Glossary
Terminology Description
Terminology Description
Aberrant Abnormal or unusual
Accidental Vagrant
Adult mature, Capable of breeding
Aerial Making use of the open sky
Allopatric Relating to two or more related species whose range do not overlap
Altitudinal migrant Moving between high mountains and lower foothills
Altricial Blind and helpless when hatched
Apical Outer extremities, particularly of the tail
Aquatic Living on or in water
Arboreal Living in trees
Ashy Greyish Colour
Axillaries Underwing feathers at the base of the wings, forming ‘armpits’
Back Loosely applied to the mantle scapulars and rump
Banyan Type of fig tree
Barring ‘Sideway’ lines such as on tail or breast
Basal Innermost extremities, particularly of the tail or bill
Bheel Shallow lake or wetland
Biosphere The part of earth that is inhabited by life
Biotope Area of uniform environment, flora and fauna
Bristles Sensory feathers near beak
Brood Young hatched from a single clutch
Brood Parasitism Depositing of eggs by one species in the nest of an another
Buff Yellowish white with a hint of pale brown
Bund Manmade mud embankment
Canopy Leafy foliage of treetops
Cap Upper part of head
Carpal Bend of a closed wing, sometimes called shoulder
Casque Growth above bill of hornbills
Cere Patch of bare skin on upper base of bill of raptors
Cheek Term loosely applied to sides of head, below the eye or on ear coverts
Chevrons V shaped contrasting marks on wings or bands across breast
Cinnamon Light yellowish brown colour
Clutch Complete set of eggs laid by a single female
Collar Distinctive band of colour that encircles or partly encircles the neck
Colonial Roosting or nesting in groups
Confiding Not shy
Commensal Living together with man for mutual benefit
Coverts Small feathers on wings and base of tail
Covey Small group of partridges and allied species
Crepuscular Active at dusk (twilight) and dawn
Crest Extended feathers on head
Crop Pouch like enlargement of gullet in some birds where food is partially digested
Crown Upper part of head
Crown stripe Distinct line from forehead along centre of crown
Cryptic Hidden having protective colouring and/ or behaviour
Culmen Ridge on upper mandible of bill
Cursorial Ground running
Deciduous Trees that shed their leaves annually
Decurved Curving downwards
Diagnostic Sufficient to identify a species or subspecies
Dimorphic Having two forms of plumage
Distal Terminal or the outer end
Diurnal Active during daytime
Down Small soft feathers close to body of chicks
Drake Male duck
Drumming Rhythmic territorial hammering on trees by woodpeckers
Duars Forested areas south of eastern Himalayas
Earcoverts Feathers covering the ear opening. Often distinctly coloured
Eartufts Feathers protruding near ears
Echolocate Navigate by sound
Eclipse Plumage New dull plumage after breeding season, especially in ducks
Endemic Indigenous and confined to a place
Endangered Species facing high risk of extinction
Eurasian Of both Europe and Asia
Evergreen Forests that always have leaves
Eyering Contrasting ring around the eye
Eyestripe Stripe through eye
Extinct No longer in existence
Extirpated Locally extinct
Extralimital Not existing in the region
Facial Disc Heart shaped arrangement of feathers as in some owls and harriers
Fallow Cultivated land after cultivation and before ploughing
Family Specified group of genera
Forage Search for food
Ferruginous Rusty brown colour
Feral Escaped, and living and breeding in the wild
Filoplume Hair like feathers like in breeding egrets
Flank Side of body
Fledged Having just acquired feathers and ready to leave nest
Fledglings Young birds which have just acquired feathers
Flight feathers Primary and secondary wing feathers
Flushed When disturbed into flight at close quarters
Foreneck The lower throat
Form Sub species
Frons Forehead
Frugivorous Fruit eating
Fulvous Brownish yellow
Game birds Pheasants, partridges and allied species
Gape Basal part of the beak (mainly for young birds and raptors)
Genera Plural of genus
Genus Group of related species
Ghats Hills parallel to the east and west coast of India
Gorget Band across upper chest
Granivorous Grain eating
Gregarious Sociable Living in communities or flocks
Gular pouch Loose area of skin extending from throat as in pelicans and hornbills
Gular stripe Narrow and often dark stripe running down from the centre of throat
Guttural From the throat
Hackles Long and pointed neck feathers
Hawking Capturing insects in flight
Hepatic Rust or liver coloured plumage phase, mainly in female cuckoos
Hood Dark coloured head and throat
Hunting party Group of birds usually of different species, seeking food
Hybridization Cross breeding between two different species
Immature Plumage phases prior to adult
Incubate Giving warmth for eggs to hatch
Iris Coloured eye membrane surrounding pupil
Irruption Mass movement of a population from one place to another
Jheel Shallow lake or wetland
Jizz Essence or striking characteristics of a species
Juvenile Immature bird immediately after leaving nest
Lamellae Small stiff comb like membrane on inner edge of bill used for sieving food
Lanceolate Lance shaped. Slim and pointed
Lantana Invasive aggressive shrub introduced to the region
Leading edge Front edge of wing
Lek Sociable courtship gatherings
Lobe Fleshy extensions to side edges of toes of some birds
Local Unevenly distributed with a region
Loranthus Parasitical bush that grows on tress and frequented by flowerpeckers
Lores Area between eye and bill base
Lump Treatment of one or more forms previously treated as distinct species as race of a single species
Malar Stripe on side of throat
Mandible Each of the two parts of bill
Mangrove Coastal salt resistant trees or bushes
Mantle Back, between wings
Mask Dark plumage round eye and ear covert
