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Glossary of Ornithology - Birds Terms
beginning with letter S
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saker Tweet Definition of saker Like Definition of saker on Facebook
  1. A falcon (Falco sacer) native of Southern Europe and Asia, also known as the peregrine falcon.
sanderling Tweet Definition of sanderling Like Definition of sanderling on Facebook
noun (pluralsanderlings)
  1. A small wading bird, Calidris alba, that breeds in the Arctic and winters on sandy shores and estuaries around the world. A type of stint.
sandhill crane Tweet Definition of sandhill crane Like Definition of sandhill crane on Facebook
noun (plural sandhill cranes)
  1. A bird.
sandpiper Tweet Definition of sandpiper Like Definition of sandpiper on Facebook
noun (pluralsandpipers)
  1. Any of various small wading birds of the family Scolopacidae.
sapsucker Tweet Definition of sapsucker Like Definition of sapsucker on Facebook
  1. a type of woodpecker (of the genus Sphyrapicus) that feeds mainly on the sap of trees
scapular Tweet Definition of scapular Like Definition of scapular on Facebook
  1. Of or pertaining to the scapula
scaup Tweet Definition of scaup Like Definition of scaup on Facebook
noun (plural or scaups)
  1. Either of two species of small diving duck, Aythya marila and Aythya affinis, native to the northern hemisphere.
  2. A bed or stratum of shellfish; scalp.
scops owl Tweet Definition of scops owl Like Definition of scops owl on Facebook
noun (wikipedia, European Scops Owl)
  1. a small European migratory owl, Otus scops, that winters in sub-Saharran Africa
screamer Tweet Definition of screamer Like Definition of screamer on Facebook
  1. One who screams.
  2. A member of the Anhimidaea, a small family of large, bulky birds with a small downy head, long legs and large feet, occurring only in South America.
seabird Tweet Definition of seabird Like Definition of seabird on Facebook
  1. any bird that spends most of its time in coastal waters or over the oceans
secondary Tweet Definition of secondary Like Definition of secondary on Facebook
  1. Succeeding next in order to the first; of second place, origin, rank, rank, etc.; not primary; subordinate; not of the first order or rate.
  2. Acting by deputation or delegated authority; as, the work of secondary hands.
  3. Possessing some quality, or having been subject to some operation (as substitution), in the second degree; as, a secondary salt, a secondary amine, etc. Cf. primary.
  4. (geology) Subsequent in origin; -- said of minerals produced by alteertion or deposition subsequent to the formation of the original rocks mass; also of characters of minerals (as secondary cleavage, etc.) developed by pressure or other causes.
  5. (zootomy) Pertaining to the second joint of the wing of a bird.
  6. (medicine) Dependent or consequent upon another disease; as, Bright's disease is often secondary to scarlet fever. (b) Occuring in the second stage of a disease; as, the secondary symptoms of syphilis.
secretary bird Tweet Definition of secretary bird Like Definition of secretary bird on Facebook
  1. A large bird of prey, Sagittarius serpentarius, native to Africa with very long legs and a crest of long feathers.
sedge Tweet Definition of sedge Like Definition of sedge on Facebook
  1. Any plant of the genus Carex, perennial, endogenous herbs, often growing in dense tufts in marshy places. They have triangular jointless stems, a spiked inflorescence, and long grasslike leaves which are usually rough on the margins and midrib. There are several hundred species.
serin Tweet Definition of serin Like Definition of serin on Facebook
noun (pluralserins)
  1. Any of various small finches in the genus Serinus, with largely yellow plumage.
shearwater Tweet Definition of shearwater Like Definition of shearwater on Facebook
  1. Any of various long-winged pelagic seabirds from the family Procellariidae that breed on islands and coastal cliffs.
shelduck Tweet Definition of shelduck Like Definition of shelduck on Facebook
noun (plural or shelducks)
  1. Any of various waterfowl of the genus Tadorna, native to Eurasia.
shoulder Tweet Definition of shoulder Like Definition of shoulder on Facebook
  1. (anatomy) The joint between the arm and the torso, sometimes including the surrounding area.
have broad shoulders
  1. A part of a road where drivers may stop in an emergency; a hard shoulder (UK)
He stopped the car on the of the highway to change the flat tire.
