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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.]


(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]


(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]
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
References in periodicals archive ?
Because visual experience has been demonstrated as a powerful prenatal lateralizing influence in other studies of precocial birds, we hypothesized that prenatal visual experience would also prove to be a significant influence on postnatal motor asymmetry in domestic chicks.
Emus and other precocial birds have joints similar to those of Horner's dinosaurs, yet these birds can walk just after emerging from the egg.
One must recognize, however, that other systems, particularly the nervous and skeletal systems, also differ substantially between altricial and precocial birds (Starck 1993).