Chemical analysis of pigments in the red feathers of 44 parrot species has revealed the surprising source of the scarlet hue. Biochromes such as carotenoids are typically responsible for red, orange and yellow hues in animals. Not so in the case of parrots, apparently. According to a report in the current Biology Letters, a unique suite of molecules known as polyenal lipochromes gives the birds their rosy plumage. Moreover, the pigment exists only in the feathers, indicating that the parrots manufacture the molecules on their own, directly at the site of feather growth.