Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dicky-bird n.1

also dickey-bird, dickie, dickie bird

1. a prostitute; esp. as naughty dicky-bird.

[UK]Annals of Sporting 1 June 403: [He] hearkened to the Syren’s voice, accompanied by the naughty dicky-birds’ tattoo at the glaze of his roost.
[UK]‘George Barnwell’ in Universal Songster I 19/1: Now as soon as he’d shut the shop up, / He vent to this naughty dicky bird, / And ven he vent home the next morning, / Blow me if he could speak a vord.
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 12 Oct. 239/1: What could have been the similarity between the two characters [...] it was not his intimacy with dickey birds.
[UK]Sam Sly 7 Apr. 2/2: Master Jack Cut—sh, the hopeful son of the pork butcher [...] not visit a certain tavern in the Strand so often, in search of dicky birds, they will be your ruin.

2. a louse.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] dickies n. head lice [...] dickie head n. child suffering from head lice.

3. a small bird; a chicken or goose.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Mar. XXIII 304/1: [heading] On Dicky Birds, Wasps, And The Like.
[UK]T. Creevey letter 23 Jan. in Gore Creevey Papers (1948) 179: She is like one of her gold and silver musical dickey birds. [...] She begins to sing at eleven o’clock.
[UK]Comic Almanack Feb. 79: The Cockney Sportsman grounds his arms, / And dicky birds are free from harms.
[Ire] ‘The Horticultural Wife’ Dublin Comic Songster 22: A cherry that’s left for the dicky birds to pick.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 64: She went ramp cranky [...] The pretty little dickey-birds all flew to pot. / She pison’d the old man’s ass, and smashed his hat, / Kicked out the dog; and, then, she shot the cat.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 269: I have been at the chasse of de small dicky-bird – tom-tit – cock-robin.
[UK]R. Hallam Wadsley Jack 11: She sed to me ’a I wor a dear, ducky, darling dickey-bird.
[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 27: Any dicky-bird of mine will pine and die if the smallest quantity of tainted matter is allowed to remain in his house.
[UK]W.S. Gilbert ‘Baines Carew, Gentleman’ Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads 71: My wife (in other matters sane) / Pretends that I’m a Dicky bird! / She makes me sing, ‘Too-whit, too-wee!’.
[UK]‘R. Andom’ Martha and I 251: I asked straight for a goose. [...] ‘Yes; prime ’uns,’ was the reply. ‘Here, Bill,’—to an assistant—‘chuck up a dicky for this toff.’.
[UK]Collins & Godfrey [perf. Vesta Victoria] Now I have to call him Father [lyrics] I used to be as happy as the dickies on the trees.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Rathskeller & the Rose’ in Voice of the City (1915) 179: Member of the famous ‘Dickey-bird’ octette.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Game’ Moods of Ginger Mick 109: Ho! the sky’s as blue as blazes, an’ the sun is shinin’ bright, / An’ the dicky birds is singin’ over’ead.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 87: Wish ter ’eaven ’E’d take it inter ’Is ’ead ter send a little dicky-bird down ere wif sommat tasty fer me!
[US]E. Pound letter Apr. in Paige (1971) 245: The toodle oot of the dicky bird.
[UK]N. Mitford Pigeon Pie 138: Bring your Bow-wow, your Puss-puss, your Dickie-bird.
[UK]G.W. Target Teachers (1962) 42: A little dicky-bird must have told me.
[UK]W. Manus Mott the Hoople 9: There is a sound more endearing than the burble of a dickeybird.
[Ire]Eilis Brady All in! All in! 81: Two little dickie-birds / Sitting on the wall. / One named Peter, / The other named Paul.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 23 June 12: Use of shingle or mirrors which might confuse dickie birds.

4. a professional singer.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 305/1: from ca. 1870.

5. (US, also bird) an informer, a betrayer.

[US]H. Hapgood Autobiog. of a Thief 193: I was tipped off to you by a Dicky Bird (stool pigeon) damn him!
[UK]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 239: ‘I’d give a tidy bit to know who put you on to this game,’ he said finally. ‘A little dicky-bird.’.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 245: ‘How did yu know I’d gone a-tall?’ ‘Oh, dicky-birds tell tales.’ ‘Yeah, dirty dickie-birds.’.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Who Live In Shadow (1960) 139: They’ll all chirp. All junkies are potential birds.

6. the penis [bird n.3 (1)].

[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 55: I was the president of the Van Gogh club until Garry David cut his penis off [...] When the dicky birds start hitting the pavement I thought it was time to resign.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 104: I don’t mind that I had my ears hacked off, but the dickie bird stays where it is.