See also: cat bird


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From cat +‎ bird, because its cry is said to resemble that of a cat.



catbird (plural catbirds)

  1. Either of two species of American mockingbird relatives, the grey catbird, Dumetella carolinensis, and the black catbird, Melanoptila glabrirostris.
    • 1832, Sharon Turner, The Sacred History of the World:
      The catbird’s note exactly resembles the voice of a kitten, that a stranger to it would instantly conclude that such an animal "had got bewildered in the branches".
    • 1967, William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Vintage 2004, p. 200:
      I recall a catbird high in the water oak above, swinging like a rag amid the branches, jabbering and screeching [...].
  2. Any of four species of Australasian bowerbirds of the genera Ailuroedus and Scenopoeetes.
    • 1985, Peter Carey, Illywhacker, Faber and Faber 2003, p. 185:
      The cat bird had a forlorn cry, like a whimpering child or the animal it is named for.
  3. A babbler-like bird from eastern Africa, Parophasma galinieri.

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