pyr·​rhu·​lox·​ia ¦pir-(y)ə-¦läk-sē-ə How to pronounce pyrrhuloxia (audio)
plural -s
: a medium-sized songbird (Cardinalis sinuatus) of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico that has a short, thick bill, a prominent crest, and gray and red plumage
The pyrrhuloxia is shaped like a cardinal but the male is gray with red accents on face, breast, crest, wings and tail. His bill is heavier and pale. The female is all gray.Phyllis Yochem, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, 12 Feb. 2005
… many of the park's long-term campers maintain seed and citrus feeders for hummingbirds, thrashers, northern cardinals and the less-common pyrrhuloxias, the beautiful wine and gray desert cardinals.Jim Burns, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), 18 Dec. 2008

called also desert cardinal

Word History


New Latin, from Pyrrhula, genus of finches (from Greek pyrrhoulas, a red-colored bird, perhaps the bullfinch, from pyrrhos red) + Loxia

First Known Use

1896, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pyrrhuloxia was in 1896

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Cite this Entry

“Pyrrhuloxia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

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