The number of feathers that a bird has varies according to their species, size, age, sex, metabolism, health and the current season. In addition to these factors, however, adult birds of any given species at any given time of the year can still have a different number of feathers.
In general, the whistling swan is believed to have the highest number of feathers, with a total of 25,216 counted on one bird. Nearly 80% of these were on the head and long neck. This type of swan is also known as the Tundra Swan.
On the other end of this extreme is the ruby-throated hummingbird, with a feather count of only 940 on one specimen. However, the hummingbird possesses more feathers per gram of body weight than swan. Another interesting fact about hummingbirds is that they can hover in mid-air, which is something else one might want to read about.
Of course, the bigger a bird is the more feathers it would have. Penguins have several small feathers over their whole bodies, with one specimen even having 80,000 feathers. Other specimens had considerably fewer feathers, though. Still, the number of feathers on a penguin has to be quite vast so that the bird remains insulted and safe from water even in a harshly cold climate.
Some may also wonder which was the largest animal with feathers? If we take prehistoric species into account, this may have been a dinosaur. Research on dinosaur bones now shows that their closest living ancestors are birds, so it’s probable that these prehistoric creatures had feathered bodies.
Those who are interested in learning more about birds will be able to find a lot of relevant books online.