Cindy Koepp

Writing on the Edge

The Bird's Word

Words About Birds

Posted by Cindy on January 8, 2014 at 3:00 PM

  We birds are special creatures. Even humans recognize that. Those who keep birds, particularly parrots have come up a with some unique words just for parrots.  I’ll teach you some. There are many more, but we'll start with these. Okay?

AG -- African Grey comes in Congo (CAG) and Timneh (TAG) varieties.  Generally good at speaking and singing and whistling, but can be very shy.  Yes, I am a TAG.  TAGs are a little smaller and a little darker than CAGs, but we're no less intelligent.


B&G
-- a Blue and Gold macaw. Big bird. Lots of beak.


Beak grinding
-- v. to scrape the lower beak against the upper one to show contentment


Blood feather
-- n. a new feather still in its sheath and filled with blood.  Really hurts when you hit it on something. Ouch!


Budgie
-- a budgerigar, either English (larger, look like they’re wearing a football helmet) or American (smaller)


Cock
-- a boy bird. I understand from my human that "cock" means something else to humans, too, but get your head out of the anatomy book. We're talking birds here.


Cockies
-- Australian parrots, either cockatoos or cockatiels, They seem to enjoy the attention of performing and can be rather funny.


Crest
-- n. decorative feathers on the head of some birds.  Don't look for one on my head. AGs don't have one.  Now cockies, yes.  They do.


D2
-- Ducorps cockatoo, smaller, and -- some say -- quieter.  I wouldn't know. I've never met one in the feather.


Down
-- n. soft, fuzzy feathers to keep a bird warm


Feather dust
-- n. broken down feathers and sheaths discarded when the bird fluffs


Fid
-- n. pl-- fildren-- A bird, particularly a parrot, who has adopted a human.  Derived from f(eathered)+(k)id. Plural--  f(eathered)+(ch)ildren


Fluff
-- v. to erect feathers either to shake out feather dust or to demonstrate aggression or dominance.  Until you learn how to tell the difference, approach with caution or risk losing fingers.


Flup
-- v. the action of slightly raising one or both wings without unfurling them then snapping the wing hard against the body, usually in preparation for sleep. You don't have wings, so I just don't think I could explain to you why we flup.


G2
-- Goffin cockatoo, very small, relative to some of the others.


Headbang
-- syn. Beak bang v. striking the beak on a surface to declare territory – unique to male birds and humans at concerts


Hen
-- n. a girl bird, not just of the chicken variety.


Hy
-- a hyacinthine macaw, very, very, very big, lots of blue, some yellow, BIG beak.


M2
-- Moluccan cockatoo, kind of peachy color, and loud! Wow...


Molt or moult
-- v. to systematically lose and regrow feathers


Pi
-- any variety of pionus, a small Central or South American parrot like a pint-sized Amazon.  You can tell a pi by the bright pink or red feathers under the tail.  I have no idea what Greek letters and 3.14159 ... has to do with South American parrots.  You'll have to figure that one out.


Preen
-- v. to straighten feathers and spread small amounts oil on them from a special gland near our tail.


Primaries
-- n. the longest, outer 10 flight feathers, the outermost 5 of which are used for most of the power and maneuverability of flight.


Ruffle
-- v. to flutter the tail.  See also “fluff”


SC2
-- Sulfur-crested cockatoo, comes in Greater (GSC2) and Lesser (LSC2) varieties. Not as big as an M2, but still pretty incredibly loud.


Secondaries
-- n. the 2nd 10 longest flight feathers, mostly used for lift


Sheath
-- a thin but firm shell for a growing feather, removed by preening when the feather is ready


Strut
-- v. a fluffed up, low walking posture pionuses use when declaring territory


Tertiaries
-- n. the last few flight feathers that finish the airfoil between the wing and body


‘Tiel
-- any variety of cockatiel


'Too
or 'Toot-- any variety of cockatoo


U2
-- Umbrella cockatoo, The same size as the M2, and like the M2 their crest is not curled away from the head. However, U2s are solid white.  Apparently you humans have named a boat and a music group after them.  Good choice on the music group. U2s, like most 'Toos, like to sing, dance, and perform, so I'm told.  Not sure why you picked a U2 to name a boat after.


Vulture
-- v. to stare at something usually in preparation to eat or play with it


WCP
-- White-capped pionus, a small, colorful breed


‘Zon
-- Any variety of Amazon, a stocky South American parrot.  Some of them talk and sing about as proficiently as the average AG.


See? Birds are special and have their own special terms. We have special words for you humans, too, and some day, I’ll figure out how to spell them with your alphabet.

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