One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Either of two finch-like songbirds with red bills, the common or St Helena waxbill, Estrilda astrild (family Estrildidae), and (more fully "king rooibekkie") the pin-tailed whydah, Vidua macroura (family Ploceidae).
Late 18th century. From South African Dutch roodebekje, roodbeckje, (in late sources) rooibekkie from Dutch roode + bekje little beak. In some forms directly from Afrikaans rooibekkie.
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