Nidicolous and Nidifugous birds…. 40

All things you should know about nidicolous birds and nidifugous birds.

The terms nidifugous and nidicolous by Lorenz Oken in 1816,Lorenz Oken (1 August 1779 – 11 August 1851) was a German naturalist, botanist, biologist, and ornithologist.

The difference between nidicolous birds and nidifugous birds are:

Nidicolous birds

Birds which hatch help-less, feather less, underdeveloped young ones
The young ones stay in the next for some time after hatching.
Example: Sparrow, pigeon.
Nidifugous birds

Birds which hatch well developed young ones.
The young ones leave the nest immediately.
Example: Chicken, duck.
If your youngones are proving recalcitrant or obstreperous you may like to hurl the epithet nidicolous at them. It will be accurate and tantalisingly unclear; it might even provoke them to crack open a dictionary to discover whether you’re insulting them.

The term is unlikely to be encountered outside a specialist and rather formal book on zoology or ornithology. I found it in the article on birds in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica so i decided to put this on my blog. Latin scholars will recognise that the first part derives from the classical nidus, which is a relative of our nest as well as the source of niche and a component of a number of other specialist words. The second part is from the Latin verb colere to inhabit.

So Its the one who stay’s with the parents or nest for few months after born.

However, it’s more specialist than just “nest-living”. It refers specifically to a bird or other animal that’s hatched or born in an undeveloped state and that requires its parents to feed and care for it until it reaches maturity. Some young birds are the reverse of this — they leave the egg at least partially able to fend for themselves. They are said to be nidifugous, nest-fleeing. You may be reminded of newly hatched ducklings waddling after mum from their nest to reach water.

Curiously, English has another pair of terms which form an equivalent pair tonidicolous and nidifugous. You may instead use altricial and precocial, two terms introduced by the Swedish zoologist Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1836. He coined the former from classical Latin altrix, a foster mother or wet nurse, and the latter from scientific Latin praecoces, the plural of the classical Latinpraecox, premature or early. Why both pairs should stay in use is unclear.

Brain gangliosides in birds with developmental profiles of 14 different brain gangliosides were followed from the first day after hatching to the adult stage in two bird species representing different strategies of posthatch development: the nidifugous type (leaving the nest directly post-hatch, e.g. quail) and the nidicolous type (remaining for longer period in the nest, e.g. finch). In the zebra finch, parallel with a striking increase in ganglioside concentration, two main postnatal changes in the ganglioside composition occurred: after hatching, concomittantly to an increased outgrowth of nerve fibers and synaptogenesis, the polysialogangliosides GQ1b and GP decreased in favour of the less polar fractions GD1b, GD1a and GT1b. The second period of changes started with the onset of myelination and was characterized by an increase of GM1 and GM1′. The results obtained for quails were in close agreement with those of chicken, showing only slight postnatal changes due to the nearly completed morphological differentiation. These data show that gangliosides are useful biochemical markers for brain development, indicating successive periods of brain maturation by means of preferential biosynthesis of specific fractions regardless of the type of development.

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