One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A forest bird of Sri Lanka which at night gives a call resembling a wail or scream (variously identified as a nightjar, honey buzzard, hawk eagle, or owl).
2English regional. The common swift, Apus apus.
Mid 18th century (in an earlier sense). From devil + bird, so called (variously) with reference to their dark plumage, their shrieking call, their tendency to appear ahead of bad weather, or a combination of these.
devil bird/ˈdɛvl bəːd/
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