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Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Division of Birds

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Christina Gebhard © Smithsonian Institution
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    Teresa Feo
    Research Associate

  • Phone: (202) 633-0784
  • Fax: (202) 633-8084
  • E-mail: FeoT[at]

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    Division of Birds
    PO Box 37012, MRC 116
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    Division of Birds
    1000 Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20004

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Ph.D Yale University (2015). Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
B.A. University of California, Berkeley (2007). Integrative Biology

Research Interests

My research focuses on the evolution, development, and function of morphological diversity. I primarily study bird feathers using a combination of theoretical modeling, museum collections, and fieldwork. My research projects include how feathers are used to fly, make colors, and produce sound, the role of feathers in the elaborate courtship displays of ‘bee’ hummingbirds, and the evolution and development of wing feathers across the evolutionary history of avian flight from feathered dinosaurs to modern birds.

Selected Publications

McCoy, D. E., Feo, T. J., Harvey, T. A. and Prum, R. O. (2018). Structural absorption by barbule microstructures of super black bird of paradise feathers. Nature Communications 9, 1. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02088-w

Feo, T. J., Simon, E. and Prum, R. O. (2016), Theory of the development of curved barbs and their effects on feather morphology. Journal of Morphology, 277:995–1013. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20552

Feo, T.J., D.J. Field, and R.O. Prum. (2015). Barb geometry of asymmetrical feathers reveals a transitional morphology in the evolution of avian flight. Proceedings of the Royal Society Part B, 282: 20142864. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2864

Feo, T.J., J.M. Musser, J. Berv, and C.J. Clark. (2015). Divergence in morphology, calls, song, mechanical sounds and genetics supports species status for the Inaguan hummingbird (Trochilidae: Calliphlox “evelynae” lyrura). The Auk, 132: 248-264. DOI: 10.1642/AUK-14-108.1

Feo, T. J., & Prum, R. O. (2014). Theoretical morphology and development of flight feather vane asymmetry with experimental tests in parrots. Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution, 322(4): 240–255. DOI: 10.1002/jez.b.22573

Clark, C. J., Feo, T. J., and von Drogen, Wouter. (2013). Sounds and courtship displays of Peruvian Sheartail, Chilean Woodstar, Oasis Hummingbird, and a Peruvian Sheartail × Chilean Woodstar. The Condor, 115(3): 558-575. DOI: 10.1525/cond.2013.120047

Clark, C. J., Feo, T. J., and Brian, K. B. (2012). Courtship Displays and Sonations of a Hybrid Male Broad-Tailed × Black-Chinned Hummingbird. The Condor, 114(2): 329-340. DOI: 10.1525/cond.2012.110058

Clark, C. J., Feo, T. J. and Escalante, I. (2011). Courtship displays and natural history of the Scintillant (Selasphorus scintilla) and Volcano (S. flammula) hummingbirds. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 123(2): 218-228. DOI: 10.1676/10-076.1

Feo, T. J. and Clark, C. J. (2010). The displays and sonations of the Black-chinned Hummingbird (Trochilidae: Archilochus alexandri). The Auk 127(4): 787-796. DOI: 10.1525/auk.2010.09263

Clark, C.J. and Feo, T. J. (2010). Why do Calypte hummingbirds “sing” with both their tails and their syrinx? An apparent example of sexual sensory bias. The American Naturalist, 175(1): 27-37. DOI: 10.1086/648560

Clark, C. J. and Feo, T. J. (2008). The Anna’s Hummingbird chirps with its tail: a new mechanism of sonation in birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society Part B, 275, 955-962. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2007.1619

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