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Hatched or born with the eyes open, a covering of down or hair, and the ability to search for food. Used of birds and mammals.

[From New Latin praecocēs, precocial birds, from pl. of Latin praecox, premature; see precocious.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Zoology) (of the young of some species of birds after hatching) covered with down, having open eyes, and capable of leaving the nest within a few days of hatching
(Zoology) a precocial bird
[C19: see precocious]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(prɪˈkoʊ ʃəl)

active and able to move freely from birth or hatching and requiring little parental care (opposed to altricial).
[1870–75; precoci (ous) + -al1]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.precocial - (of hatchlings) covered with down and having eyes open; capable of leaving the nest within a few days
altricial - (of hatchlings) naked and blind and dependent on parents for food
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The sengi is an Afrotheria (a base group in mammalian radiation) that leads a strictly insectivorous lifestyle (Rathbun, 2005) and is reputed to exhibit a wide range of olfaction-dependent behaviors including social monogamy, lack of nest use, absentee maternal care of neonates and production of small precocial litters (Rathbun, 2005, 2009).
For example: baby hares, called leverets, are precocial. That is, they are able to fend for themselves straight after birth unlike baby rabbits that are born blind and need time to 'set eyes on the world'.
Ontogeny of energy and carbohydrate utilisation of the precocial avian embryo and hatchling.
From the very start, the students are mesmerized by the antics of the precocial chicks.
1990), although the young are precocial, they stay with their mother for a long time, as their mother is their only food source and protects them from predators.
The precocial chicks, however, are vulnerable to deermice as they make their way to the sea (Gaston 1992).
In mammals that bear precocial young like agouti (Smythe, 1978), maintaining maternal contact to learn foraging patterns may be more important than the energy demands and nutritional constraints during lactation (Pond, 1977), suggesting that lactation and suckling may not play important roles when compared to altricial animals.
Parental quality and egg size affect chick survival in a precocial bird, the lapwing Vanellus vanellus.
In precocial birds, some individuals shorten incubation times for synchronous hatching, and show reduced motor skills (Vince and Chinn 1971, Cannon et al.
The gestation period in agouti is about three and a half months, giving birth to two precocial young (Brown, 1936; Roth-Kolar, 1957; Nieuwendijk, 1980; Sousa et al., 2012; Fortes et al., 2013).
Awardees were (in no particular order): Kate Bell, PhD student, Texas State University, "Exploration of the evolutionary landscape of chemical sequestration using a model system," advisor, Chris Nice; Lynne Beaty, PhD student, Oklahoma State University, "The latent effects of early life experience on frog behavior," advisor, Barney Luttbeg; Justin Agan, PhD Student, Oklahoma State University, "Precocial sexual selection in Crotaphytus collaris: a field experiment," advisor, Stan Fox; Young Zhou, PhD student, Texas A&M, "Woody encroachment of Prosopis glandulosa into the Rio Grande Plains: reconstruction of vegetation dynamics from a landscape-scale 3-dimensional pattern of soil S13C," advisor, Thomas W.
Species were confirmed breeding if we observed nests, dependent fledglings, precocial young, nesting material carries, food carries, fecal sac carries, copulation or distraction displays (e.g., killdeer, Charadrius vociferous, broken wing display).