• synonyms


  1. either of two white sea birds, Chionis alba or C. minor, of the colder parts of the Southern Hemisphere: so called from the horny sheath covering the base of the upper bill.
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Origin of sheathbill

First recorded in 1775–85; sheath + bill2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sheathbill

Historical Examples

  • Here I found two pairs of the sheathbill (Chionis alba) a bird whose place in the system has puzzled ornithologists.

    Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Vol. 2 (of 2)

    John MacGillivray

British Dictionary definitions for sheathbill


  1. either of two pigeon-like shore birds, Chionis alba or C. minor, of antarctic and subantarctic regions, constituting the family Chionididae: order Charadriiformes. They have a white plumage and a horny sheath at the base of the bill
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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