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illustration Altricial



Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 19th century


(Of a young bird or other animal) Hatched or born helpless and requiring significant parental care. Often contrasted with precocial.


(Of a particular species) Having altricial young.

Examples of Altricial in a sentence

"The birds were altricial, so one of the hatchling’s parents was always on guard at the nest."

"The mother perched attentively over her baby’s stroller like an altricial bird tending to a chick."

About Altricial

“Altricial” is related to the Latin “altrices,” plural of “altrīx,” meaning “female nourisher.”

Did you Know?

Altricial birds are those whose babies require significant care and feeding upon hatching. Birds born this way include songbirds, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. Not all birds are altricial. Waterfowl, for example, are precocial — that is, born with their eyes open, a layer of down, and the capacity to leave the nest quickly. By contrast, altricial birds are born with closed eyes and virtually no feathers. They are unable to keep warm independently and can’t hold their heads up, making them completely reliant on their parents for survival.

illustration Altricial

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