SPONSORED BY THE LAURA MOORE CUNNINGHAM FOUNDATION

Birds of Prey: Glossary

A

amphibians
Cold blooded animals with smooth skin - salamanders, newts, frogs, toads
asymmetric
Not the same on each side of the body
atmospheric pollution
Pollution of the air
aves
the Latin word for birds; a special class of vertebrates

B

binocular vision
seeing only one object at a time; both eyes focus on the same object
bird of prey
a carnivorous bird (hawk, falcon, eagle, etc.) that kills and eats small mammals and other birds
botulism
Poisoning from spoiled food

C

carnivore
Meat eater
carrion
decaying flesh of a dead body
cere
fleshy area above the beak, where the nostrils of most birds are located
cold-blooded
animals that can only control their body temperatures by moving into warmer or cooler areas
concave
Wings that are flat or slightly curved on the bottom
cones
Cells of the eye sensitive to color
conserving energy
To keep from using energy by resting or gliding when possible
contour feathers
stiff feathers designed to cover the wings and body of a bird
convex
Wings that are curved on top
crop
a large sac between the esophagus and stomach that stores food until the bird is ready to begin digestion

D

diurnal
Daytime hunters
domestic
Any animal used by man - not wild
down feathers
fluffy feathers designed to help insulate and keep a bird warm
drag
anything that hinders or hampers the speed; something that pulls you down

E

electrocution
Injury or death from electricity
environmental contamination
Pollution of the environment
esophagus
Portion of the body that connects the mouth with the stomach

F

falconiformes
Related to falcons; hawks, osprey, eagles, etc.
fledge
the rearing of a young bird until it has grown its feathers and is able to fly and leave the nest
flight feathers
special contour feathers that help a bird get off the ground, move in the air, and land safely
foragers
Scavenge for food - eats discarded food
fovea
a rodless area of the retina enabling a bird of prey acute vision

G

gizzard
a special muscle of the stomach that helps the digestive process by grinding and crushing hard-to-digest food; acts like teeth

I

incubating
Keep eggs warm until hatching
insects
Small air breathing animal with three body parts
instinct
Comes by nature - not taught

K

keratin
a tough, fibrous protein; the basic substance of hair, nails, horns, feathers, shafts, etc.

M

mammals
animals that give milk to young and have hair
migration
The seasonal movement from one region to another
molt
to shed feathers, skin, horns, etc. before replacement with new growth
monocular vision
seeing two different objects at the same time; a different object per eye

N

nictitating membrane
a transparent third eyelid hinged at the lower lid of the eye of raptors, and closes laterally across the eye
nocturnal
Nighttime hunters

O

ornithologist
an individual that studies birds

P

parasites
Any living thing that lives in or on another for food
pectoral
Chest muscles attached to the wings
pellet
the unusable and undigested material that a bird cannot process for nutrients, and is regurgitated in the form of a pellet
pesticides
A chemical for the use of killing plant or animal pests
physique
Physical or body structure
predators
Any animal that hunts for its food
preening
a process that most birds do with an oil secreted from a special gland; involves rubbing the oil over its feathers to protect them

R

rapere
To seize or capture
raptor
of or belonging to a group of birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures, owls, etc.; Latin word meaning to seize or capture
regulations
laws
regurgitated
To vomit
reptiles
Animals that are cold blooded have scaly skin - snakes, lizards, turtles
rodents
Small nibbling animals; rats, mice, squirrels

S

shaft
the stem of a feather; the hollow tube that holds the feathers together and in place
sockets
Also called the orbit; the space in the skull in which the eye rests
stamina
The ability to endure
strigiformes
Scientific name for owls
symmetric
Found on both sides of the body

T

talons
the lethal weapons of raptors; powerful feet with toes (usually three or four) having sharp ends
tomial
The cutting edge of a bird's beak
transparent
Allows light through

V

vertebrates
an animal with a backbone or spinal column

W

warm-blooded
being able to control and maintain a constant body temperature even when the temperature of the environment changes
wings
either of the paired organs of flight of a bird, bat, insect, etc.
PBS
Find Us on TV

© 2014 Idaho Public Televison

Idaho State Board of Education, an agency of the State of Idaho