Definition of passerine in English:



  • Relating to or denoting birds of a large order distinguished by having feet that are adapted for perching, including all songbirds.

    • ‘We compared chromatic contrast (color used for short-range detection) of each pair of spider and flower to detection thresholds computed in the visual systems of both Hymenopteran prey and passerine bird predator.’
    • ‘The bluethroat is a small passerine with moderate asynchronous hatching, typical of many passerine birds.’
    • ‘Cracraft shows an unresolved three-way split between oscines (which form the large majority of passerine birds), suboscines, and New Zealand wrens.’
    • ‘However, these model predictions cannot explain the observation that some small passerine birds ‘bound’ while hovering or during steep climbs.’
    • ‘Methods.-The Pied Flycatcher is a small, migratory, philopatric, and hole-nesting passerine bird of European woodlands.’
    • ‘As is typical of passerine birds, nearly all mortality was the result of predation, and starvation was rare.’
    • ‘Ortolan buntings are small, migratory passerine birds, and in the breeding areas in Norway, pairs raise one clutch from May - July.’
    • ‘The pied flycatcher is a small, migratory, singlebrooded passerine bird.’
    • ‘House sparrows are approximately 30-g passerine birds that are gregarious during and outside the breeding season.’
    • ‘These animals include rodents, passerine birds and arthropods.’
    • ‘The magpie is monogamous, territorial, sedentary, and relatively long-lived for passerine birds, with a well-described biology.’
    • ‘The diversity of speckling is most pronounced in passerine birds (the perching or songbirds that make up 60 percent of all bird species).’
    • ‘Begging by nestling passerine birds has become a model for studies in animal communication, particularly those examining the honest signaling of need.’
    • ‘Falcons and cuckoos form a third segment of the gruimorphs; and, finally, the Piciformes and passerine birds are usually grouped together as a fourth segment.’
    • ‘The pied flycatcher is a small, migratory, passerine bird that is sexually dimorphic in color during the breeding season.’
    • ‘The pied flycatcher is a small Palearctic migrant passerine bird.’
    • ‘The visual system of most bird species, including all passerine birds tested to date, is sensitive to UV wavelengths.’
    • ‘In a comparative study of passerine birds based on generalized least square models, we tested this hypothesis by exploring the interspecific relationship between overall brain size and repertoire size.’
    • ‘The pied flycatcher is a small, hole-nesting, insectivorous passerine bird which usually is monogamous, but in which some 5-10% of the males may be polygynous.’
    • ‘Extrapair paternity is widespread within passerine birds and is indicative of sexual selection.’


  • A passerine bird; a perching bird.

    • ‘We also saw the usual variety of gulls, raptors, woodpeckers, and passerines throughout the morning.’
    • ‘Because many birds, especially passerines, are still wild-caught, it is even more imperative to develop reliable biomarkers for aging.’
    • ‘Birds, particularly passerines, have served as the model system for testing many of the ideas on the evolution of begging.’
    • ‘Some Mesozoic enantiomithine birds had similar size and morphology to modern passerines, and it is tempting to speculate that they too had evolved some form of bounding flight.’
    • ‘The warblers and orioles and other passerines recently left the cool forests of the upper Midwest and southern Canada.’
    • ‘I eagerly described the season's bounty of warblers as a ‘procession of precious passerines.’’
    • ‘Cliff swallows are highly colonial passerines that breed throughout most of western North America.’
    • ‘That general finding is consistent with previous nonexperimental work in birds as well as with experimental studies involving passerines and colonial seabirds.’
    • ‘However, small passerines carry very small food loads, and storm petrels very large ones.’
    • ‘Study population and field methods. Song Sparrows are territorial passerines found in a variety of brushy and moist habitats throughout most of North America.’
    • ‘Year-round territoriality with permanent pairbonds is a common breeding system of tropical passerines but is nearly absent in temperate passerines.’
    • ‘Prior to biotelemetry, the migration energetics of Swainson's thrushes and other small passerines could not be measured directly and had to be estimated.’
    • ‘Barn swallows are small insectivorous passerines that feed on the wing.’
    • ‘Like a number of other passerines in both the Old and New Worlds, Catharus thrushes are nocturnal migrants.’
    • ‘Eastern bluebirds are socially monogamous passerines that breed throughout eastern North America.’
    • ‘Divers, grebes, geese, ducks, raptors, auks and passerines are the most affected especially in very hard weather which results in the surface of lakes and reservoirs freezing.’
    • ‘Other authors have stated that incubation in cowbirds only differs from other passerines in the minimum reported.’
    • ‘Densities of shorebirds and passerines were calculated as the mean number of birds per plot, which was then extrapolated to birds per square kilometre.’
    • ‘Its diverse habitats attract many species of passerines, or songbirds.’
    • ‘In passerines, altricial nestlings possess brightly colored gapes and engage in vigorous behavioral displays directed toward a feeding parent.’

The order Passeriformes comprises more than half of all bird species, the remainder being known informally as the non-passerines. All passerines in Europe belong to the suborder Oscines (the oscine passerines), so that the term is effectively synonymous with ‘songbird’ there (see songbird). Those of the suborder Deutero-Oscines (the suboscine passerines) are found mainly in America


Late 18th century: from Latin passer ‘sparrow’ + -ine.