a rare bird

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a rare bird

LITERARY
If you call someone or something a rare bird, you mean that they are very unusual. Diane Johnson's book is that rare bird, an American novel of manners. Note: `A rare bird' is a translation of the Latin expression `rara avis', which was used by the Roman writer Juvenal in the 2nd century AD to describe a black swan. At the time, black swans were unknown, although they were later discovered in Australia.
See also: bird, rare
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

rare bird

an exceptional person or thing; a rarity.
The English expression is a literal translation of the Latin rara avis .
2005 Apollo Magazine Joseph Southall is that rare bird, an Arts and Crafts painter.
See also: bird, rare
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a rare ˈbird

a person or thing that is unusual, often because they have/it has two very different interests or qualities: Jill is a very rare bird, a good politician and an excellent listener.This expression is a translation of the Latin idiom ‘rara avis’.
See also: bird, rare
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rare bird

n. an unusual person; a person with rare talents or abilities. An interesting kind of rare bird is the man who can take long vacations and still make money.
See also: bird, rare
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

rare bird, a

An unusual phenomenon or person. The term is a translation from Juvenal’s Satires (ca. a.d. 120), in which, speaking of chastity, he writes, “Rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno” (A bird as rare upon the earth as a black swan). The term was soon being applied to other rare phenomena, often as sarcastically as Juvenal had used it, as, for example, for “an honest lawyer” (John Wesley, Journal, 1764).
See also: rare
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"We are happy to see these three black-necked stork chicks because they are a rare bird, not often seen in the forest," said a statement quoting Yoeun Yerb, a WCS-supported nest protector in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary."We achieved our goal of guarding the nest and strongly hope that others will help to safeguard this species." The Bird Nest Protection Program in the Northern Plains of Cambodia is a payment structure designed to combat the threat of egg and chick collection.
We knew it was different, but were surprised to discover it was a rare bird in our area.
TWITCHERS are flocking to a Black Country field to take a glance of a rare bird wintering in our region.
Is it ethical to kill a rare bird? The scientific community does not support the practice of removing animals from their natural habitat for research, especially when the animal is designated as an endangered species.
Bankura (West Bengal), March 10 ( ANI ): A rare bird sighted at Sanbandha village on the outskirts of Bankura town in West Bengal amazed curious onlookers and bird lovers.
Hoopoe is a rare bird in the UK and particularly uncommon in the Tees Valley area."
BIRDWATCHERS flocked to Tyneside to catch a glimpse of a rare bird.
It was the second death of a rare bird in Scotland in as many weeks.
BEMUSED police officers were led on a merry dance by a rare bird with a mohican.
A RARE bird got lost on its way to India - and ended up in KERRY.
Conservation ranger Iolo Lloyd said it was remarkable to see so many specimens of such a rare bird in Clocaenog.
A RARE bird which arrived in England as a stowaway on a boat has sparked a twitching frenzy as hundreds of spotters flock to see it.
So he comes up with a scheme to report a sighting of a rare bird, and before they know it, the place is crawling with birders, flying in from all over the place to catch a glimpse of the non-existent bird.
This goes for the twitchers, or rare-bird spotters, who covet the record for species sighted in Britain and who travel thousands of miles for a chance to see a rare bird. Originally published in the United Kingdom in 2001.
Kotuku is the Maori word for the great white heron, a rare bird that appears to Wire in the marsh, a bird Wire learns about when she understands some Maori mythology.