This article describes the various external parts of a bird, also known as topography.
Size refers to the total length of the bird from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail. For example, the Broad-winged Hawk is 16 inches (41 cm) long. However, dead birds may appear longer because they were stretched out with "reasonable force" (e.g. a live Western Scrub-Jay is 10 inches (25 cm) and a dead bird may appear to be 11.5 inches (29 cm).
Plumage refers to the bird's feathers.
Parts of the head/bill
A bird's bill (or beak or rostrum, adj. rostral) is divided into two parts: lower and upper mandibles. The bill can be curved (e.g. avocets), decurved (e.g. sicklebills), curved to the left as in the wrybill (the only bird known to be like that) or as in the crossbill, their bills are criss-crossed. The top of a bird's bill is known as a culmen.
The bird's nostrils are also called nares. There are specific names for the nares, such as the cere (SEER) - found in parrots, hawks, falcons and owls or operculum (OP-err-CU-lum), which is found in pigeons. Sometimes the nares are see-through which is known perforate. Some seabirds in the order Procellariiformes (pro-sell-ah-rye-ih-FOR-meez ) have tubelike nostrils
The line of feathers extending from the base of the bill to above and behind the eyes (including the supraloral feathers) is known as the superciliary (is prominent in birds such as orioles) . In some birds, behind the eyes is a postocular stripe found in birds such as hummingbirds . When the postocular stripe and superciliary are the same colour, and set off from the surrounding feathers, it forms an eye line .
In birds such as the wattle-eyes, they have an area around their eyes called a eye-wattle, which is brightly coloured red, greenish-yellow (yellow-bellied wattle-eye) blue or purple (female chestnut wattle-eye) .
Parts of the wing
Locations of topographic features
- ^ a b Dunn, Jon L. and Alderfer, Jonathan (2011). National Geographic Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic Society. ISBN 1426200722.
- ^ Zim, Herbert S.; Gabrielson, Ira N. and Irving, James Gordon (1956). Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds. Golden Press.
- ^ a b c d e f Garrigues, Richard and Dean, Robert (2007). The Birds of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical Publication. ISBN 9780801473739.
- ^ Terres, John K. (1980). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0394466519.
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- ^ Clark, William S.; Brian K. Wheeler (2011). Hawks of North America, 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 12. ISBN 0395670675. Cite uses deprecated parameter