BarbA horizontal branch from the shaft (RACHIS) of a feather, also called a 'ramus'. It carries the 'barbules' which are so arranged that those on one barb interlock with those of its neighbours, being held by tiny hooks called 'barbicels' or 'hamuli'. With this arrangement a bird has only to run its bill along a disarrayed feather while preening to return it to its proper neatness. The barbs taken all together make up the 'vane' or 'web' of the feather.
Search Bird Dictionary
From Peter Weaver's Birdwatcher's Dictionary
Copyright © 1981 by Peter Weaver