One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tropical African and Asian songbird that typically has a melodious voice and drab plumage. Many kinds have a crest.
- ‘However, I stray from the purpose of our trip: birds, which were no less alluring than all the scenes mentioned above, with names such as leafbirds, bulbuls, coucals, laughingthrushes, babblers, sunbirds and junglefowl.’
- ‘Of the songbirds, the light-vented bulbul was a symbol of longevity thanks to the white cap on its head, which gave it the appearance of a white-haired old man.’
- ‘Flocks of wintering water birds include the thrush, the kingfisher, the robin, the shama, the barbet, the bee-eater, the flycatcher, the sunbird, the bulbul and the drongo.’
- ‘‘We feed the birds in our garden and have enjoyed seeing several parents feeding their young - among them bulbuls, barbets, mousebirds and weavers,’ she says.’
- ‘Out back I watched two house sparrows and two white-cheeked bulbuls fruitlessly chasing a large white moth.’
Mid 17th century: from Persian, of imitative origin.
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