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Meaning of prealternate molt

pre•al'ter•nate molt'

Pronunciation: (prē-ôl'tur-nit), [key]
— Ornith. Ornith.
  1. the molt by which many birds replace only some and rarely all of the feathers assumed at the prebasic molt, usually occurring prior to breeding.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.