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Old Friday 15th February 2008, 21:25   #1
s. james
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Northern Ireland Dialect Bird Names

Below is a list of dialect names from the "Concise Ulster Dictionary" (Macafee, 1996). Many are of Ulster Scots or Irish/Scottish Gaelic origin. Others would probably still be in use throughout the British Isles.

I've highlighted a few that I've heard before and also a few that I just like!

It's interesting that so many of them show a real in depth knowledge of the bird's appearance and natural history.

Ailsa cock/parrot- puffin
Allan hawk- great skua/ gn diver/ rt diver
Allibans- puffin
Apple-picker- chaffinch

Baldpate/baldy- coot
Bantam grebe- little grebe
Barduck- merganser/ shelduck
Barley bunting- corn bunting
Barnacle- brent goose
Bessy dooker- dipper
Billy biter/Billy blue-bonnet- blue tit
Black bonnet- reed bunting
Black diver- cormorant
Black duck- scoter
Black gull- arctic skua
Black hag- shag
Black martin- swift
Black-neb- crow
Black Paddy- shag
Black Puffin- black guillemot
Black scart- cormorant
Black skull- great tit
Black-toed gull- arctic skua
Black widgeon scaup/scoter
Blooterwheep- snipe
Blue hawk- sparrow hawk
Blue heron- grey heron
Blue wran- dunnock
Bog bluiter- bittern
Breedyeen- oystercatcher
Briar bunting- corn bunting
Bridle-neb- puffin
Budfinch- bullfinch
Burrian- rt diver
Butcher bird- mistle thrush

Caff- chaffinch
Chink- reed bunting
Chitty wren- wren
Chitterareery- yellowhammer
Chitty wink- kittiwake
Chough- jackdaw
Comber- merganser
Corporal- cormorant
Corney of the cap- goldfinch
Corney of the cravat- reed bunting/ stonechat
Cornageerie- mistle thrush
Cooter-neb- puffin
Crane duck- go grebe
Cran/hern cran- grey heron (still common name in Lurgan)
Cran widgeon- pintail
Croodlin doo- woodpigeon
Croupy- rook
Crow/craa- rook
Cuckoo’s maid- meadow pipit
Cuttyweery- any small sandpiper



Daw- jackdaw
Devilin- pied wagtail
Drink-a-penny- little grebe/ coot
Dunne- knot

Elk- whooper swan (There is an “Elk” bar/restaurant south of Lough Beg adjacent to the whooper’s wintering fields.)
Evening goat- snipe

Felt- fieldfare/ redwing/ mistle thrush
Field sparrow- dunnock
Finlay’s hawk- sparrow hawk
Fish rook- oystercatcher
Flinch- finch
Fooran- puffin
frost bird- fieldfare
Frybird- guillemot/ razorbill
Futtock- dunnock

Game hawk- Peregrine
Gant- gannet
garrabrack- oystercatcher
Garrog- black-headed gull
Gled(e)- kite/ hen harrier
Gabshite- skua
God’s bird- robin
God’s goat- snipe
God’s hen- wren
Goosehawk- peregrine
Gowk- cuckoo
Green linnet- greenfinch
Green plover- lapwing
Green scart- cormorant/ shag
Grey gull- an immature gull
Greyhead- jackdaw
Grey robin- dunnock
Guttersnipe- snipe

Half-moon- gold crest (from the shape of it’s crest!)
Hammerhead- whitethroat
Heath powt- red grouse
Heather cock/hen- red grouse
Heather grey- twite/ meadow pipit
heatherling- twite
Heather-bleat- snipe
hedgeling- dunnock
Herring hawk- manx shearwater
Hoodie- hooded crow
Horn ouzel- gc grebe
Horse gull- lbb gull

Jack curlew- whimbrel
Jack whaup- ringed plover
Jay- mistle thrush
Jenny dabber- tern
Jinny wran- wren

Kack- sparrow hawk
Kay/ka- jackdaw
King-gull- gbb gull
King harry- redpoll
Kite- buzzard/ hen harrier
Kitteryweary- redshank

Land drake/rail- corncrake
Lappeen- lapwing
Laughing gull- herring gull
Lilty- linnet
Limpet picker- oystercatcher
Lintie- linnet

