Covert (feather)

Covert (feather)
Upperwing of Orange-headed Thrush, Zoothera citrina cyanotus

A covert feather on a bird is one of a set of feathers, called coverts, which as the name implies, cover other feathers. The coverts help to smooth airflow over the wings and tail.[1]

Underwing of Orange-headed Thrush


The upperwing-coverts fall into two groups: those on the inner wing, which overlay the secondary flight feathers, known as the secondary-coverts, and those on the outerwing, which overlay the primary flight feathers, the primary-coverts. Within each group, the feathers form a number of rows. The feathers of the outermost, largest, row are termed greater (primary-/secondary-) coverts; those in the next row are the median (primary-/secondary-) coverts, and any remaining rows are termed lesser (primary-/secondary-) coverts. The underwing has corresponding sets of coverts (the names upperwing-coverts and underwing-coverts are used to distinguish the corresponding sets). In addition the front edge of the wing is covered with a group of feathers called the marginal coverts. Within each group of wing-coverts, the rows of feathers overlap each other like roof tiles (the greater coverts are overlain by the median coverts, which in turn are overlain by the outermost row of lesser coverts, and so on).


The uppertail and undertail coverts cover the base of the tail feathers above and below. Sometimes these coverts are more specialised. The "tail" of a peacock is actually very elongated uppertail coverts.


A rear view of an Indian Peacock's true tail and elongated uppertail covert feathers
  • Mullarney, Killian; Svensson, Lars; Zetterstrom, Dan; Grant, Peter (1999). Collins Bird Guide. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-219728-6. 
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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Covert (disambiguation) — A Covert usually describes events carried out in secrecy. Covert may also refer to: Covert (automobile), an automobile built in the United States of America in 1904 Covert (feather), a type of feather Covert (linguistics), a linguistic… …   Wikipedia

  • covert — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ not openly acknowledged or displayed. ► NOUN 1) a thicket in which game can hide. 2) a feather covering the base of a bird s main flight or tail feather. DERIVATIVES covertly adverb. ORIGIN Old French, covered …   English terms dictionary

  • covert — adj. & n. adj. secret or disguised (a covert glance; covert operations). n. 1 a shelter, esp. a thicket hiding game. 2 a feather covering the base of a bird s flight feather. Phrases and idioms: covert coat a short, light, overcoat worn for… …   Useful english dictionary

  • feather — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. plume, plumage, down, aigrette, quill; kind, sort, variety. See covering, difference, class, roughness. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. quill, plume, plumage, shaft, down, fin, wing, calamus, tuft, crest,… …   English dictionary for students

  • feather — noun the size and markings of this feather would indicate a barred owl Syn: plume, quill, flight feather, tail feather; Ornithology covert, plumule; (feathers) plumage, feathering, down …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • feather — Synonyms and related words: a continental, a curse, a damn, a darn, a hoot, air, bagatelle, bank, bauble, bead, bean, bejewel, beribbon, bespangle, bibelot, bit, blood, blubber, brand, brass farthing, breed, breeze, bubble, butter, button, cast,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • covert — I. adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French, past participle of coverir to cover Date: 14th century 1. not openly shown, engaged in, or avowed ; veiled < a covert alliance > 2. covered over ; sheltered Synonyms: see secret • covert …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • covert — 1. adjective /ˈkoʊ.vɚt/ a) Partially hidden, disguised, secret, surreptitious. b) Covered. Syn: feme covert Ant: overt …   Wiktionary

  • covert — adjective kʌvət, kəʊvə:t not openly acknowledged or displayed. noun kʌvət, kʌvə 1》 a thicket in which game can hide. 2》 Ornithology a feather covering the base of a main flight or tail feather of a bird. Derivatives covertly adverb covertness… …   English new terms dictionary

  • feather — n 1. plume, quill, pinion, All Ornithol. plumule, penna, covert, tectrix; (collectively) panache, hackle, tuft, crest, tussock; plumage, down, Ornithol. scapular, Ornithol. mantle, (of a hawk) mail. 2. condition, state, temperament, mood, humor,… …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

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