  1. (context, transitive) To push (a person or thing) using one's shoulder.
  2. (context, transitive) To carry (something) on one's shoulders.
  3. (context, figurative, transitive) To accept responsibility for.
shoulder the blame
shrike Tweet Definition of shrike Like Definition of shrike on Facebook
noun (pluralshrikes)
  1. Any of various passerine birds of the family Laniidae which are known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns.
siskin Tweet Definition of siskin Like Definition of siskin on Facebook
noun (pluralsiskins)
  1. A small green and yellow European finch, Spinus spinus or Carduelis spinus.
  2. Any of various similar birds in the genera Carduelis and Serinus.
skein Tweet Definition of skein Like Definition of skein on Facebook
  1. A quantity of yarn, thread, or the like, put up together, after it is taken from the reel. A skein of cotton yarn is formed by eighty turns of the thread round a fifty-four inch reel.
  2. (italbrac-colon, Wagon Making) A metallic strengthening band or thimble on the wooden arm of an axle.
  3. (italbrac-colon, zoology, provincial England) A group of wild fowl, (e.g. goose, geese, goslings) when they are in flight.
skua Tweet Definition of skua Like Definition of skua on Facebook
noun (pluralskuas)
  1. Any of various predatory seabirds of the family Stercorariidae that often chase other seabirds to steal their catches.
skylark Tweet Definition of skylark Like Definition of skylark on Facebook
  1. A small brown passerine bird, Alauda arvensis, that sings as it flies high into the air.
  1. To jump about joyfully, frolic.
  2. To run about the rigging of a ship for fun.
  3. (by extension): To play around in any manner, when there is work to be done.
slot Tweet Definition of slot Like Definition of slot on Facebook
  1. A broad, flat, wooden bar, a slat, especially as used to secure a door, window, etc.
  2. A metal bolt or wooden bar, especially as a crosspiece.
  3. (electrical) A channel opening in the stator or rotor of a rotating machine for ventilation and insertion of windings.
verb (slots, slotting, slotted)
  1. (obsolete) To bolt or lock a door or window.
smew Tweet Definition of smew Like Definition of smew on Facebook
noun (pluralsmews)
  1. A small compact diving duck, Mergus albellus, that breeds in the northern taiga of Europe and Asia and winters on sheltered coasts or inland lakes.
snipe Tweet Definition of snipe Like Definition of snipe on Facebook
noun (plural: or snipes)
  1. Any of various limicoline game birds of the family Scolopacidae, having a long, slender, nearly straight beak.
  2. A fool; a blockhead.
  3. A shot from a concealed place.
  4. (italbrac, naval slang) A member of the Engineering Department on a ship.
  5. A bottle of wine containing 0.1875 liters of fluid, 1/4 the volume of a standard bottle; a quarter bottle or piccolo.
verb (snipes, sniping, sniped)
  1. To shoot at individuals from a concealed place.
  2. To make malicious, underhand remarks or attacks.
  3. To watch a timed online auction and place a winning bid at the last possible moment.
snowbird Tweet Definition of snowbird Like Definition of snowbird on Facebook
  1. A bird seen primarily in the winter time.
  2. A person, usually one who is retired, who travels from a cold climate to a warmer one in the winter.
snowflake Tweet Definition of snowflake Like Definition of snowflake on Facebook
  1. A crystal of snow, having approximate hexagonal symmetry
  2. Any of several bulbous European plants, of the genus Leucojum, having white flowers
  3. The snow bunting
snowy egret Tweet Definition of snowy egret Like Definition of snowy egret on Facebook
