Entry from US English dictionary
Any of the minute hooked filaments that interlock the barbules of a bird’s feathers.
- Barbs can be separated from each other and smoothed back into place because barbules and barbicels act somewhat like a zipper.
- It is important for the feathers to be relatively broad, with a web of good firm texture, a strong shaft, the barbs, barbules, and barbicels closely and tightly knitted together.
- Often part of a bird's incessant cleaning routine is the straightening of wing primaries, which seems to help reattatch the barbicels so the wings remain fully functional.
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