Bird Word: Colonial

  • Colonial: species of birds that roost or nest in communal groups, or colonies, are said to live in colonial groups.

Some species roost alone, some roost in small groups and yet others roost in large groups, or colonies. The same is true of nesting; many nest alone, some nest in groups while others nest in large colonies, sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands.

Those that roost or nest in colonies include the penguins, cormorants, many species of ibis, pelicans, stilts, avocets, terns and gulls. Some of these species feed alone but colonial nesting and roosting species often feed in large groups as well. For example, it is quite common in parts of Australia to see hundreds of Straw-Necked Ibis and White Ibis feeding together in the same paddock or dairy flat. Likewise, thousands of stilts and other wading birds are often seen in shallow water on estuaries or tidal flats.
Photo: The Black-Winged Stilt is just one of many species of bird that roosts, nests and feeds in large colonial groups.

For more in this series of articles check out the Glossary of Bird Words here.

Black-Winged Stilt

Black-Winged Stilt


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