We can say that a bird spread its wings (and flew away), to describe the action of extending its wings to their full length.

Which verb, or phrase, would we use to describe the opposite action, when a bird's wings were spread but now (perhaps because it has just landed) are not any longer?

To clarify: I'm looking for a verb, or phrase that acts as a verb, to describe the action of the bird doing that to its wings; not a way to say that the bird's wings are not spread.

2 Answers 2



to bring into a compact form by bending and laying parts together (often followed by up):

to fold up a map; to fold one's legs under oneself.

to bring (the wings) close to the body, as a bird on alighting.


  • So simple, in retrospect. :)
    – George T
    Oct 20, 2015 at 7:06

Also consider tuck.

Folding is to neutral position. Tucking the wings goes into negative values.

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