Definition of oscine in English:


Pronunciation /ˈäsn/ /ˈɑsn/ /ˈäˌsīn/ /ˈɑˌsaɪn/

See synonyms for oscine


  • Relating to or denoting passerine birds of a large division that includes the songbirds.

    Compare with suboscine

    Suborder Oscines, order Passeriformes

    ‘The ability of territorial oscine males to discriminate between songs of neighbors and strangers has received considerable attention, but this phenomenon is virtually unstudied in suboscines.’
    • ‘A possible explanation for this apparent limited interest is that oscine song, the dominant model for avian acoustic studies, is learned.’
    • ‘In many oscine species, song or syllable repertoire size increases from young to older birds, although not in all studies.’
    • ‘These little black oscine birds (family Hirundinidae) often productively make their nests in big, dark spaces with some cooling water nearby.’
    • ‘Some oscine families are distinct, but convergent evolution apparently is common and has obscured phylogenetic relationships, making the subdivision of this group based on morphology difficult.’


  • A bird of the oscine division.

    ‘Cracraft shows an unresolved three-way split between oscines (which form the large majority of passerine birds), suboscines, and New Zealand wrens.’
    • ‘In addition, intrinsic individual variation, including learned cultural differences in oscines, provides the raw material for vocal divergence through drift or selection.’
    • ‘Blue-throated Hummingbirds show convergence with oscines in vocal complexity, song organization, song function, and possible learning of some song elements.’
    • ‘Because of their complex songs and specialized neural pathways for learning them, songbirds, or oscines, have been favored subjects of study among scientists.’
    • ‘Zeledonia is a nine-primaried oscine that is not closely allied to Basileuterus or to any other genus within the typical parulid clade.’


Late 19th century from Latin oscen, oscin- ‘songbird’+ -ine.