rare bird, a

a rare bird

A person or thing that is very unusual, especially due to a combination of typically incompatible features. Their latest model is a rare bird indeed, a spacious hatchback that still feels premium and elegant in its design. The film is a rare bird—funny, crass, and yet more emotionally powerful than anything I've seen all year.
See also: bird, rare

rare bird, a

An exceptional individual, a unique person, as in That wife of yours is a rare bird; you're lucky to have her. This idiom, generally used as a compliment, is a translation of the Latin rara avis, which itself was used from about 1600 on and began to be translated only in the late 1800s.
See also: rare
References in periodicals archive ?
An irrefutable sighting by Gallagher and a colleague in February 2004 quickly led to the largest search ever mounted to find a rare bird, as researchers fanned out across the bayou to document this most iconic of birds.