Definition of precocial in English:



  • 1(of a young bird or other animal) hatched or born in an advanced state and able to feed itself almost immediately.

    Also called nidifugous
    Often contrasted with altricial
    • ‘Both parents remain with broods for several weeks following hatching of the precocial young.’
    • ‘Young in precocial birds that are fed by their parents also engage in vocal and postural begging displays.’
    • ‘Males leave the females soon after incubation begins, and females provide uniparental care for precocial young.’
    • ‘Small eggs may jeopardize survival for precocial grouse chicks that rely extensively on nutrient stores after hatching.’
    • ‘The young are precocial and are tended by both parents.’
    1. 1.1 (of a particular species) having precocial young.
      • ‘Lack proposed that for species with precocial young, mean clutch size is determined by the average amount of nutrients available to females at the time of egg production.’
      • ‘We predicted that species with precocial newborn should have synchronized births as an antipredator strategy.’


Late 19th century: from modern Latin Praecoces (the name of a former division of birds, plural of Latin praecox ‘mature before its time’) + -ial.