Definition of primary feather in US English:

primary feather


  • Any of the largest flight feathers in a bird's wing, growing from the manus.

    • ‘Unlike the primary feathers of Archaeopteryx, which are asymmetrical (like those of flying birds), the feathers of these animals are symmetrical.’
    • ‘First, the leading edge, or primary feathers, on the owls' wings are serrated like a comb.’
    • ‘From the start of molt in late May until end of molt (late October for Magpies and late November for crows), the in situ length of each growing primary feather on the right wing was recorded at intervals of four to five days.’
    • ‘Members of the genus Smithornis have stiff outer primary feathers that make a buzzing sound during display flights.’
    • ‘The characteristic humming sound they make in flight is caused by modified outer primary feathers and is the basis for their common name.’
    • ‘In conclusion, the total mass of new primary feathers increases almost linearly with time in five passerine species with a range of wing shapes.’
    • ‘Like typical swifts, treeswifts have a long manus and primary feathers.’
    • ‘The outside of the covert feathers are black, but the inside and the secondary and primary feathers are jewel purple, like my fur.’
    • ‘The rate of increase in the estimated mass of new primary feathers was fairly constant throughout molt for all individuals in all four species - crow, magpie, bullfinch, and greenfinch.’
    • ‘However, the 9th primary feathers reach only 60-70% of adult length prior to fledging, and full adult length of primaries may not be attained until the first or even second prebasic molt, a pattern seen in many passerines.’
    • ‘Twelve of these females were handicapped by clipping off every even-numbered primary feather at its base.’
    • ‘It is very agile in flight, helped by broad wings with the primary feathers separated into ‘fingers'.’
    • ‘A previous study on starlings had shown that new primary feather mass increased at a constant rate for most of the duration of molt.’
    • ‘Male asities enlarge their wattles when they display to females and their outer primary feathers produce a buzzing sound when they fly.’
    • ‘The primary feathers were also black, but had a gloss to them.’
    • ‘The regrowth of the primary feathers and return of the ability to fly coincides with the fledging of her ducklings and their ability also to fly for the first time.’
    • ‘Hawk owls lack the comblike structures along the outer edge of their primary feathers that give most owls silent flight.’
    • ‘These birds can't fly away because a few primary feathers on one wing are kept clipped.’
    • ‘About six primary feathers were missing from the wings, along with a few feathers from the tail.’
    • ‘A follicle is a tubular down-growth of the epidermis that protrudes deeply into the skin - all the way down to underlying bone in the case of primary feathers.’
    plume, quill
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