muttonbird

mutton bird

noun
any of several long-winged seabirds, often used as food, especially Puffinus tenuirostris (short-tailed shearwater) of Australia and Puffinus griseus (sooty shearwater) which breeds in the Southern Hemisphere and winters in the Northern Hemisphere.
Also, mutton-bird.


Origin:
1840–50

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World English Dictionary
muttonbird (ˈmʌtənˌbɜːd)
 
n
1.  (Austral) any of several shearwaters, having a dark plumage with greyish underparts, esp the sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) of New Zealand, which is collected for food by Māoris. It inhabits the Pacific Ocean and in summer nests in Australia and New Zealand
2.  any of various petrels esp the short tailed shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris, which inhabits the Pacific Ocean and in summer nests in S Australia
 
[C19: so named because their cooked flesh is claimed to taste like mutton]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

muttonbird

any of several shearwaters (oceanic bird species), whose chicks are harvested commercially for meat and oil. The species principally utilized are the short-tailed, or slender-billed, shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris), in Australia and Tasmania, and the sooty shearwater (P. griseus), in New Zealand. Certain of the large petrels (Pterodroma species) are also harvested occasionally, as are some fulmars.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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