1(Of a young bird or other animal) hatched or born in an undeveloped state and requiring care and feeding by the parents. Also called nidicolous. Often contrasted with precocial.
- The altricial chicks are fed primarily insects, beetle larvae, grasshoppers, spiders and small lizards.
- After hatching, the altricial nestlings are brooded for 1 to 2 weeks depending on the weather.
- Their altricial cubs are born in mid-winter, with their eyes closed, and weighing only about 0.6 kg.
1.1(Of a particular species) having altricial young.
- In altricial birds the chicks depend entirely on their parents for food and protection.
- In altricial species, the parents of hungry nestlings may be helped in feeding and guarding their young by other adult birds who have not bred that year.
- Moreover, chicks of precocial species generally require less parental care than those of altricial species.
Late 19th century: from Latin altrix, altric-, feminine of altor 'nourisher', from alere 'nourish'.
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