Mesial Stripe Central throat stripe
Migration Seasonal movement between distant places
Mirror White spots in wing tips, mainly of gulls
Monotypic Of a single form with no subspecies
Montane Pertaining to mountains
Monsoon Rainy season in India
Morph One of several distinct types of plumage in the same species
Moult Seasonal shedding of plumage
Nail Hook on tip of upper mandible
Nape Back of neck
Nares Nostril openings
Necklace Narrow line round neck
Nictitating Membrane Transparent fold of skin forming a third eyelid
Nidicolous Chicks that remain in nests for a long duration after hatching
Nidifugous Chicks that leave the nests soon after hatching
Nidification Relating to nests or nesting
Nocturnal Active at night
Nomadic Species without specific territory except when breeding
Nominate First sub species to be formally named
Non passerine All order of birds except for Passerines
Notch Indentations in outline of feathers, wing or tail
Nuchal Crest Crest along back of neck
Nullah Dry or wet stream bed or ditch
Nuptial Plumage Breeding plumage
Ocelli Brightly coloured ‘eye like’ spots as on peacocks
Occipital Back of head
Oology Study of bird’s eggs
Orbital ring Narrow ring of skin or feathers round the eye
Order Group of related families
Paddy fields Rice fields often flooded
Paleartic Old World and arctic zone
Parasitic Deriving sustenance or taking advantage of others, like cuckoos laying eggs in other bird’s nest
Passerines Perching and song birds
Pectoral Breast area
Pelagic Ocean going
Pellet Indigested material regurgitated by owls
Phase Colour form of a species
Pied Black and white
Plumage Feathers of a bird
Plumes Long, showy feathers, acquired during the breeding season
Polyandrous Female having more than one mate
Polygamous Male with more than one mate
Polymorphic Taking several forms
Postocular Area behind the eye
Precocial Young hatched sighted and downcovered, e.g. ducklings
Predator Who feeds on other birds or animals
Primaries Outer flight feathers in wing
Race Sub species
Rachis Central shaft of a feather
Range Geographical area or areas inhabited by a species
Raptors Birds of prey and Vultures, excluding owls
Record Published, or otherwise broadcast, occurrence
Rectrices Tail feathers
Remiges The primaries and secondaries combined
Rictal Around the bill
Resident Non migratory and breeding in same place
Riparian Along creeks, streams, rivers and waterways
Roost Resting or sleeping space
Rufescent Inclining to redness
Rufous Reddish brown
Rump Lower back
Sal Dominant tree of North Indian forests
Sallies Short flights and returning to perch as in bee eaters and flycatchers
Salt pans Shallow reservoirs for drying out salt
Savanna Open flat land with grass and scattered bushes
Sedentary Staying in the same area throughout the year
Scalloped Curved markings on edges of feathers
Scapulars Feathers along edge of mantle
Scrape Shallow depression made by birds to serve as nest
Secondaries Inner wing feathers
Sedentary Confined with a particular area
Shaft Central stem of a feather, often hidden
Shank Bare parts of a leg
Sholas Small forests in SW Indian valleys
Shoulder Where the wing meets the body
Shorebird Long legged bird living near water
Skins Bird specimens prepared for scientific studies
Skulker Bird that mostly remains within vegetation cover
Slaty
Soar Rising flight on still extending wings using thermals
Speculum Area of colour on secondary feathers of wings
Streamers Long extensions to feathers, usually of tail
Spangles Distinctive white or shimmering spots in plumage
Species Groups of birds reproductively isolated from other such groups
Speculum Shiny, colourful patch on secondary feathers of the wing of some ducks
Storey Level of the tree or forest
Spur Sharp horny growth on legs of some birds
Straw Pale yellow colour
Streaks ‘Lenghtwise’ lines on breasts or tail
Streamers Long extension of tail feathers
Striated Marked with fine streaks
Sooty Blackish Colour
Sub adult Immature moulting into adult plumage
Sub montane Hills below highest mountains
Sub song Subdued version of normal territorial song
Subspecies Distinct form that does not have specific status
Subterminal band Broad band on outer part of feather
Supercilia Plural of supercilium
Supercilium Streak above eye
Symbiotic Interdependence between different species
Tail Streamers Elongated ribbon like tail feathers
Talons Strong sharp claws used to seize or kill prey
Tank Water reservoir
Tarsus Lower part of a bird’s legs
Taxonomy Science of classifying organisms
Teak Dominant tree of South Indian forests
Terai Alluvial strech of land south of the Himalayas
Terminal band Broad band on tip of feather or tail
Terrestrial Ground living
Tertials Innermost wing coverts, often covering secondaries
Totipalmate All four toes connected to a single web
Trailing edge Rear edge of wing
Underparts Under surface of a bird from throat to vent
Underwing Undersurface of a wing including the linings and flight feathers
Upperparts Upper surface of a bird including wings, back and tail
Upperstorey Canopy of a tree
Vagrant Accidental, irregular
Vent Undertail area
Ventral Undersurface of body
Vermiculations Wavy (worm like) markings
Vinaceous Red wine coloured warm pink
Voca mimicry Imitating the sounds of other birds
Waders Shorebirds. Usually, the smaller, longleggedwaterbirds
Washed Suffused with a particular colour
Wattle Bare skin, often coloured, on part of head
Web Skin stretched between toes
Wildfowl Ducks and geese
Wing bar visible line of colour at tip on wingcoverts
Wing coverts Small feathers on wing at base of primaries and secondaries
Wing span Length from one wing tip to the other when fully extended
Winter plumage Plumage seen during the nonbreeding winter months
Zygodactylous Having two toes directed forward and two backwards