What are Baby Birds Called? Generic Terms for Young Birds


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

what are baby birds called

Sometimes in your garden or in the park, you hear or see baby birds chirping and waiting for their parents to feed them. Adult birds have their own names for each species, but what about young birds? Do they have their own names as well? The answer is yes!

Usually, their names are determined based on age and species. Knowing the names of young birds can broaden your understanding or you can simply have fun while chatting with friends about them. Or, in the rare case where you save newborn baby birds, knowing the name and species will make things simpler.

Through this article on what are baby birds called, you’ll find out more about baby birds’ names at each of their growing phases, from hatching, nestling, fledgling, juvenile to subadult. Moreover, the article draws interesting facts about their baby names and know-hows when meeting a baby bird. Let’s go through the piece for more information!

What are Baby Birds Called? Generic Terms for Young Birds Based on Ages


There are various terms to name a baby bird, regardless of its species, from raptors, shorebirds, songbirds to waterfowl. The most frequent phrase is a chick, which refers to a young bird from when it hatches until when it leaves the nest. However, there are other names based on the age of the chick as well.

1. Hatching

Hatching is a newly born chick without sparse feathers and still-closed eyes. At this time, the bird is incapable of taking care of itself. This term refers to chicks that are recently hatched in an almost nude state.

2. Nestling

When a young bird is only a few days olds and coated in fluffy down, it is a nestling. These birds may be more energetic and have higher demands. Still, they are not able to take care of themselves. They may be growing flying feathers, but they can’t leave the nest without their parents’ supervision.

3. Fledgling

A baby bird is called a fledgling when it has grown most of its flying feathers and is ready to leave its aerie. After leaving its home, the parents may still take care of the fledgling because it is learning how to survive in the wild.

Therefore, even fledglings have feathers and don’t usually get chilled like nestlings, as they are not completely independent. The untrained young bird can’t properly fly but can jump around a lot.

4. Juvenile

When a fledgling has matured through the most awkward stage, it becomes a juvenile. Juveniles may resemble adults, but they are not fully adults. They remain a part of their youth camouflage, and their markings may be less distinct than those of older birds.

5. Subadult

The term speaks it all. As a subadult, a bird has fled the nest and can take care of itself. However, it is not sexually aware and lacks an adult’s field markings. Many birders find it difficult to recognize the subadult phase of some larger birds. For example, eagles or gulls because these species take a few years before reaching maturity.

Species-Specific Baby Birds Names


While generic terms for newborn birds can be used for numerous species, certain bird families name their children distinctively. So, what is the name for a baby bird for:

  • A baby chicken: Cockerel for male, pullet for female, or poult
  • A baby duck: Duckling
  • A baby dove: Squab or squeaker
  • A baby falcon: Eyas
  • A baby goose: Gosling
  • A baby owl: Owlet
  • A baby swan: Flapper or cygnet
  • A big and strong eagle used to be a baby too! It was an eaglet.
  • And the most interesting is a baby turkey: Jake for male, Jenny for female, or poult.

However, there is some irrelevance when using these names for certain species. For instance, both newborn bald eagles and Steller’s sea eagles are called eaglets. To differentiate them, you can call bald eaglets or Steller’s sea eaglets, or you can use the generic term above – bald eagle chicks.

Sometimes you are lucky to come across many baby birds at once because birds usually lay more than one egg. So, do you know what a group of baby birds is called? A group of baby birds is a brood or clutch. Also, you can call them by generic names like chicks or hatchlings.

Congratulations! You are now an expert on baby birds’ names!

If you are interested in these little, noisy, but cute flying chicks, I have some interesting facts for you!

Facts about baby birds

  • Some babies do not look like their parents
  • They are not born with feathers
  • Baby bird siblings can be a different bird species
  • Baby birds have special diets, and they vary based on the baby’s age and their bird kind

You Do If You See a Baby Bird

Coming across a newborn bird, whatever you call it, can be exciting. The newborn bird’s attractive conduct is for drawing the attention and compassion of the parent, and those same actions are equally successful on humans.

If you come across a baby chick, it is preferable to stay at a distance and leave the baby for its parents to take care of, even when the parents leave it alone for a prolonged period of time. However, if you encounter an abandoned baby bird, here’s what you should do:

  • Keep your distance: If you approach it too closely, you will unintentionally cause more stress to the bird, and the parents may not return as often to tend to it. Moreover, getting too near a young bird may scare it to flee to an unsuitable and unsafe location.
  • Avoid feeding it: It may be tempting to give a pleading young bird food, but newborn birds have particular nutritional requirements. Their food types depend on their ages and species, whether they are carnivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous. Adult bird foods, such as fruits, worms, nuts, or seeds, can choke baby birds and do not supply adequate nutrition for their growth. Leave them for the parents to feed.
  • Keep the area safe: Keep pets, children, or anything that can draw attention to the baby bird away. If the neighborhood is not secured, carefully relocate the bird to a safer area. For example, a dense scrub to hide from the scorching sun and soaking rain.

If you are unsure of what to do when coming across a baby chick that is out of its nest, you can seek advice from Taylor Craig, who used to work at the wildlife rehabilitation centre in this video.


To summarize, newborn birds are adorable at all stages of development and maturation. It’s usually useful and fun to know what you will call the baby at each of their growing phases.

It’s also nice to discover the baby names of different bird species. Coming across baby birds can be a joyful experience. If you are not sure what and how to do it, seek advice from a wildlife expert.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article on what are baby birds called. If you know more about a different baby bird name for any species or have any experience with them, please share!

Before you go, don’t forget to check our other articles that are related to bird behavior:

5/5 - (3 votes)

You May Also Like

what do cardinals eat in the winter

What Do Cardinals Eat in the Winter?

Northern America and the Caribbean are often home to the cardinals. These birds don’t migrate ...

place where birds live

Place Where Birds Live is an Aviary

An aviary is a place where birds live when not in the wild. It is ...

how many eggs does an-ostrich lay a year

How Many Eggs Does an Ostrich Lay a Year?

Many countries, such as Brazil, the USA, and China, support thousands of ostrich farms. Knowing ...

do birds eat frogs

Do Birds Eat Frogs?

Do birds eat frogs? The answer is yes! There are many things to know about ...

how to keep birds from nesting in wreaths

How to Keep Birds From Nesting in Wreaths?

The holiday season is here, which means the decorative wreath is now out and hanging ...

why do small birds chase big birds

Why Do Small Birds Chase Big Birds (Hawks)

Why do small birds chase big birds? The answer is to drive them away and ...