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Ruff (n.) A limicoline bird of Europe and Asia (Pavoncella, / Philommachus, pugnax) allied to the sandpipers. The males during the breeding season have a large ruff of erectile feathers, variable in their colors, on the neck, and yellowish naked tubercles on the face. They are polygamous, and are noted for their pugnacity in the breeding season. The female is called reeve, or rheeve.