  1. a small heron, Egretta thula, having white plumage
snowy owl Tweet Definition of snowy owl Like Definition of snowy owl on Facebook
  1. a large, white, nomadic Arctic owl, Bubo scandiacus
solitaire Tweet Definition of solitaire Like Definition of solitaire on Facebook
  1. A person who lives alone
  2. A game, usually a card game, that can be played by one person
  3. An extinct bird, Pezophaps solitaria, that lived on the island of Rodrigues
  4. One of several species of bird in the thrush family
  1. see solitary
songbird Tweet Definition of songbird Like Definition of songbird on Facebook
  1. A bird having a melodious song or call.
sparrow Tweet Definition of sparrow Like Definition of sparrow on Facebook
  1. The house sparrow, Passer domesticus; a small bird with a short bill, and brown, white and gray feathers.
  2. A member of the family Passeridae, comprised of small Old World song birds.
  3. A member of the family Emberizidae, comprised of small New World song birds.
  4. Generically, any small, nondescript bird.
sparrow hawk Tweet Definition of sparrow hawk Like Definition of sparrow hawk on Facebook
  1. A species of small falcon, Falco sparverius, that preys grasshoppers and small mammals.
  2. A small, short-winged European hawk, Accipiter nisus, that preys on smaller birds.
speculum Tweet Definition of speculum Like Definition of speculum on Facebook
noun (pl=speculums, pl2=specula)
  1. (medicine) A medical instrument used during an examination to dilate an orifice.
  2. A mirror.
splitter Tweet Definition of splitter Like Definition of splitter on Facebook
  1. One who, or that which, splits.
  2. (colloquial) A scientist in one of various fields who prefers to split categories such as species or dialects up into smaller groups.
  3. In wikipedia:Baseball, baseball, a splitfinger fastball (a type of pitch).
spoonbill Tweet Definition of spoonbill Like Definition of spoonbill on Facebook
  1. Any of various large, long-legged wading birds in the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the ibises, that have a large, flat, spatulate bill.
  2. A species of fish, Polyodon Spathula, native to the Mississippi/Missouri river basin.
spur Tweet Definition of spur Like Definition of spur on Facebook
  1. A rigid implement, often roughly y-shaped, that is fixed to one's heel for purpose of prodding a horse. Often worn by, and emblematic of, the cowboy or the knight.
  2. (slang) Fan or member of Tottenham Hotspur F.C
  • 1598: Lives he, good uncle? Thrice within this hour I saw him down; thrice up again, and fighting; From helmet to the spur all blood he was. — William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene VI, line 4.
  • 1786: Two sorts of spurs seem to have been in use about the time of the Conquest, one called a pryck, having only a single point like the gaffle of a fighting cock; the other consisting of a number of points of considerable length, radiating from and revolving on a center, thence named the rouelle or wheel spur. — Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 22.
  • See also
  • rowel
  • pryck, prick
  • External links
    Wikipedia article on w:spur, spur.
    1. Anything that inspires or motivates, as a spur does to a horse.
    1601: But, worthy Hector, She is a theme of honour and renown, A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds... — William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act II, Scene II, line 198.
    1. An appendage or spike pointing rearward, near the foot, for instance that of a rooster.
    2. Any protruding part connected at one end, for instance a highway that extends from another highway into a city.
    3. Roots. (As in genealogical?). Spurs are symbolic of knighthood, so perhaps spurs in this context is an allusion to the hereditary aspect of knighthood. Any insights would be appreciated.
  • 1609: I do note That grief and patience, rooted in them both, Mingle their spurs together. — William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene II, line 57.
  • verb (spur, r, ed)
    1. To prod (esp. a horse) in the side or flank, with the intent to urge motion or haste, to gig.
    • 1592: Draw, archers, draw your arrows to the head! Spur your proud horses hard, and ride in blood; Amaze the welkin with your broken staves! — William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act V, Scene III, line 339.
      1. To urge or encourage to action, or to a more vigorous pursuit of an object; to incite; to stimulate; to instigate; to impel; to drive.
    1599: My desire (More sharp than filed steel) did spur me forth... — William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act III, Scene IV, line 4.
