Uropygial Gland

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uropygial gland

[¦yu̇r·ə¦pij·ē·əl ‚gland]
(vertebrate zoology)
A relatively large, compact, bilobed, secretory organ located at the base of the tail (uropygium) of most birds having a keeled sternum. Also known as oil gland; preen gland.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Uropygial Gland


(also preen gland, oil gland), a large, usually bilobed cutaneous gland in the majority of birds; its structure resembles that of the sebaceous glands. The uropygial gland is absent in a number of ratites, in bustards, and in some parrots and pigeons; it is highly developed in aquatic birds, especially the Procellariiformes and Pelecaniformes, and in the osprey. Located on the dorsal side at the base of the tail, it has from one to five (more often two) ducts, depending on the species. The gland’s secretion, which the bird applies to its plumage with its bill, contains lipoids mixed with proteins and inorganic salts; by maintaining the ordered structure of the plumage, the secretion prevents the feathers from getting wet. In the Procellariiformes, the musk duck, and the nestlings and incubating females of the hoopoe, the secretion of the gland has a sharp unpleasant odor, which apparently serves as protection against predators. In a number of birds, such as chickens and ducks, the uropygial gland secretion contains provitamin D—ergosterol— which the bird ingests as it preens its feathers.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Effects of uropygial gland removal on the growth performance and plasma characteristics in female white roman goslings from 3 to 10 weeks of age.
Feather mite abundance increases with uropygial gland size and plumage yellowness in Great Tits Parus major.
Lindane distribution and fatty acid profile of uropygial gland and liver of Columba livia after pesticide treatment.
Estrogen induction of alcohol dehydrogenase in the uropygial gland of mallard ducks.
Sex differences in the chemical composition of uropygial gland waxes in domestic ducks.
Composition of the uropygial gland waxes in relation to the classification of some passerine birds.
A morphological atlas of the avian uropygial gland. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History (Zoology), vol.
Biosynthesis of 3-hydroxy fatty acids, the pheromone components of female mallard ducks, by cell-free preparations from the uropygial gland. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol.
Developmental changes in the expression of S-acyl fatty acid synthase thioesterase gene and lipid composition in the uropygial gland of mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos).
Evidence for the holocrine nature of lipid secretion by avian epidermal cells: a histological and fine structural study of rictus, toe web and the uropygial gland. Journal of Morphology, vol.
The chemical composition of the uropygial gland secretion of rock dove.
Cytological differentiation in the uropygial gland. Journal of Morphology, vol.