(noun) The feathers that cover the upperside of the base of a bird's tail between the rump and the tail feathers. In most bird species, the uppertail coverts are not significantly distinct in color or design from either the rump or tail and may not be noticed separately, but in some species these feathers will grow into long, decorative plumes for a showy "tail" that may be significant for courtship. This is most notable in the peafowl, though birds such as the red junglefowl also develop elongated uppertail coverts.
When examining uppertail coverts for proper identification, note the color, length and shape of the feathers, particularly if they have a distinct pattern or markings that distinguish them from surrounding plumage. Also note how the bird may use them in display, such as fanning the feathers or elevating them to attract a mate or show aggression.
Photo – Peacock Uppertail Coverts © Clara S.