One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small, stubby short-billed auk (seabird) with black plumage and white underparts, breeding in the Arctic; a little auk.
- ‘One would imagine this place to be a paradise of alcids of all types, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, razorbills, murres, and murrelets all splashing around in their black and white finery.’
- ‘A patchy distribution of crustaceans (including T. libellula) in the NOW was indicated in a study of the diet of dovekies.’
- ‘Many of the bird species live on the water all year, only coming onto land to breed, such as the northern fulmar, greater shearwater, dovekie, common murre, and thickbilled murre.’
- ‘The current study identified a close relationship between the great auk and the dovekie.’
Early 19th century (originally denoting the black guillemot, Cepphus grylle, also formerly called the Greenland dove): from a Scots diminutive of dove.
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