Mackerel cock- manx shearwater
Mary of the trousers- hen reed bunting
Mavis- song thrush
May bird/curlew/jack/whaup- whimbrel
Merle- blackbird
Mire drum- bittern
Mire snipe- snipe
Molrooken- gc grebe
Mosscheeper- meadow pipit
Mossy grey- twite
Mountain star- golden plover
mud lark- dunlin
Murren- razorbill
Mussel-picker- oystercatcher

Nettle-grey- whitethroat
New gull- fulmar
Wee/Irish nightingale- sedge warbler
Norway duck- scaup
Norwegian whaup- bar tailed godwit

Ool- owl
oysterpicker- oystercatcher

Peeweet/peesweep etc.- lapwing
Penny bird- little grebe
Pienet- magpie
Pine-maw- black headed gull
Pirrie- tern
Pope’s eye- gold crest
Purrin bird- nightjar
Pyot- magpie

Quest- woodpigeon

Rainbird- curlew
Red-head- pochard
Red-neb- puffin
Reeler- nightjar
Ring rasher- reed bunting
Ring rush- ring ouzel
Rock ouzel- oystercatcher
Rook- jackdaw
Rosy grey- redpoll
Rush sparrow- reed bunting
Russian curlew- bar-tailed godwit

St. Bride’s bird- oystercatcher
Sally picker- chiffchaff/ willow warbler
Sally wren- chiffchaff/ willow warbler
Sandlark- any sandpiper
Scald crow- hooded crow
Scale drake- shelduck
Scaler duck- merganser
Scamler- merganser
Scarf/ scart- cormorant/ shag
Scoot- razorbill
Screech/shriek- mistle thrush
Sea magpie/pyot- oystercatcher
Seal- grey heron
Seggan runner- water rail
Seven whistler- whimbrel
shear leeks- grey partridge
Shitehawk- skua
Shuffle wing- dunnock
Single snipe- jack snipe
Skir- tern
Skrike owl- barn owl
Slater- starling
Snib- snipe
Snowburd- starling
Solan goose- gannet
sparrow hawk- kestrel
Spear widgeon- merganser
Speedy grey- redpoll
Spiddiock- robin
Spink- finch
Spool whaup- bar tailed godwit/ whimbrel
Spoonbill- shoveler
Spug- house sparrow
Spurr- common tern
Squirley thrush- mistle thrush
Stagger stone- wheatear
Stare- starling
Stone row- knot
Stone twister- wheatear
Stucky- starling
Summer snipe- common sandpiper

Tattle- meadow pipit
Throstle- song thrush
Titling- meadow pipit
Tittymouse/ Tam titty mouse- blue tit
Titty wran- wren
Tam whinney- little grebe
Tommy norrie- puffin
Tom puddin- little grebe
Torie bird- grasshopper warbler
Tossel head- gc grebe

Wallapy- lapwing
Watter hen- moorhen
weather bleat- snipe
Wee diver- little grebe
Wee water hen- water rail
Welsh parrot- puffin
Wet-my fut- quail
Whaup/whap/whaap- curlew
Wilkpicker - oystercatcher
Whin grey- linnet
Whin sparrow- dunnock
Whistler- golden eye
White owl- barn owl
Whitterick- little grebe
Wild duck- mallard
Wild pigeon- woodpigeon
Willie dooker- cormorant
Willie wagtail- pied wagtail ( still common name in Lurgan)
Willow wren- chiffchaff
Woodcock owl- short eared owl
Woodpecker- tree creeper
Wool-cottar- cormorant
Wran- wren

Yarwhelp- godwit
Yellow wagtail- grey wagtail
Yoldring/yella yorlin/ yella yalder etc.- yellowhammer
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Last edited by s. james : Friday 15th February 2008 at 21:32.
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Old Friday 15th February 2008, 21:42   #2
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Great post Stephen,
I can add

Laverock - Lark {Sky} As in Caerlaverock in Scotland. Perhaps not used in NI though.

White Aboon Gled - Hen Harrier. Again Scots
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Old Saturday 16th February 2008, 19:00   #3
s. james
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brosnabirder View Post
Great post Stephen,
I can add

Laverock - Lark {Sky} As in Caerlaverock in Scotland. Perhaps not used in NI though.

White Aboon Gled - Hen Harrier. Again Scots
Thanks. It took me a while! I probably missed a few out.

