(noun) Short, fine feathers surrounding a bird's ear, located just behind and below the eye. These feathers are often oriented to help direct sound toward the ear for more acute hearing.
While many birds do not have prominent auriculars, the ear patch area or cheek on some species is distinctly colored and can serve as a good field mark, particularly in different warbler and sparrow species. To use the auriculars for bird identification, note the shape and color of the cheek and ear area and compare it to surrounding field marks, such as the eyebrow, eye line, malar stripe and nape.
Photo – Cape May Warbler © Nick Saunders
Ear Coverts, Ear Patch, Cheek