April 10, 2011

Wing morph

I should have done this earlier, but here is a quick look at the basic terms for the different feathers on a bird wing. All passerines have 9 or 10 primaries and most have 6 secondaries and 3 tertials (which are actually just more secondaries with a special name). In this picture of a spotted towhee wing you can see that there are 9 primaries, 6 secondaries, and two visible tertials. The median coverts, the greater coverts, the tertials, the inner most secondary, and one of the primaries have been replaced, and are much blacker and fresh looking. This pattern is very indicative of a second year bird (one that hatched last summer).


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