USGS logo PWRC web-site link USGS web-site link
[Link to USGS] [Link to PWRC] [USGS accessibility statement]
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 02:44AM

Patuxent Bird Glossary

Please cite this page as:

Gough, G.A., Sauer, J.R. Patuxent Bird Glossary. 1997. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/Glossary/glossary.html

The photographs are used with permission of the authors. Do not copy photographs without their permission! For a list of photographers click here.

Comments and suggestions for improvement can be emailed to: Gregory_Gough@usgs.gov


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U W
abdomen
Ventral part of the bird. Synonym(s): belly. In picture it is referred to as belly.
alula
Three feathers springing from the base of the primaries. Synonym(s): alular quills.
alular quill coverts
Feathers overlying the bases of alula. No picture yet.
alular quills
Three feathers springing from the base of the primaries. Synonym(s): alula. In picture it is referred to as alula.
auricular
Area around ear opening. Synonym(s): ear patch.
axillary
Ventral area between the body and the wing. Synonym(s): wingpit.
back
Dorsal part of the bird.
BBS
Breeding Bird Survey. This survey is typically performed in June by volunteers on over 4000 bird counts. The counts are done by vehicle during the morning. Many nocturnal or less vocal species are not well surveyed by the BBS. Data from this survey is used to generate the BBS maps.
belly
Ventral part of the bird. Synonym(s): abdomen.
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.
CBC
Christmas Bird Count. This survey is performed in one calendar day any time from mid-December to early January by volunteers. Birds are counted in an area with a 15 mile radius. Data from this survey is used to generate the CBC maps.
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.
collar
Rear portion of crown. Synonym(s): nape, hindneck. In picture it is referred to as hindneck.
comb
Colored area over eye found in males.
commissure
Base of the bill where the mandibles join. Synonym(s): gape, rictus. In picture it is referred to as gape.
crest
Tuft on the head.
crissum
Feathers covering underside of base of tail. Synonym(s): undertail coverts. In picture it is referred to as undertail coverts.
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". No picture yet.
ear patch
Area around ear opening. Synonym(s): auricular. In picture it is referred to as auricular.
ears
Rounded, earlike areas on the face. Synonym(s): facial discs. In picture it is referred to as facial discs.
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. Synonym(s): supercilium, superciliary line. In picture it is referred to as supercilium.
eyelid
Skin-fold covering the eye. No picture yet.
face
Front part of the head.
facial discs
Rounded, earlike areas on the face. Synonym(s): ears.
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. Synonym(s): throat, jugulum, throat patch.
frontal shield
Extension of the bill onto the forehead.
gape
Base of the bill where the mandibles join. Synonym(s): commissure, rictus.
gonys
Lowermost ridge on lower mandible.
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. Synonym(s): occiput.
hindneck
Back of the neck. Synonym(s): nape, collar.
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. Synonym(s): foreneck, throat, throat patch. In picture it is referred to as foreneck.
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. Synonym(s): marginal coverts, shoulder.
lore
Area between the eye and the bill.
lower mandible
Lower part of the bill.
lower mandibular tomia
Cutting edges of lower mandible.
malar streak
Area at the sides of the chin. Synonym(s): whisker, moustache. In picture it is referred to as whisker.
mandibular ramus
Prong-like, posterior projection from bill. No picture yet.
mantle
Upper surface of the wings and the back.
marginal coverts
Feathers overlying bases of median secondary coverts. Synonym(s): lesser secondary coverts, shoulder. In picture it is referred to as lesser secondary coverts.
median line
Stripe through the crown.
median secondary coverts
Feathers overlying bases of greater secondary coverts.
moustache
Area at the sides of the chin. Synonym(s): whisker, malar streak. In picture it is referred to as whisker .
mouth
Cavity bounded by the bill. No picture yet.
nape
Back of the neck. Synonym(s): hindneck, collar. In picture it is referred to as hindneck.
nasal canthus
Anterior corner of eye. No picture yet.
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. No picture yet.
nostril
External naris.
occiput
Rear portion of crown. Synonym(s): hindhead. In picture it is referred to as hindhead.
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
pileum
Top of the head extending from the base of the bill to the nape
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. Synonym(s): gape, commissure. In picture it is referred to as gape.
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. Synonym(s): lesser secondary coverts, marginal coverts. In picture it is referred to as lesser 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.
suborbital ring
Eyelids. No picture yet.
subterminal band
Stripe before tip of tail. No picture yet.
superciliary line
Line of feathers above the eye. Synonym(s): supercilium, eyebrow. In picture it is referred to as supercilium.
supercilium
Line of feathers above the eye. Synonym(s): eyebrow, superciliary line.
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. No picture yet.
terminal band
Stripe at tip of tail.
tertiaries
Feathers adjoining the secondaries.
throat
Front part of the neck. Synonym(s): foreneck, jugulum, throat patch. In picture it is referred to as foreneck.
throat patch
Front part of the neck. Synonym(s): foreneck, throat, jugulum. In picture it is referred to as foreneck.
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. Synonym(s): crissum.
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.
whisker
Area at the sides of the chin. Synonym(s): moustache, malar streak.
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. Synonym(s): axillary. In picture it is referred to as axillary.
wrist
Area at base of the primaries.

Patuxent Bird Population Studies
Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter