Text and photos by Maia Tanedo
For this issue, I’d like to share an article I wrote for my personal blog featuring some scientific names of birds I’ve encountered. I’m a teacher by profession and the world of ornithology and the “technicality” of taxonomy was an interesting but mysterious field when I started out birding. It still is an interesting and mysterious field for me but when I stumbled upon this book, suddenly scientific names made a lot more sense to me! I hope it’s as interesting for you as it is for me. Enjoy!
Birding hasn’t been on my agenda for quite a long time now and I’ve been missing being out in the wilderness. The next best thing for me was to turn to my bookshelf and give in to my inner nerd. I finally finished the book I borrowed from my friend Jon J. some months back.
Yes, Latin for Bird Lovers by Roger Lederer and Carol Burr. I learned more than I expected to learn in the book and it was awesome! I took down some notes to make sure I would remember the bits of information I read. Here are most of my notes:So, there were words that I was already familiar with, such as:
|as in Anas luzonica or Philippine Duck|
as in Sarcops calvus or Coleto
There were also lots of other gems of information that I learned while going through the book. I do hope I remember all of them!
|as in Accipiter virgatus or Besra|
as in Batrachostomus septimus
or Philippine Frogmouth
|as in Pitta erythrogaster or Red-bellied Pitta|
|as in Gallirallus torquatus or Barred Rail|
|as in Halcyon smyrnensis||or White-throated Kingfisher|
|as in Muscicapa ferruginea||or Ferruginous Flycatcher|
|as in Nycticorax nycticorax||or Black-crowned Night-Heron|
|as in Pycnonotus goiavier or Yellow-vented Bulbul|
or Stripe-headed Rhabdornis
|as in Zosterops meyeni or Lowland White-eye|
There were also other words that don’t really have any Greek or special background:
|Like this would-be lifer for me, it is unknown||if it is a Northern or Chocolate Boobook|
The book also taught me about the people some birds are named after, like:
- Anna’s Hummingbird was named after Princess Anna d’Essling, Duchess of Rivoli. I’ve always been curious who Anna was =)
- Gould’s Bronze Cuckoo was named after John Gould, taxidermist of Charles Darwin, artist, and author.
- Everetti, as in Zosterops everetti or Everett’s White-eye, is after British collector Alfred Everett.
- Jefferyi, as in Pithecophaga jefferyi or Philippine Eagle, is after Jeffery Whitehead, father of John Whitehead who was an English explorer and naturalist.
- Kochi, as in Erythtropitta kochi or Whiskered Pitta, is after after Gottleib von Koch who was a German collector and taxidermist. It’s pronounced KOCK-eye.
- Steerii, as in Pitta steerii or Steere’s Pitta, is after American ornithologist, Joseph Steere.
This one was really interesting to me, because it is a more folklore-ish background of naming a bird rather than based on field marks, plus I also like cuckoos:
|as in Cacomantis sepulcralis||or Rusty-breasted Cuckoo|
I can finally return the book to Jon! Yay! There was much more I learned on top of what I have included here and I really hope I remember everything… or, maybe I’ll just have to get myself a copy of the book 😉