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Related to altricial: precocial


Hatched or born with the eyes closed and with little or no down or hair, and requiring parental care. Used of birds and mammals.

[From Latin altrīx, altrīc-, feminine of altor, nourisher, from alere, to nourish; see al- in Indo-European roots.]


(Zoology) (of the young of some species of birds after hatching) naked, blind, and dependent on the parents for food
(Animals) an altricial bird, such as a pigeon
[C19: from New Latin altriciālis, from Latin altrix a nurse, from alere to nourish]


(ælˈtrɪʃ əl)

(of an animal species) helpless at birth or hatching and requiring parental care for a period of time (opposed to precocial).
[1870–75; < Latin altrīc-, s. of altrīx wet nurse, nourisher = (al(ere) to nourish (compare aliment) + -trīx -trix) + -al1]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.altricial - (of hatchlings) naked and blind and dependent on parents for foodaltricial - (of hatchlings) naked and blind and dependent on parents for food
precocial - (of hatchlings) covered with down and having eyes open; capable of leaving the nest within a few days
References in periodicals archive ?
Embryonic heart rate in altricial birds, the pigeon (Columba dommestica) and the bank swallow (Riparia riparia).
This allows the seals to dig subnivean lairs in snowdrifts over their breathing holes and remain hidden when they haul out to rest in cold weather and to give birth to altricial pups in spring (McLaren, 1958; Smith and Stirling, 1975; Stirling, 1977; Smith et al.
Among many altricial bird species, the young within a brood do not hatch simultaneously, but over a period of one or a few days (Clark and Wilson 1981, Magrath 1990, Stoleson and Beissinger 1995).
Their altricial cubs are born in mid-winter, with their eyes closed, and weighing only about 0.
The argument of Lack (1947, 1954) that clutch size in altricial birds is limited by food abundance has been tested in many species by providing parents with extra food.
They give birth to altricial young in mid-winter and occupy the den for three to four months following parturition.
Hatching asynchrony in altricial birds: nest failure and adult survival.
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) give birth in dens of ice and snow to protect their altricial young.
The few brood manipulation studies that have been conducted on noncolonial, altricial tropical species differed in whether or not parents were successful in raising enlarged broods (Mader 1982, Beissinger 1990), so more study is needed to establish similarities or differences between temperate and tropical birds in their responses to brood manipulation.
A negative correlation between fledging size and hatch date also occurred in small passerines with altricial young (Alatalo and Lundberg 1986, Price 1991), which was attributed to declining food abundance later in the breeding season.
A model of growth in altricial birds based on water content of the tissues.
A positive relationship exists between fledgling body mass and juvenile survival for some altricial (Krementz et al.