Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Birds Parts, Terms and Uses.

Buffy malars, no primary projection, white supercillium? these are all terms heard coming from the mouth of any birder at some point in time, but what does it all mean? These are all terms for different parts of the body that may be used to point out a field mark. Below is a White-throated Sparrow, which isn't common here in Colorado but their facial patterns are nicely defined.

Primary and Wing Projection can be a confusing set of terms because they both relate to the length of the primaries but the object of comparison isn't the same. Primary projection is the length of the primaries. Some birds have shorter primaries than others. Wing projection is how far the wing goes past the tail. The long wing projection (the wing going past the end of the tail) would be one indicator of this being a Swainson's Hawk. Its also good to make note of the Cere, which is the fleshy yellow spot just above the beak. This is present on all raptors.
Feather group names can be important in certain situations. The photo bellow is an exotic species, the Mandarin Duck, spreading its wings showing us all those lovely coverts. 

The black lores on this bird tell us its a male Yellow-breasted Chat
An eye ring is a white outline around the eye.
 They can be found in some flycatchers,
 warbler, kinglets and many more.
This McGillivray's Warbler is showing a broken eye ring.

Notice the complete eye ring on this Field Sparrow
These are just a few of the really common ones if you can't read one of the photos let me know and I'll enlarge it. There are many more terms that can be applied to parts of the bird that aren't used in everyday situations but are still interesting. If anyone is interested in knowing some more specific terms I can create a part 2.
Thanks for reading!

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