A Glossary of Ornithological Terms

Frugivorous Fruit-eating Mirror White spots in wing-tips, mainly of gulls
Fulvous Brownish-yellow Monotypic Of a single form with no subspecies
Game birds Pheasants, partridges and allied species Montane Pertaining to mountains
Gape Basal part of the beak (mainly for young birds and raptors) Monsoon Rainy season in India
Genera Plural of genus Morph One of several distinct types of plumage in the same species
Genus Group of related species Moult Seasonal shedding of plumage
Ghats Hills parallel to the east and west coast of India Nail Hook on tip of upper mandible
Gorget Band across upper chest Nape Back of neck
Granivorous Grain-eating Nares Nostril openings
Gregarious Sociable Living in communities or flocks Necklace Narrow line round neck
Gular pouch Loose area of skin extending from throat as in pelicans and hornbills Nictitating Membrane Transparent fold of skin forming a third eyelid
Gular stripe Narrow and often dark stripe running down from the centre of throat Nidicolous Chicks that remain in nests for a long duration after hatching
Guttural From the throat Nidifugous Chicks that leave the nests soon after hatching
Hackles Long and pointed neck feathers Nidification Relating to nests or nesting
Hawking Capturing insects in flight Nocturnal Active at night
Hepatic Rust or liver coloured plumage phase, mainly in female cuckoos Nomadic Species without specific territory except when breeding
Hood Dark-coloured head and throat Nominate First sub-species to be formally named
Hunting party Group of birds usually of different species, seeking food Non-passerine All order of birds except for Passerines
Hybridization Cross-breeding between two different species Notch Indentations in outline of feathers, wing or tail
Immature Plumage phases prior to adult Nuchal Crest Crest along back of neck
Incubate Giving warmth for eggs to hatch Nullah Dry or wet stream bed or ditch
Iris Coloured eye membrane surrounding pupil Nuptial Plumage Breeding plumage
Irruption Mass movement of a population from one place to another Ocelli Brightly-coloured ‘eye-like’ spots as on peacocks
Jheel Shallow lake or wetland Occipital Back of head
Jizz Essence or striking characteristics of a species Oology Study of bird’s eggs
Juvenile Immature bird immediately after leaving nest Orbital ring Narrow ring of skin or feathers round the eye
Lamellae Small stiff comb-like membrane on inner edge of bill used for sieving food Order Group of related families
Lanceolate Lance-shaped. Slim and pointed Paddy-fields Rice fields often flooded
Lantana Invasive aggressive shrub introduced to the region Paleartic Old World and arctic zone
Leading edge Front edge of wing Parasitic Deriving sustenance or taking advantage of others, like cuckoos laying eggs in other bird’s nest
Lek Sociable courtship gatherings Passerines Perching and song birds
Lobe Fleshy extensions to side-edges of toes of some birds Pectoral Breast area
Local Unevenly distributed with a region Pelagic Ocean-going
Loranthus Parasitical bush that grows on tress and frequented by flowerpeckers Pellet Indigested material regurgitated by owls
Lores Area between eye and bill base Phase Colour form of a species
Lump Treatment of one or more forms previously treated as distinct species as race of a single species Pied Black and white
Malar Stripe on side of throat Plumage Feathers of a bird
Mandible Each of the two parts of bill Plumes Long, showy feathers, acquired during the breeding season
Mangrove Coastal salt-resistant trees or bushes Polyandrous Female having more than one mate
Mantle Back, between wings Polygamous Male with more than one mate
Mask Dark plumage round eye and ear-coverts Polymorphic Taking several forms
Mesial Stripe Central throat stripe Postocular Area behind the eye
Migration Seasonal movement between distant places Precocial Young hatched sighted and downcovered, e.g. ducklings
  Predator Who feeds on other birds or animals
  Primaries Outer flight feathers in wing