i was wondering if all female birds are hens and male ones cocks does this also apply to say geese and ducks ie ganders and drakes, like peahens and peacocks. Are hens and cocks universal to every bird?

Hi jaffacakes,

These gender names were not made up by scientists but by farmers and so only really apply to domestic birds. For wild birds, there's no hard rule about this, but, as you point out, it is usual to refer to male birds as cocks and females as hens, unless they're a wild duck or goose species, in which case gander and drake would apply for the males. When in doubt, just use plain old 'male' and 'female'.

Hope this helps!

Carlos.

P.S.: Other commonly used names for male and female animals are, respectively:

'Buck' and 'doe' for rabbits,
'bull' and 'cow' for elephants and whales;
'boar' and 'sow' for pigs, peccaries and bears!

There's no scientific reason for these names, they were probably first chosen because the wild animals sort of look like the domestic ones to some people (e.g.: a rabbit might sort of look like a deer).