Found "leverock" for skylark in James Fenton's Ulster-Scots Dictionary. The term is listed as "rare".
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Old Thursday 6th March 2008, 19:17   #4
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Goldfinches are called Pinks around here ........Stephen aka Buidhean (Yellowhammer)

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Old Thursday 6th March 2008, 22:55   #5
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Originally Posted by BUIDHEAN View Post
Goldfinches are called Pinks around here ........Stephen aka Buidhean (Yellowhammer)
Buidhéan translates to yellow (Bui) bird (éan)

Twite.

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Old Friday 7th March 2008, 16:01   #6
s. james
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUIDHEAN View Post
Goldfinches are called Pinks around here ........Stephen aka Buidhean (Yellowhammer)
Pinks! I forgot that one. I've also heard pinkies for the same species.

Always thought it was a strange name for goldfinches.
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Old Friday 7th March 2008, 19:29   #7
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Something to do with the males 'pink face' perhaps, I shall ask someone I know who might have the answer ........there is an 'Eagle Bar' here in Charlemont, with a figure of an eagle (osprey?) with a fish, above the door. I shall try and get a picture some nice day and post it ........ Stephen
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Old Tuesday 9th December 2008, 12:25   #8
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Very interestin thread. It's a small world, I grew up about 3 miles from Charlemont, and definitely Pinks are a term people use a lot for goldfinches. Jinty gets used for wren, and Hern Cran as mentioned is a common one there too. Ahh, Christmas is coming and I can't wait to get back home again for a break from the ratrace!
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Old Tuesday 9th December 2008, 15:41   #9
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Very nice post. "Sparrow Hawk" (for "Kestrel") appears to have traveled across the Atlantic since this was long the "official" name of the American Kestrel until changed by the AOU a few decades ago. Interestingly enough, none of the other 2 old American names in the "series" appears on your list: "Pigeon Hawk" (for Merlin) & "Duck Hawk" (Peregrine). Also no "Marsh Hawk" (for Hen Harrier). "Sparrow Hawk" for American Kestrel is still occasionally heard--the kestrel being such a familiar bird to many people--but as far as my experience goes "Duck Hawk" & "Pigeon Hawk" have disappeared without trace in American usage.
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2009, 10:58   #10
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Just thought of another. In Co. Armagh, some folks call Chaffinches "whitewings".
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Old Saturday 17th January 2009, 18:06   #11
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I remember an old chap near Oxford Island a few years back referring to Common Terns as 'Snipey Gulls' (apparently because of their long bills).
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Old Monday 30th March 2009, 16:46   #12
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OMG - I so want to go to your parties !

I love the Ulster / Scots dialect and believe its so important to keep it alive.

Fer play till yees.

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Old Monday 30th March 2009, 17:13   #13
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I used to write a column for Bird Watching mag some years back called 'whats in a name' explaining the origin of English and scientific names and giving some examples of older English names for birds. Without diving for my favourite references (which are still boxed up due to recent office move), some others off the top of my head (sorry, not N Irish but I hope interesting nonetheless) inc -

Bogbumber - Bittern
Butterbump - Bittern
Goatsucker - Nightjar
Lintie - both Linnet and Twite
Toadsnatcher - Reed Bunting (my favourite for obvious reasons)
Shitebird - Arctic Skua

Whilst leading a trip to Shetland some years back we tried to use just Shetland names for birds but no one knew what Wren was! So we invented our own - Scurry Moosey (speak it with a Shetland accent or a Scottish accent if you dont know what Shetlanders sound like!)
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Old Thursday 9th April 2009, 12:36   #14
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Nice list, I can see remnants of Gaelic and German in quite a few.
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Old Thursday 9th April 2009, 16:40   #15
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Originally Posted by Vogeljung View Post
Nice list, I can see remnants of Gaelic and German in quite a few.
Yep you're right. The original book gives the etymologies(sic?) of most of the names but I couldn't be bothered typing them all out!.
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Old Thursday 18th June 2009, 16:16   #16
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Wonderful thread, many thanks for posting.

It brought back happy memories of my youth, birdwatching in Scotland.

I also remember Yella Yite for Yellowhammer.
I wonder is that used in Northern Ireland?

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Old Sunday 11th August 2013, 14:58   #17
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Sheugh duck - Moorhen

Makes sense...they are often is found in a sheugh!
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