Word of the Week (247): PAURAQUE (*new CSW15*) (probability 32827), by David Sutton

PAURAQUE is another one from the American list, and again OSPD teases my ornithological knowledge with the vagueness of its definition: 'a long-tailed nocturnal bird'. Well, I suppose that rules out owls. And a PAURAQUE, I find, is a tropical or subtropical species of nightjar, found from southern Texas down to Uruguay. I wonder if its sound is as enchanting as that of our own domestic nightjar: I was running once in the New Forest at twilight and passing a clearing suddenly heard a sound like bubbling springs though no water was to be seen: it was nightjars stirring in preparation for their roding flight.

CSW15 brings us quite a few more birds. The not likely to be played KISKADEE is a kind of flycatcher. The more useful MANUCODE is a Javan bird of paradise. WRENTIT is a long-tailed North American bird. SHIKRA is a small Indian sparrowhawk. The existing WHYDAH gets a variant WHYDA, the existing GREYHEN, the female of the blackcock, gets a variant GRAYHEN, and if you want a word for a young peafowl it's PEACHICK.

SITTINE, formerly an adjective meaning 'relating to the nuthatch species', now becomes nounal, so SITTINES. SORD, previously a noun referring to a flock of mallards, now becomes a verb, 'to ascend in flight', so SORDED and SORDING. And SPINK, a dialect word for a chaffinch, now becomes a verb, to chirp like a finch, so SPINKED and SPINKING.


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