What to Expect – Altricial vs Precocial

Songbirds and most seabirds

Songbirds and most seabirds have altricial young, meaning that the newly hatched birds are blind, featherless, and helpless. Immediately after hatching, altricial birds can do little more than open their mouths to beg for food. They remain in the nest where the parents can feed and protect them while they continue to develop. For the first week of life, most altricial birds cannot control their own body temperature and must be constantly brooded (kept warm) by their parents. By the end of the first week, their eyes are usually open and their feathers are beginning to emerge. During this period, nestlings can experience remarkable growth by doubling their body weight several times!

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Altricial young

Precocial species, such as ducks and many shorebirds, are born fully feathered, mobile, and with eyes open. Incubation periods are longer for precocial birds than altricial birds, allowing for increased embryonic development in the egg, and therefore they have relatively advanced motor and sensory functions at hatching.

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“Quack, quack!” Said Mama Duck.”

“Quack, quack! Yourself,” mimicked Harriett sardonically.

About Harriett Raptor

Eight-year-old mother of five, fluent in telepathy, a possessor of genetic memory, a genius and scholar. Harriett holds the equivalent of a PhD in philosophy, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and the Homo sapiens’ concept of the humanities. Her understanding of mathematics and logic are beyond Homo sapiens’ current comprehension. Harriett is a thinker, a wise osprey, especially distinguished for her expertise in the Homo sapiens problem.
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2 Responses to What to Expect – Altricial vs Precocial

  1. Vicky PM7 says:

    Well, I’ll be darned!!! Never knew, thanks, Harriet

  2. “I did not know you had a a garment in need of sewing. Was it your sock?”…………. Here is something else I bet you never knew. It will be in today’s post.

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