mutton bird

or mutton-bird


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.



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Origin of mutton bird

First recorded in 1840–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for mutton bird

  • For food, there was shell-fish and mutton-bird eggs, with no lack of boiling water to cook them.

    The Moon Rock|Arthur J. Rees
  • Starvation stared them in the face, when it was discovered that Mount Pitt was honeycombed with mutton-bird burrows.

  • The mutton-bird, it will therefore be allowed, is the most prolific of all avian colonists.

British Dictionary definitions for mutton bird

/ (ˈmʌtənˌbɜːd) /


Australian 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
any of various petrels esp the short tailed shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris, which inhabits the Pacific Ocean and in summer nests in S Australia

Word Origin for muttonbird

C19: so named because their cooked flesh is claimed to taste like mutton
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012