In this sentence:

Bird jumps from one branch to another in a strange wood.

I am interested in the part: "jumps from one branch to another". Could you tell me some well-known term of such action? So after replacing I'll get:

Bird <term> in a strange wood.

  • By the way, to me that sentence is perfectly clear, and I'm not a native speaker :D I mean, it sounds common and well-known to me... The most difficult term would be "branch" but that is pretty known, I guess...
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 8:50
  • Indeed a google search for "jumps from branch to branch" finds loads of birds, squirrels and even bears xenophilius.wordpress.com/.../bear-pees-on-man-from-up-in-tree- jumps-from-branch-to-branch-with-bear-friends/
    – JoseK
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 8:58

6 Answers 6


The bird flitted about in a strange wood.


Birds flit from branch to branch.

to move lightly and swiftly; fly, dart, or skim along

Apes brachiate.

Brachiation (from "brachium", Latin for "arm") is a form of arboreal locomotion in which primates swing from tree limb to tree limb using only their arms.

"I tried to brachiate through the trees like Tarzan, but I ended up breaking my arm instead."

  • Yes, but birds don't do this (successfully or otherwise). Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 9:40
  • Right you are - I was so happy to use "brachiate" that I missed the bird part. Editing...
    – MT_Head
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 9:41
  • And now I've added the same word as Ed Guinness, which I didn't notice until I posted. Grrr.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 9:44

I can't think of a single term meaning “jump from branch to branch”. The closest I can get is to offer a somewhat more specific alternative to jump: hop.

(of a bird or other animal) move by jumping with two or all feet at once: a blackbird was hopping around in the sun

If the bird is not jumping on feet, but instead flying around, I would go with flutter:

(of a bird or other winged creature) fly unsteadily or hover by flapping the wings quickly and lightly

(New Oxford American Dictionary)


How about flits, flutters or darts? The first is more aimless.


Bird gambols in a strange wood.

From The Free Dictionary:


intr.v. gam·boled or gam·bolled, gam·bol·ing or gam·bol·ling, gam·bols

To leap about playfully; frolic.

A playful skipping or frolicking about.


Bird capers in a strange wood.

From The Free Dictionary:


  1. A playful leap or hop.
  2. A frivolous escapade or prank.

intr.v. ca·pered, ca·per·ing, ca·pers

To leap or frisk about; frolic.

  • 1
    For some reason I have gambol associated with four legged creatures, and caper associated with humans... not sure why, but I have quite a strong association so it must come from childhood books, I guess.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 10:16
  • 2
    I'd agree with Rory: they're not wrong when applied to birds, but have odd connotations. Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 11:11
  • 1
    All apologies, though I can't be held responsible for your psychological associations. Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 11:56

Brachiate should serve the purpose best. It can do away with the use of branch without loss of specific meaning. It can convey an act of movement and give an imagery of the kind of movement. With any of the other words, we may still have to use branch: flit from branch to branch, not merely flit.

If brachiate brings back images of monkeys and not birds, it is only because of prior use, which should not be a constraint, I feel.

  • 3
    Brachiate involves swinging. It does not involve jumping. Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 12:09

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