One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small European songbird of the accentor family, with a dark grey head and a reddish-brown back.
Prunella modularis, family PrunellidaeAlso called hedge sparrow
- ‘The coal tit makes a nifty dash in and out while the dunnock forages underneath with some starlings and a pair of blackbirds.’
- ‘In early March, many birds, such as wrens, robins and dunnocks, begin to set up breeding territories.’
- ‘Birds suffering the steepest falls include the blackbird, dunnock, song thrush, and four types of warbler.’
- ‘The thicker scrub and thickets of elder, hawthorn and bramble, meanwhile, provide ideal cover for nesting robins, wrens, sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds and thrushes.’
- ‘However, only terrestrial species have been tested, such as barn swallows, tree swallows, dunnocks, alpine accentors, and acorn woodpeckers.’
Middle English: apparently from dun (from its brown and grey plumage) + -ock.
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