One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An ungainly long-tailed Old World bird that is a large ground-dwelling member of the cuckoo family.
Genus Centropus (and Coua), family Cuculidae: numerous species, including the Australasian pheasant coucal (Centropus phasianinus)
- ‘A ground-dwelling cuckoo, Delalande's coucal lived in Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa, along with an array of strange animals found there.’
- ‘However, I stray from the purpose of our trip: birds, which were no less alluring than all the scenes mentioned above, with names such as leafbirds, bulbuls, coucals, laughingthrushes, babblers, sunbirds and junglefowl.’
Early 19th century: from French, perhaps a blend of coucou ‘cuckoo’ and alouette ‘lark’.
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