Species identification is essential to biology, conservation, and management. The ability to focus on specific diagnostic characteristics of a species helps improve the speed and accuracy of identification. Birds are excellent subjects for teaching species identification because, in combination with their different shapes and sizes, their plumages have distinctive colors and patterns that vary characteristically from species to species. Bird feather tracts have specific names so that proper descriptions of colors and patterns on those tracts can improve the precision and conciseness of identification criteria. We use popular social media (Twitter) to engage students in an exercise designed to familiarize them with avian species identification and improve their use and comprehension of vocabulary. This exercise can be used in higher education for ornithology and other identification courses, as well as in primary education as a basic introduction to species and biodiversity.
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Vol. 77 • No. 6