A flageolet is an old woodwind instrument. It belongs to the end-blown flute family. It started to be used in the 16th century for folk music. There are two types: the French type and the English type. The French flageolet had four holes in the front and two in the back. The English flageolet had six holes in the front.
The flageolet is quite similar to the recorder. In the 18th century it changed because a narrow mouthpiece made of ivory or bone was added at the top. This led into another section which bulged out. There was a soft sponge at the end of this. Sometimes this instrument was called the "flautino". The piccolo developed from it. Another instrument that developed from it was the tin whistle.
Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel both wrote pieces for it.
Small versions of this instrument, called bird flageolets were also made and were used for teaching birds to sing.
The illustrated Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments; ISBN 3-8331-2195-5