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A Glossary &

List of Bird Terms


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Bird Terminology and what words about Birds mean.
Now, wonder no more what specific bird terms and words
about birds mean. Simply use this glossary and find out. Scroll
down to the word you are seeking, terms are listed alphabetically.

Ventral part or belly of the bird.

Lofty nest of a bird of prey.

Alular Quills
Three feathers springing from the base of the primaries

Asynchronous Hatching
Hatching that does not occur at the same
time but that may take place over two to three calendar days.


Avian Botulism

Avian Influenza

Avian Leukosis

Avian Polyoma Virus

Ventral area between the body and the wing. Synonym: wingpit

The field activity of observing birds, birders are folks who engage in
this activity

Bird Banding

Bill Sweeping
Display in which a pair of birds sweep their
bills back and forth over the bark near their nest hole. Often
the birds have crushed insects in their bills.

Another name for a nest box, or a home for a bird.

Bird Migration

Birdman of Alcatraz

Bird Trade

Bird Watcher
Person who identifies and observes birds in their natural
habitat as a recreation.

Blood Feather
Any feather which still has a blood supply to it.

Breeding Cycle
Time period beginning at nest building through egg laying
and raising young to the point of independence

Breeding Plumage
Referring to the colorful plumage which the males of many
species acquire for the breeding season.

Young of a bird that are hatched or cared for at one time;
also: to sit on and keep warm chicks

Flesh-eating birds.

A young or new born bird.

Clay Pigeon?

Posterior most chamber of the digestive tract in birds

Closed Band
A completely closed ring of metal that can only be put on a bird
within a certain time, usually from 8-10 days in a small bird and
up to four weeks in the larger species of birds. The bands are
usually imprinted with hatch date and place of origin.

Total number of eggs laid by a female bird in one nest.

Group of birds nesting together in close association.

Colored area over eye found in males.

Contour Feather
Predominate feather type found on the body,
wings, and tail of the bird

Courtship Dancing
Elaborate displays, most often performed by the males of
certain species in an attempt to attract a female mate.

Active at twilight, dawn, and dusk

A tuft of feathers on the top of a bird's head.

A sac inside a bird where its neck meets the body. It holds
food before digestion.

A species is dimorphic when there are distinct visual
characteristics between the genders.

Movement of a young bird from the site where it
hatches to the site where it breeds

Occurring or active in the day

Domestic Bird
A bird that has been bred within the country.

Downy Plumage
Refers to the plumage of a chick upon hatching

Egg Dumping
Occurs when a female lays her eggs in the nest of
another bird, sometimes creating very large clutches

Egg Binding

Exotic Newcastle Disease

The feathers that cover a bird's body.

Feather Mites

Feather Picking

Field Mark
A characteristic or combination of characteristics such as color,
shape, or specific marking (eye rings, wing bars, breast
stripes),  by which a species of bird can be distinguished from other

A baby bird that is out of the nest, but not eating by itself.

A group of birds made up of either the same or different species.

Birds that feed primarily on fruit.

small pieces of rock, shell, or other hard substances that
birds eat to help them digest other foods. Grit helps grind up
coarse vegetable matter.

Birds that eat grains or seeds.

The environment where a particular species of bird
lives. Forests and wetlands are both examples of habitats.

Hand Fed Bird
Also Hand-reared or Hand-raised. The babies are taken from
parents at about two weeks, and then fed by people.

Birds that eat primarily plants.

A female bird of any species.

A technique a bird uses for various reasons, including
to search for food. To hover, a bird remains stationary in
mid-air, usually by rapidly flapping its wings

Imported Bird
A bird brought in from another country.

Birds that eat mainly insects.

The abstract combination of a bird's posture, plumage, pattern,
shape, size and behavior.

Juvenile Bird
An immature bird that feeds independently, but has not developed
it's first winter plumage

A method of telling the gender which is non-invasive. A drop of blood is
taken from the bird, usually by pulling out a blood feather.
The number of chromosomes then is looked at to determine
the gender of the bird. A male bird has two Z chromosomes
and a female one Z and one W.

Macaw Wasting Disease

The lower half of the bill. Maxilla is the upper half, both are
called mandibles

The feathers covering the back and upper wing coverts.

An extended journey a bird makes from one place to another.

The process by which a bird renews part or all of its
plumage by shedding old, worn feathers and growing new ones.

Both genders of the bird appear identical.

National Bird Day

National Audubon Society

Birds that feed largely on the nectar of flowers or
the juices of fruit.

Young bird that has not left, or abandoned, the nest.

The role a bird plays in the ecosystem, including what it
eats and where it lives

Birds that are born with their down feathers

Birds that are born without feathers and must develop their feathers

Used to describe birds that are active at night.

Birds that eat anything that is considered digestible/edible.

Open Band
This type of band, which is squeezed shut around the bird's leg
is indicative of an imported bird.

Taxonomic group above the level of family but below that
of class. Orders are composed of one or more families.

Science of birds.

Papillomatosis Disease

Pecheco's Parrot Disease


Method used by birders to attract birds, it consists of making
repetitious hissing type (also: psst psst psst, etc) sounds which seem
to attract a bird's curiosity

Pie Birds are "vents" placed in the middle of pies since Victorian Times.
They prevented the pie from boiling over and also supported the
pastry crust in the centre of the pie

Pigeon Canker

Piscivorous: Fish-eating birds.

The process by which a bird cleans, arranges, and cares
for its feathers, usually by using its bill to adjust and smooth

Flight feathers of the wings

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease
A serious viral disease which is highly contagious.

Also called Parrot Fever, Chlamydiosis, and

A period of isolation required for new or imported birds.

A place where a bird sleeps, sometimes in groups.

Smuggling Birds


State Birds


Synchronous Hatching
Hatching that occurs at the same time or
nearly the same time, usually within one calendar day

Synchronous Nesting
Nesting by a local population in which breeding pairs initiate
egg laying within a relatively short period of time.

The way bird scientists classify bird species based on
their similarities to or difference s from one another

Water bird
General term applied to any bird that lives part of its life
in or around water.

Weaned Brid
A bird that is out of the nest, and eating on its own.

Wing Bars
The lighter coloured tips of the upper wing coverts which
appear as narrow bars in the folded wings.

Distance from tip to tip of the longest primary feathers
of the outstretched wings.

A zoonosis is any disease of animals that can be contracted
by a human being. There are over 100 known diseases of
this type.


Incubation time for birds in days

Chicken   21
Duck       30
Goose     30
Pigeon    18
Turkey    26

bevy of quail, swans
brace of ducks
brood of chicks
cast of hawks
charm of goldfinches
clutch of chicks
congregation of plovers
covey of quail, partridge
exaltation of larks
flight of birds
flock of sheep, geese
gaggle of geese
murder of crows
muster of peafowl
nest, nide of pheasants
sedge or siege of cranes
skein of geese
spring of teals
team of ducks
volery of birds
watch of nightingales
wing of plovers

Attractive & Cheerful Bird Calendars

Simply Magnificent Stuffed Plush Birds

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