feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers. Very young altricial birds are clad only in down. Powder down is a specialized type of down found only in a few groups of birds. Down is a fine thermal insulator and padding, used in goods such as jackets, bedding (duvets), pillows and sleeping bags. The discovery of feathers trapped in ancient amber suggests that some species of dinosaur may have possessed down-like feathers.