Definition of rectrices in English:


plural noun

  • The larger feathers in a bird's tail, used for steering in flight.

    Compare with remiges
    • ‘Most birds showed signs of moderate to heavy wear of the secondary coverts and rectrices.’
    • ‘I plucked the outer right rectrix (tail feather), thereby inducing the growth of a replacement.’
    • ‘We also removed the central rectrix from the right side of the tail of each adult to determine feather growth rate.’
    • ‘Age determination was based on the shape of rectrices.’
    • ‘That scheduling results in little overlap between molt of rectrices and outer primaries, both of which are important to landing.’
    plume, quill
    View synonyms


Mid 18th century: from Latin, feminine plural of rector ‘ruler’ (see rector).