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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 19:46   #1
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I have some doubts on the explanaition on mango in the key:

By confusion Albin 1731, gave the name "Mango Bird" to a hummingbird, the Jamaican Mango, an error perpetuated by Linnaeus 1758. However, Olson & Levy 2013, have shown that Albin's "Mango Bird" was undoubtedly the Indian Golden Oriole Oriolus kundoo; "60. TROCHILUS. ... Mango. 16. T. rectricibus subæqualibus ferrugineis, corpore testaceo, abdomine atro. Mellivora Mango. Alb. av. 3. p. 45. t. 49. f. 2. Habitat in Jamaica." (Linnaeus 1758) (Anthracothorax).
If I look at Albin Plate 49 see attachement, I cannot identify an Indian Golden Oriole at all. And one page later we can read in the other attachment.

This Bird I had by the Name of the Mango Bird, which I believe to be an imposed Name: It is one of the Humming Birds, the Head, Black and Wings were a mixtrure of copper Colour, red and gold interchangeably mixt, very beautiful to behold; the Breast, Belly and Thighs were a velvet black intermixt with shining green; the Tail is a little more than an Inch long; The Feathers of a mixt Colour, of blew, red and green; the Bill and Legs are of blewish Colour. In the year 1701, when I was at Jamaica, I took one of these Birds in the dusk of the Evening with her Nest, which was built with Cotton in the Branches of the Phyfick-nut Trees growing in that Island, in which was two finall white round Eggs as big as Peas;
I have no clue how Olson & Levy 2013 came to their conclusion.

Anyway no idea what Mango means. I doubt is the same etymological origin as the fruit Mango.
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Old Thursday 16th May 2019, 21:42   #2
laurent raty
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See also (With a link to Olson & Levy 2013, and an alternative theory by Björn.)
The idea was that Albin may have heard the name used for the Oriole (which is known to have been called Mango-bird at that time), then mixed up things and applied it in his book to the hummingbird that is on the plate. (Which is indeed undoubtedly a hummingbird.)
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 09:06   #3
Björn Bergenholtz
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I´m still kind of fond of my old theory on the possible origin of the name "Mango Bird" and the subsequent Mango Hummingbird/s ...

Note that Olson & Levy (2013) wrote:
Albin claimed, for example, that he had been in Jamaica in 1701 and had observed both of the species he discussed. We know of no evidence from Albin’s ornithological writings or other sources that would corroborate his ever having been to Jamaica. [on p.432]
Maybe they simply missed that Eleazar Albin, in his early years, seems to have been Eleazar Weiss* [possibly of German origin, some claim he was born in Cologne (Köln)]. He apparently changed his surname in 1707, when he moved to England (Weiss, meaning; white, as in albus, Albin, albino, etc.). If Olson & Levy tried to find an "Eleazar Albin" visiting Jamaica in 1701 they would have little chance of finding such a person.

At the very end of their paper (on p.343) Olson & Levy conclude:
There is no other known connection between the hummingbird and anything to do with mangos or any other word that sounds like “mango”. Thus, the long use of “mango” to denote an entire genus of hummingbirds and its more recent use to designate a significant subgroup of the family Trochilidae, appears to have been based on a historical blunder that never had any etymological justification.
Apparently they'd never heard of (or simply missed) the Jamaican "God-Birds" ... as in a possible, thinkable (Man) "God-Bird" ... !?

In my mind we´ll never know the true origin, not for sure.


*Donald Heald Rare Books ; A Selection of Rare Books (Fall 2015):
ALBIN, Eleazar (c.1680-c.1742).
Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux

Eleazar Albin came to England from Germany in about 1707, changing his surname from Weiss. “To earn a living he made watercolour drawings of objects of natural history in the cabinets of wealthy collectors, such as Sir Hans Sloane, who became his patrons. When he decided to publish his drawings, these patrons subscribed to his books ... He etched some of his 306 copperplates for A Natural history of birds ... These were issued in three volumes between 1731 and 1738 ... With the publication of this book, Albin became the instigator or very early exponent of the many facets of the zoological illustrated book in England. This was the first English bird book with hand-coloured illustrations etched in part by the author himself. Albin established the tradition of an illustration of the bird and branch kind” (Jackson, Dictionary of Bird Artists)."

[unpaginated pdf, here; Search for: "Albin"]
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Old Saturday 18th May 2019, 19:30   #4
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Interesting theory. Indeed we can find e.g. in...

Connie M. Toops: Hummingbirds: Jewels in Flight. 1992, p. 13

Caciques of Taíno tribes in the Caribbean also wore hummingbird ear decorations. For them, the bird was a symbol of rebirth. On Caribbean islands, hummingbirds are "doctor birds." Jamaicans recognized the motion sharp-billed hummers use to pierce flowers for nectar as similar to the jab of a doctor using a lancet. Puerto Rican hummingbird nests are thought by natives to cure asthma. Dominicans believe nests can cure earaches, while some Cubans and Mexicans use dried, pulverized hummingbirds in love potions. Names for hummingbirds reflect their dazzling plumage. Caribbean Indians called them colibri, "sun-god birds."
...or in...

Robert R. Gillogly: A Celebration of Cheer: Sermons for the Birds, 2000 - p xviii

The Taíno word for hummingbird, colibri, means 'god-bird' or 'sun-god-bird'.
Lead me to search for Taíno and mango. And even if not in Jamaica I found:

El Mango. An early, historic Indian site (sub-Taino) near Holguin, Oriente, Cuba (Goggin, 1960; Rouse 1942: 66-71).
So it might be that mango has a meaning in Taíno language? More here about Potrero de El Mango.

Last edited by Taphrospilus : Saturday 18th May 2019 at 19:36.
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