Definition of rufous in English:



  • Reddish brown in colour.

    ‘handsome rufous plumage’
    • ‘Gabriel's face is naturistically hidden behind his shoulder, so that only a rufous mop of hair is discernible.’
    • ‘The rufous turtle dove which saw a flurry of birdwatchers descend on Stromness earlier this month is still attracting twitchers.’
    • ‘Karl Vernes' current interest is in a small rufous bettong colony that lives in the New England region of northern NSW.’
    • ‘Adults have a rufous crown and a white throat-patch.’
    • ‘I have a hedge and it attracts Western tanagers, rufous hummingbirds, and yellow warblers, to name a few.’
    • ‘Though chiefly a root and fungus eater, today's rufous bettong (one of the smallest species of kangaroo) is in fact frequently observed to chew on animal bones.’
    • ‘The rufous turtle dove, which is more commonly found in Asia, often winters in Scandinavia, but its visits to Britain are rare.’
    • ‘In the rufous bush robin, nest size was positively related to the size of prey males carried to the nest to feed the young.’
    • ‘With a rufous red coat, white tail-tip and legs so spindly it is sometimes described as a giant fox on stilts, it stands 90 cm high at the shoulder - taller than a Great Dane.’
    • ‘Further down the road, at a checkpoint, rufous tree pies fly down and will perch on your hand for suitable compensation.’
    • ‘Most North Americans are familiar with either the ruby-throated hummingbird, east of the Rocky Mountains, or the rufous hummingbird, west of the Rockies.’
    • ‘Twice a year, rufous hummingbirds travel 2,500 miles between Central America and Alaska.’
    • ‘The adult in breeding plumage is mottled black-and-brown, with little or no rufous coloration.’
    • ‘At various times of the year other bird species include the red-tailed tropic bird, the rufous night heron, and frigate birds.’
    • ‘Females and males in non-breeding plumage are duller than breeding males, their backs mottled gray-brown rather than rufous.’
    • ‘Males in breeding plumage are unmistakable with their dark blue color, rufous sides and crown, and striking white patterning on the face, neck, sides, and back.’
    • ‘Along the Pacific Coast, the large Anna's hummingbird may be found, as well as Allen's, black-chinned, broad-tailed, calliope, Costa's, and rufous hummingbirds.’
    • ‘The types he most often sees are the rufous hummingbird, which summers here and migrates to Mexico for the winter, and the Anna's, which is a year-round resident.’
    • ‘They lack the bold rufous coloring of Western Bluebirds.’
    • ‘Eastern birds are bright yellow below with rufous streaks on their breasts; western birds are lightly streaked and drabber in color.’
    scarlet, vermilion, ruby, ruby-red, ruby-coloured, cherry, cherry-red, cerise, cardinal, carmine, wine, wine-red, wine-coloured, claret, claret-red, claret-coloured, blood-red
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mass noun
  • A reddish-brown colour.

    ‘pale southern races of peregrine have some rufous on nape’
    • ‘This large, long-tailed flycatcher has a pale yellow belly, gray breast and head, and rufous on its wings and tail.’


Late 18th century: from Latin rufus ‘red, reddish’ + -ous.