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wall full of cuckoo clocks
Image: picture-alliance/imagebroker/F. Kopp

Quirky German bird idioms

Dagmar Breitenbach
June 30, 2021

Quite a few everyday German idioms use bird imagery. Here's what Germans mean when they tell you 'only the cuckoo knows' or they'd rather have 'a sparrow in their hand than a pigeon on the roof.'

https://p.dw.com/p/3acwz

Animals play a large role in everyday idioms in many languages, and that includes all manner of birds. In English, for instance, people know exactly what you mean when you say "free as a bird, like a duck to water, proud as a peacock, scarce as a hen's teeth, as the crow flies, water off a duck's back, birds of a feather flock together and happy as a lark," to name just a few.

How green is Germany?

The German language also has a host of bird-related idioms. Click on the above picture gallery to find out more about cuckoos and sparrows and blind hens!

You'll find more from Meet the Germans on Instagram,YouTube or at dw.com/MeettheGermans.

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