A shuttlecock (called bird or birdie in the USA) is a high-drag projectile used in the sport of badminton. It has an open conical shape: the cone is formed from sixteen or so overlapping feathers, usually goose or duck and from the left wing only, embedded into a rounded cork base. The cork is covered with thin leather.
The shuttlecock's shape makes it extremely aerodynamically stable. Regardless of initial orientation, it will turn to fly cork first, and remain in the cork-first orientation.
The name shuttlecock is frequently shortened to shuttle. The "shuttle" part of the name was probably derived from its back-and-forth motion during the game, resembling the shuttle of a loom; the "cock" part of the name was probably derived from the resemblance of the feathers to those on a cockerel.