Bird Word: breeding plumage

  • Breeding plumage: feathers that are usually more brightly coloured than non-breeding feathers and which appear during the breeding season.

Just when beginner birders think they have a handle on identifying the birds common around their home and immediate district, along comes the breeding season. Here in Australia that is often late winter, through spring and into summer, from August through to about February, though this differs greatly between species. Some species seem to be able to breed around the year, and do so.

The problem this poses for the newbie birder is that some species take on quite different plumage patterns. The male Superb Blue Wren, for example, takes on a brilliant coat of colours during breeding.

It’s all rather confusing, actually.

Just another reason to have at least one good field guide, and to study it carefully.

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


3 Responses to “Bird Word: breeding plumage”

  1. Snail says:

    Not to mention the subtle variation of breeding plumage in different subspecies and eclipse plumage.

    There’s so much to know. And that just makes the pursuit even more fascinating.

  2. Trevor says:

    You are so right. I believe that it will be a lifetime of learning – several actually. And that is just for Australian birds. Goodness – there’s another 9000 (give or take a few hundred) other species out there in this big world waiting for us to discover and learn about. Eech! It makes my heart flutter in anticipation and my aching head spin in confusion.

  3. […] Egretta novaehollandiae, a common bird throughout Australia. This bird is in breeding plumage. Breeding Plumage are usually more colourful feathers during breeding season, believed to attract the opposite sex. […]

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