British Wildlife of the Week: Ruff

Every year, male ruffs undergo one of the most spectacular avian transformations in the world. During winter, they are birds of subdued browns and greys, but as the breeding season approaches, they develop colourful summertime finery, becoming extravagantly plumaged wading birds. As you can see in the picture above, they develop ornamental erectile head plumes and broad, feathery neck ruffs, reminiscent of the exaggerated collars that became fashionable in European courts from the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries.