Wednesday, June 02, 2010


nidifugous \nye-DIFF-yuh-gus\ adjective
: leaving the nest soon after hatching

Example sentence:
"Little is known about the mortality of nidifugous shorebird chicks." (Hans Schekkerman, et al., Journal of Ornithology, January 2009)

Did you know?
"Nidifugous" hatched from the Latin words "nidus," meaning "nest," and "fugere," meaning "to flee." Its contrasting word "nidicolous," meaning "reared for a time in a nest," combines "nidus" with the English combining form "-colous" ("living or growing in or on"). Another relevant term is "precocial." A precocial bird is capable of a high degree of independent activity as soon as it emerges from the egg. While all nidifugous birds are also necessarily precocial, some nidicolous birds are also precocial -- that is, they are capable of leaving the nest soon after hatching, but instead they stick around. Other nidicolous birds are "altricial," which is to say they are hatched in a very immature and helpless condition and require care for some time.

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