mutton bird

or mut·ton-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.

Nearby words

  1. mutsuhito,
  2. mutt,
  3. mutt and jeff,
  4. mutter,
  5. mutton,
  6. mutton chop,
  7. mutton corn,
  8. mutton snapper,
  9. muttonbird,
  10. muttonbirder

Origin of mutton bird

First recorded in 1840–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for muttonbird


/ (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