One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any bird that lives among reeds. rare.
2North American regional (chiefly east Midland). The bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus, flocks of which often frequent rice fields in the autumn. Compare ricebird. Now rare.
3Any of several Old World warblers of the genus Acrocephalus (family Sylviidae) which frequent reed beds; especially the sedge warbler (A. schoenobaenus), the reed warbler (A. scirpaceus), and (Australian) the clamorous reed warbler (A. stentoreus).
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Henry Hexham (fl. 1601–1650), soldier and author. From reed + bird.
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