- A species whose normal range is in another area, and has appeared in a given
area only a very few times.
Auriculars - Feather covering the ear area and the area immediately
around it; often distinctively colored. Also called ear coverts.
Boreal Forest - The northern coniferous forest belt stretching from
Alaska to Newfoundland; also called the taiga.
Breeding Plumage - A coat of feathers worn by many birds during the
breeding season; often more brightly colored than the winter plumage.
Casual - A species whose normal range is in another area, but has
appeared in a given area somewhat more frequently than accidentals.
Cere - A fleshy, featherless area surrounding the nostrils of hawks,
falcons. piegons, and a few other groups of birds.
Circumpolar - Of or inhabiting the Artic (or Antartic) regions in both
the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
Clutch - A set of eggs laid by one bird.
Colonial - Nesting in groups of colonies rather than in isolated pairs.
Cosmopolitan - Worldwide in distribution, or at least occuring in all
continents except Antarctica.
Coverts - Small feathers that overlie or cover the bases of the large
flight feathers of the wings and tail, or that cover an area or structure such
as ear coverts.
Crest - A tuft of elongated feathers on the crown.
Crown - The top of the head.
Cryptic - Form or covering that serves to conceal.
Cup Nest - A nest built or woven in a cup shape.
Domed Cup - A cup nest completely covered or arched over.
Eclipse plumage - A dull-colored coat of feathers acquired immediately
after the breeding season by most ducks and worn for a few weeks; it is
followed in males by a more brightly colored plumage.
Ecosystem - An ecological unit consisting of interrelationships between
animals, plants and their environments.
Eyebrow stripe - A conspicuous strip of color arching above, but not
including, the eye.
Eye-stripe - A stripe that runs horizontally from the base of the bill
through the eye.
Field mark - A characteristic of color, pattern, or structure usefull
in distinguishing a species in the field.
Flight feathers - The long, well-developed feathers of the wings and
tail, used during flight. The flight feathers of the wings are divided into
primaries, secondaries, and tertials. See also rectrix.
Frontial shield - A fleshy, featherless, and often brightly colored
area on the forehead of jacanas, gallinules, and a few other groups of birds.
Gorget - A patch of brightly colored feathers on the chin or throat of
certain birds, such as male Hummingbirds.
Immature - A young bird not under parental care but not fully adult in
appearance; a juvenile.
Lek - A gathering place where males of some species of birds, such as
Greater Prairie Chicken, converge and preform courtship displays in a group,
rather than courting females individually. females visit the Lek to mate, but
nesting is generally done elsewhere.
Lore - The space between the eye and the base of the bill, sometimes
distinctively colored. Mandible - One of the two parts of a birds bill, Upper
a nd lower
Mantle - The back of the bird with the upper surface of the wings.
Molt - the process of shedding and replacing feathers; usually after
breeding and before summer migration.
Mustache - A colored streak running from the base of the bill back
along the side of the throat.
Naris - The external nostril.
Pelagic - Of or inhabiting the open ocean.
Phase - One of several distinctive plumages worn by certain species,
such as the Screech Owl and some herons and hawks, irrespective of age, sex,
or season. also called morph.
Platform nest - A large, flat-surfaced nest built of sticks and similsr
Plume - A feather larger or longer than the feathers around it.
Primaries - The outer most and longest flight feathers on a birds wing.
Primary feather will range from 9 to 11 feathers per wing. The number of
primaries is fixed within a given species.
Primary Feathers - The outer most and longest flight feathers on a
birds wing. Primary feather will range from 9 to 11 feathers per wing. The
number of primaries is fixed within a given species.
Race - A geographical population of a species that is slightly
different from other populations; a subspecies.
Range - The geographical area or areas inhabited by a species.
Raptor - A bird of prey.
Rectrix - A long flight feather of the tail.
Resident - Remaining in one area all year. Non-migratory.
Riparian - Of or inhabiting the banks of a river or stream.
Secondaries - The large flight feathers located in a series along the
rear edge of the wing, Immediately inward from the primaries.
Scapulars - A group of feathers on the shoulder of a bird, along the
Scrape - A shallow depression made by a bird on the ground to serve as
Scratching - area of disturbed ground debris where birds were
looking for food.
Shoulder - The point where the wing meets the body.
Spatulate - Shovel or Spoon shaped. Used ot describe the bill of
Speculum - A distinctively colored area on the wing of a bird,
especially the metallic patch on the secondaries of some ducks.
Spur - The claw on the back of Tarsus of some birds legs. (eg. Wild
Subalpine - The forest or other vegetation immediately below the
treeless, barren alpine zone on the high mountains. The area just below
Subspecies - A geographical population of a species that is slightly
different from other populations of that species. Also called a race.
Taiga - The northern coniferous forest belt stretching from Alaska to
Newfoundland; also called Boreal Forest.
Talon - The claw of a bird of prey.
Tarsus - The lower part of a birds legs that is featherless on most
Territory - An area defended by a bird, thought of as it's own.
Tertials - The innermost flight feathers of a birds wing. Those that
are closet to it's body. Sometimes called tertiaries.
Tules - Certain species of bulrushes abundant in California.
Window - A translucent area in the wing of certain birds visible from
below during flight. (eg. Red-shoulder Hawk)
Wing bar - A conspicuous crosswise wing mark.
Wing Stripe - A conspicuous mark running along the opened wing.
Winter plumage - A coat of feathers worn by many birds during the
non-breeding season. The winter plumage is often less brightly colored than
the breeding plumage.