Definition of oscine in English:



  • Relating to or denoting passerine birds of a large division that includes the songbirds.

    Suborder Oscines, order Passeriformes

    Compare with suboscine
    • ‘In many oscine species, song or syllable repertoire size increases from young to older birds, although not in all studies.’
    • ‘A possible explanation for this apparent limited interest is that oscine song, the dominant model for avian acoustic studies, is learned.’
    • ‘The ability of territorial oscine males to discriminate between songs of neighbors and strangers has received considerable attention, but this phenomenon is virtually unstudied in suboscines.’
    • ‘Some oscine families are distinct, but convergent evolution apparently is common and has obscured phylogenetic relationships, making the subdivision of this group based on morphology difficult.’
    • ‘These little black oscine birds (family Hirundinidae) often productively make their nests in big, dark spaces with some cooling water nearby.’


  • An oscine bird.

    • ‘Cracraft shows an unresolved three-way split between oscines (which form the large majority of passerine birds), suboscines, and New Zealand wrens.’
    • ‘Zeledonia is a nine-primaried oscine that is not closely allied to Basileuterus or to any other genus within the typical parulid clade.’
    • ‘Because of their complex songs and specialized neural pathways for learning them, songbirds, or oscines, have been favored subjects of study among scientists.’
    • ‘Blue-throated Hummingbirds show convergence with oscines in vocal complexity, song organization, song function, and possible learning of some song elements.’
    • ‘In addition, intrinsic individual variation, including learned cultural differences in oscines, provides the raw material for vocal divergence through drift or selection.’


Late 19th century: from Latin oscen, oscin- ‘songbird’ + -ine.