The Novices' Guide to Feathers...

guinea fowl body feathers

Novice tyers often have issues with where the feathers they use actually come from. These guides are not intended to be an anatomy lesson, but a simple reference to where feathers are found on birds and what particular feathers look like. This is to help novices progress from using packet hackles to the better quality feathers usually found on skins and wings.

Mallard Duck swimming

© Photo courtesy of Faiza Weilenmann www.danica.com/flytyer

So why buy bird skins or whole wings? The advantage of buying bird skins and wings is that the feathers are size-sorted on the skin/wing whereas packaged hackles are often lower-quality feathers of various sizes, and when tying Wet Flies wings you can be sure that the winging feather slips are taken from matching left and right quills from the same bird.

Mallard Drake Skin

Guides to Feathers