Bird Topography defines landmarks on different species of
birds. Ornithologists (bird researchers) have named each
unique part or characteristic of birds. With so many species
of birds to identify, the task is daunting for beginners and
seasoned birders. Becoming comfortable with bird landmarks
takes practice, but is necessary to identify specific species.
Glossary of Bird Terms
Alternate - Non-breeding plumage in birds with
Anisodactyl - refers the position of the toes -
3-face forward and 1-faces back. Most common
Basic - Breeding plumage.
Coverts - The small feathers covering the bases of other, usually larger,
Crest - A tuft of elongated feathers on the crown.
Crown - The uppermost surface of the head.
Eye-ring - A fleshy or feathered ring around the eye.
Eye-stripe - A stripe running horizontally from the base of the bill
through the eye.
Flight Feathers - The long feathers of the wing and tail used for flight.
The flight feathers of the wing are composed of primaries, secondaries, and
Lore - The area between the base of the bill and eye.
Mandible - One of the two parts (upper and lower) of a bird's bill.
Mantle - The back and the upper wing surfaces.
Mask - An area of contrasting color on the front of the face and around
Morph - One of two or more distinct color types within the same species,
occurring independently of age, sex, season, and geography. AKA: phase.
Nape - The back of the head and the hindneck.
Rump - The lower back, just above the tail.
Zygodactyl - refers the position of the toes - 2-face forward and 2-face
The information contained herein was written and illustrated
by Alison Sheehey ©
2002. All rights reserved.