One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widowbird of SE Africa, the mainly black male of which has a very long tail.
- ‘Sightings of long tailed sakabula (widow) birds, a glimpse of a jackal or a small clan of donkeys herded by gentle Sotho herdsmen along the open road is not uncommon.’
- ‘Experimental manipulations of tail length proved two decades ago that long tails in male long-tailed widowbirds conferred mating advantages.’
- ‘The word 'Sakabula' comes from the Zulu word for the longtailed widow bird, a word that denotes a 'flirt' or 'show-off'. These birds are prolific in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands.’
Late 19th century: from Xhosa and Zulu isakabula.
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