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Bird Glossary of Terms
Bird Dictionary Definition Information
Alula : Three feathers springing from the base of the primaries..
Alular quill coverts : Feathers overlying the bases of alula.
Alular quills : Three feathers springing from the base of the primaries.
Auricular : Area around ear opening.
Axillary : Ventral area between the body and the wing.
Back : Dorsal part of the bird.
Belly : Ventral part of the bird.
Bill : Beak.
Body : Main mass of the bird as distinguished from its appendages.
Breast : Front part of the chest.
Breast band : Stripe across the breast.
Breast spot : Small, differently colored area on the breast.
Cap : Top of the crown.
Cere : Fleshy area between the beak and face.
Cheek : Area bounded by lore, eye, auricular, and lower mandible.
Chest : Front part of the body.
Chin : Part of the face below the bill.
Cloaca : The single opening in birds used for both reproduction and excrement.
Cloacal kiss : Term used to describe copulation.
Collar : Rear portion of crown.
Comb : Colored area over eye found in males.
Commissure : Base of the bill where the mandibles join.
Crest : Tuft on the head.
Crissum : Feathers covering underside of base of tail.
Crown : Top of the head.
Culmen : Upper ridge on bill.
Dihedral : Wings of a flying bird held at an angle appearing to form a "V."
Ear patch : Area around ear opening.
Ears : Rounded, earlike areas on the face.
Eye : Organ of sight.
Eye line : Line of feathers in front of and behind the eye.
Eye ring : Pale-colored feathers encircling the eye.
Eyebrow : Line of feathers above the eye.
Eyelid : Skin-fold covering the eye.
Face : Front part of the head.
Facial discs : Rounded, earlike areas on the face.
Feet : Terminal part of the leg.
Flank : Area between the belly and the wings, more posterior.
Flank stripe : Band on the flanks.
Flight feathers : Primaries and secondaries.
Forehead : Part of the face above the eyes.
Foreneck : Front part of the neck.
Frontal shield : Extension of the bill onto the forehead.
Gape : Base of the bill where the mandibles join.
Gonys : Lowermost ridge on lower mandible.
Gorget : Iridescent throat feathers on a hummingbird.
Greater secondary coverts : Feathers overlying bases of secondaries.
Gular region : Between the chin and the foreneck.
Head : Upper part of the body.
Head stripes : Bold lines on the head.
Hindhead : Rear portion of crown.
Hindneck : Back of the neck.
Horns : Paired contour feathers arising from head.
Inner primaries : Group of primaries closest to the body.
Inner secondaries : Group of secondaries closest to the body.
Inner wing : Shoulder, secondaries and secondary coverts.
Iris : Colored part of eye.
Jugulum : Front part of the neck.
Knee : Joint in the middle part of the leg.
Leading edge of wing : Front edge of the wing in flight.
Leg : Limb used for supporting the bird.
Lesser secondary coverts : Feathers overlying bases of median secondary coverts.
Lore : Area between the eye and the bill.
Lower mandible : Lower part of the bill.
Lower mandibular tomia : Cutting edges of lower mandible.
Malar stripe : Area at the sides of the chin.
Mandibular ramus : Prong-like, posterior projection from bill.
Mantle : Upper surface of the wings and the back.
Marginal coverts : Feathers overlying bases of median secondary coverts.
Median line : Stripe through the crown.
Median secondary coverts : Feathers overlying bases of greater secondary coverts.
Mustache : Area at the sides of the chin.
Mouth : Cavity bounded by the bill.
Nape : Back of the neck.
Nasal canthus : Anterior corner of eye.
Nasal fossa : Depression in which nostril is located.
Neck : Part connecting the head to the main part of the body.
Neck patch : Inflatable sac on neck used by males in courtship display.
Nictitating membrane : Translucent, vertical fold under the eye lid.
Nostril : External naris.
NOcciput : Rear portion of crown.
Operculum : Swollen structure in pigeons overarching the nostril.
Outer primaries : Group of primaries farthest from the body.
Outer secondaries : Group of secondaries farthest from the body.
Outer tail feathers : Part of the tail farthest from the center.
Outer wing : Alula and primaries.
Patagial mark : Dark patch on leading edge of underside of inner wing.
Pelagic : Living on the open ocean rather than coastal or inland bodies of water
Pinnae : Projecting feathers.
Plumes : Large, conspicuous, showy, feathers.
Primaries : Flight feathers attached to the "hand."
Primary coverts : Feathers protecting and covering the primaries.
Primary numbering : System for assigning a number to each primary.
Pupil : Contractile aperture in iris.
Rectrices : Conspicuous feathers forming posterior margin of tail.
Remiges : See primaries and secondaries.
Rictal bristles : Stiffened feathers near bill.
Rictus : Base of the bill where the mandibles join.
Ruffs : Fringe of feathers growing on the neck.
Rump : Area between the uppertail coverts and the back.
Scapulars : Area of feathers between the back and the wings.
Secondaries : Flight feathers attached to the "elbow."
Secondary coverts : Feathers protecting and covering the secondaries.
Shoulder : Feathers overlying bases of median secondary coverts.
Side : Area between the belly and the wing.
Side of neck : Area of neck between foreneck and hindneck.
Spectacle : Eye ring and supraloral line together.
Speculum : Highly colored area on secondaries of several ducks.
Subterminal band : Stripe before tip of tail.
Superciliary line : Line of feathers above the eye.
Supercilium : Line of feathers above the eye.
Supraloral line : Line of feathers above the lore.
Tail : Feathers extending from the rear of the bird.
Tail coverts : Under and uppertail coverts.
Tail numbering : System for assigning a number to each tail feather.
Tarsus : Part of the leg between the knee and the foot.
Temporal canthus : Posterior corner of eye.
Terminal band : Stripe at tip of tail.
Tertiaries : Feathers adjoining the secondaries.
Throatv : Front part of the neck.
Throat patch : Front part of the neck.
Tibia : Part of the leg above the knee.
Toe : Digit attached to the feet.
Trailing edge of wing : Rear edge of the wing in flight.
Underparts : Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
Undertail coverts : Feathers covering underside of base of tail.
Underwing : Underside of wing.
Upper mandible : Upper part of the bill.
Upper mandibular tomia : Cutting edges of upper mandible.
Upperparts : Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Uppertail coverts : Feathers covering upperside of base of tail.
Upperwing : Upperside of wing.
Vent : Opening of the cloaca or anus.
Whisker : Area at the sides of the chin.
Wing : Moveable feathered appendage.
Wing bars : Pale tips of greater and median secondary coverts.
Wing coverts : Primary and secondary coverts.
Wing lining : Median, lesser and marginal coverts on underwing.
Wing stripe : Paler area at base of flight feathers.
Wingpit : Ventral area between the body and the wing.
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