    1. To put spurs on; as, a spurred boot.
    squab Tweet Definition of squab Like Definition of squab on Facebook
    1. A baby pigeon.
    2. A baby rook.
    3. A thick cushion, especially a flat one covering the seat of a chair or sofa.
    squawk Tweet Definition of squawk Like Definition of squawk on Facebook
    1. A shrill noise, especially made by a voice; a yell, scream, or call.
    2. (Aviation) A 4-digit transponder code used by aircraft for identification or transmission of emergency signals.
    3. (Aviation) An issue or complaint related to aircraft maintenance.
    1. To make a squawking noise; to yell, scream, or call out shrilly.
    2. To speak out; to protest.
    3. To report an infraction; to rat on or tattle; to disclose a secret.
    Starling Tweet Definition of Starling Like Definition of Starling on Facebook
    proper noun
    1. An English surname, from a nickname for a gregarious person.
    stilt Tweet Definition of stilt Like Definition of stilt on Facebook
    1. Either of two poles with footrests that allow someone to stand or walk above the ground; used mostly by entertainers.
    2. A tall pillar or post used to support some structure; often above water.
    3. Any of various wading birds of the genera Himantopus and Cladorhynchus, related to the avocet, that have extremely long legs and long thin bills.
    stint Tweet Definition of stint Like Definition of stint on Facebook
    1. A period of time spent doing or being something. A spell.
    He had a in jail.
    1. (context, archaic, intransitive) To stop (an action); cease, desist.
    2. (context, obsolete, intransitive) To stop speaking or talking (of a subject).
      • Late C14: Now wol I stynten of this Arveragus, / And speken I wole of Dorigen his wyf " Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Franklin's Tale", Canterbury Tales
        1. (intransitive) To be sparing or mean.
        The next party you throw, don't on the beer. =
    stonechat Tweet Definition of stonechat Like Definition of stonechat on Facebook
    noun (plural:stonechats)
    1. Any of various small Old World passerine birds of the genus Saxicola that feed on insects.
    stork Tweet Definition of stork Like Definition of stork on Facebook
    1. A large wading bird with long legs and a long beak of the family Ciconiidae.
    2. the stork: a mythical stork responsible for bringing newborn baby, babies to their parents
    storm petrel Tweet Definition of storm petrel Like Definition of storm petrel on Facebook
    1. Any of several small seabirds, of the family Hydrobatidae, having dark plumage and a white rump
    swallow Tweet Definition of swallow Like Definition of swallow on Facebook
    1. (archaic) A deep chasm or abyss in the earth.
    2. The amount swallowed in one gulp; the act of swallowing.
    He took the aspirin with a single of water.
    1. (transitive) To cause to pass from the mouth into the stomach.
    Try not to too much toothpaste.
    The duck swallowed the frog.
    1. (intransitive) To take food down into the stomach; to make the muscular contractions of the oesophagous which this entails.
    I swallowed nervously, wondering who was outside the window.
    1. (transitive) To take in, to consume, to absorb or cause to disappear.
    Any extra money will be swallowed up by the mortgage repayments.
    1. (transitive) To believe or accept.
    I find his excuses a little hard to .
    swan Tweet Definition of swan Like Definition of swan on Facebook
    1. Any of various long-necked waterfowl, of genera Cygnus or Olor, most of which have white plumage.
    verbto swan
    1. To travel from place to place with no fixed itinerary or purpose.
    Swift Tweet Definition of Swift Like Definition of Swift on Facebook
    proper noun
    1. Johnathan Swift
    2. Gustavus Franklin Swift
    syrinx Tweet Definition of syrinx Like Definition of syrinx on Facebook
    noun (pl=syrinxes, pl2=syringes)
    1. A set of pan-pipes.
      • 1982, John Fowles, Mantissa:
      • : Actually, to cut a long story short, he began...well, playing with a rather different sort of pipe. Or , as we called it. He obviously thought he was alone.
      • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 247:
      • :Inside, somebody was playing a duet on and lyre.
        1. A narrow channel cut in rock, especially in ancient Egyptian tombs.
        2. (zoology) The voice organ in birds.

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