- helpless at birth or hatching and requiring parental care for a period of time (opposed to precocial.)
Origin of altricial
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (of the young of some species of birds after hatching) naked, blind, and dependent on the parents for food
- an altricial bird, such as a pigeon
Word Origin for altricial
C19: from New Latin altriciālis, from Latin altrix a nurse, from alere to nourish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- Born or hatched in a helpless condition requiring prolonged parental care, as by being naked, blind, or unable to move about. Nesting birds, monotremes, marsupials, and carnivores have altricial young. Compare precocial.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.