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What Do You Call Baby Birds?

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We all love baby birds.

Those squeaky, cute little creatures are so helpless and adorable that you can’t help but stare and smile when you come across them. But when you rush to tell your family what you saw, what do you say? I saw three cute baby birds today? I saw a nest full of chicks today?

Most people know that a baby cow is called a calf and a baby cat is called a kitten, but what do we call baby birds.

Let’s find out.

General Terms

Chick: We’ll kick things off with probably the most frequently used term for a baby bird. A chick is used to mean any type of bird that’s still relatively young.

Hatchling: These next three terms have to do with baby birds at different ages. A hatchling is a bird that’s no more than a few days. They’re typically naked with closed eyes (though certain species are born with feathers).

Nestling: After a few days, a hatchling becomes a nestling. A nestling is usually covered in down (fine feathers that almost look like fur). It’s completely dependent on its parents for food and does not leave the nest.

Fledgling: When the baby bird is ready to leave the nest, it becomes a fledgling. This is what you occasionally find on the ground near a nest, hopping around awkwardly. A fledgling has developed most of its flight feathers, but it’s still learning to fly. Its parents will usually take care of it still.

After these three, the next four stages are juvenile, immature, subadult, and adult. However, these are not usually considered baby birds.

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Species Specific Terms

The above terms are applicable to any bird species, but once you start talking about certain species, things get a little more specific. (Species that aren’t listed are usually just called chicks)

Dove: squab, squeaker

Duck: duckling

Eagle: eaglet

Falcon: eyas

Goose: gosling

Grouse: poult, squealer, cheeper

Guineafowl: keet

Hawk: eyas

Owl: owlet, fledgling

Peacock: peachick

Puffin: puffling

Swan: cygnet, flapper

Turkey: poult, jake (young make turkey), jenny (young female turkey)

Let us know if we missed any.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

22 Comments

  1. Thank for sharing useful information. I like reading your article so much. Hope you write more.

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