nutcracker


nutcracker
/nut"krak'euhr/, n.
1. an instrument or device for cracking the shells of nuts.
2. any of several corvine birds of the genus Nucifraga that feed on nuts, as the common nutcracker, N. caryocatactes, of Europe and Clark's nutcracker, N. columbiana, of the western U.S.
[1540-50; NUT + CRACKER]

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bird
 either of two sharp-billed, short-tailed birds belonging to the family Corvidae (order Passeriformes (passeriform)), found in coniferous forests (coniferous forest). The Eurasian nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) ranges from Scandinavia to Japan and has isolated populations in mountains farther south. It is 32 cm (12.5 inches) long and brownish, with white streaking and a white tail tip. Clark's nutcracker (N. columbiana) of western North America is pale gray, with a black tail and wings that show white patches in flight. Both species live chiefly on seeds and nuts (nut), which they often store underground for winter use. Clark's nutcracker hides several pine seeds in thousands of different caches and can recall these locations for eight or nine months. Researchers found that nutcrackers memorize these locations by making spatial references to large objects in their surroundings, such as boulders or trees; their phenomenal memory is facilitated by a specially enlarged hippocampus, the portion of the brain that forms memories.

Sy Montgomery
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nutcracker — Nut crack er, n. 1. An instrument for cracking nuts. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A European bird ({Nucifraga caryocatactes}), allied to the magpie and crow. Its color is dark brown, spotted with white. It feeds on nuts, seeds, and insects.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nutcracker — Nutcracker, The (1892) a ↑ballet with music by Tchaikovsky about a girl who dreams that her ↑nutcracker becomes a prince. It is one of the most popular ballets, and is often performed at Christmas …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • nutcracker — [nut′krak΄ər] n. 1. an instrument for cracking the shells of nuts, usually consisting of two hinged metal levers, between which the nut is squeezed 2. either of two jaylike corvid birds that feed on nuts; specif., a white spotted, dark brown… …   English World dictionary

  • Nutcracker — This article is about the mechanical device. For the ballet, see The Nutcracker. For other uses, see Nutcracker (disambiguation). A nutcracker with a functional design A nutcracker is a mechanical device for cracking nuts. Usually they work on… …   Wikipedia

  • nutcracker — UK [ˈnʌtˌkrækə(r)] / US [ˈnʌtˌkrækər] noun [countable] Word forms nutcracker : singular nutcracker plural nutcrackers a tool for breaking open the shells of nuts …   English dictionary

  • nutcracker — [[t]nʌ̱tkrækə(r)[/t]] nutcrackers N COUNT A nutcracker is a device used to crack the shell of a nut. Nutcrackers can be used to refer to one or more of these devices …   English dictionary

  • nutcracker — /ˈnʌtkrækə/ (say nutkrakuh) noun 1. (often plural) an instrument for cracking nuts. 2. either of two corvine birds of the genus Nucifraga which feed on nuts, as the spotted nutcracker, N. caryocatactes, of Eurasia …   Australian English dictionary

  • Nutcracker — riešutinė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Nucifraga caryocatactes angl. Nutcracker vok. Tannenhäher …   Paukščių anatomijos terminai

  • nutcracker — riešutinės statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Nucifraga angl. nutcracker rus. кедровка, f; ореховка, f pranc. cassenoix, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – varniniai siauresnis terminas – amerikinė riešutinė siauresnis terminas… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • nutcracker — noun Date: circa 1548 an implement for cracking nuts …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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