One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small, stubby short-billed auk (seabird) with black plumage and white underparts, breeding in the Arctic.
Alle alle, family AlcidaeBritish term little auk
- ‘One would imagine this place to be a paradise of alcids of all types, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, razorbills, murres, and murrelets all splashing around in their black and white finery.’
- ‘The current study identified a close relationship between the great auk and the dovekie.’
- ‘A patchy distribution of crustaceans (including T. libellula) in the NOW was indicated in a study of the diet of dovekies.’
- ‘Many of the bird species live on the water all year, only coming onto land to breed, such as the northern fulmar, greater shearwater, dovekie, common murre, and thickbilled murre.’
Early 19th century (originally denoting the black guillemot, Cepphus grylle, also formerly called the Greenland dove): from a Scots diminutive of dove.
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