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ammodendri

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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 16:11   #1
joekroex
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ammodendri

I believe that the ammodendri in Passer ammodendri (Saxaul Sparrow) refers to Black Saxaul Haloxylon ammodendron, the tree in the amaranth family, and not to the legume genus of Sand Acacias Ammodendron. Due to the fact that both plant types inhabit the central Asian steppes where Saxaul Sparrow is distributed (see Flora of the USSR for Ammodendron spp. and for Black Saxaul), and that their scientific names show similarities, it seems that many have been confusing one for the other.

However, Gould's plate in his Birds of Asia (London: Gould, 1872), v. pl. 15, pt 24 shows the birds in a Black Saxaul tree (even though he provides them with the English name Turkestan Sparrow). Also, Hartert in Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1910), i. 159 says:
'Saxaul Sparrows inhabit loamy and sandy plains, especially in the vicinity of streams. […] They love saxaul shrubs in particular, the seeds of which are their primary food source. They build their nests in saxaul shrubs in sparrow style […].' (my trans.)
The first mention of anything 'saxaul' as a name in the literature that I have come across is in 1877 when Przhevalsky uses the Russian Vorobey sacsaulney (i.e. Saxaul Sparrow) in 'The birds of Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet', in George Rowley ed.,Ornithological Miscellany (London: Trübner, Quaritch, Porter, 1877), ii. 294. Przhevalsky assigns authorship of Passer ammodendri to Nikolai Severtzov (as did Gould, by the way), who provided the type but could not get his descriptive document out until 1873 (translated by Dresser as 'Notes on Severtzoff's "Fauna of Turkestan" (Turkestanskie jevotnie)', Ibis, 3rd ser., 5/18 (1875), 239–240), which by then was preceded by Gould. Perhaps he made use of the saxaul reference (through Vorobey sacsaulney), but I have not found the original Russian document.
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 11:03   #2
l_raty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joekroex View Post
Perhaps he made use of the saxaul reference (through Vorobey sacsaulney), but I have not found the original Russian document.
The Russian text is at: http://books.e-heritage.ru/book/10080878
I did not find the vernacular but, on p. 116 (image 118), he wrote:
Quote:
Эта птица добыта у форта Перовскаго зимой, у Джулека и зимой, и лѣтомъ; замечена зимой на Джаны-Дарьѣ, вообще осѣдла по саксаульникамъ.
(= "This bird was caught at the Perovsk fort in winter, at Julek in winter, and in summer; seen in winter on the Jany-Darya, generally settled on saxaul.")
Thus the reference to saxaul is certainly there.

Last edited by l_raty : Wednesday 11th September 2019 at 11:28.
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 11:51   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l_raty View Post
The Russian text is at: http://books.e-heritage.ru/book/10080878
I did not find the vernacular but, on p. 116 (image 118), he wrote:

(= "This bird was caught at the Perovsk fort in winter, at Julek in winter, and summer; seen in winter on the Jany-Darya, generally settled on saxaul.")
Thus the reference to saxaul is certainly there.
Thanks for finding the book and translating the sentence. It looks like he doesn't use vernacular names at all at the species level. Maybe in another part of the work, but it is hard searching through it. (I am almost certain that I have seen the tables in part 2 translated somewhere, but I cannot for the life of me remember where, not in Dresser.)

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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 12:04   #4
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There was also a French translation, by Léon Olphe-Galliard, published in 1887 in Gyula Madarász's Z. gesamm. Ornithol.: https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/41096470
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 16:24   #5
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Regarding the end part of the ammodendri entry, in Laurent's link, post #4]
Quote:
A été observé en hive à Djan-Dar; il est généralment sédentaire dans les lieux où croissent les Saksaoulniks.
Is it possible, in some way, to tell what kind of "Saksaoulniks" were growing there?

On top of the Saxaul Sparrow Passer ammodendri, a k a "saxaulsparv" (in Swedish), I have two other birds concerned (in my MS, of Swedish Common/Vernacular Bird names):

• "saxaulsångare" (Hippolais) Iduna rama (Eastern Sykes's/Booted Warbler)

• the debated subspecies "saxaulvarfågel" Lanius elegans pallidirostris (Steppe/Baluchistan/Pale-billed Grey/Gray Shrike)

Thereby, any additional info, on either one, is warmly welcomed!



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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 19:40   #6
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So far as I understand, саксаульник (saksaul'nik) means a thicket/stand of саксаул (saksaul = saxaul), a tree/shrub of the genus Haloxylon, family Amaranthaceae. (-ник, -nik, is a noun-forming suffix with a quite boad/variable meaning in Russian. Compare e.g. to ель, yel', a fir-tree => ельник, yel'nik, a fir-grove.) саксаульник (in the pre-reform dative plural: 'саксаульникамъ') is the word that Severtsov used.

(Wikipedia suggests the genus Haloxylon currently consists of two species, black H. ammodendron and white saxaul H. persicum. It used to include more, but the others have been transferred elsewhere. I'm afraid this adds nothing about other saxaul-fåglar, however. )

Last edited by l_raty : Wednesday 11th September 2019 at 20:31.
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Old Thursday 12th September 2019, 09:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l_raty View Post
The Russian text is at: http://books.e-heritage.ru/book/10080878
I did not find the vernacular but, on p. 116 (image 118), he wrote:

(= "This bird was caught at the Perovsk fort in winter, at Julek in winter, and in summer; seen in winter on the Jany-Darya, generally settled on saxaul.")
Thus the reference to saxaul is certainly there.
Note also, p. 124, describing the habitat of his Atraphornis aralensis (i.e., Asian Desert Warbler):
Quote:
[...] въ самыхъ сухихъ степяхъ, съ почти голой почвой и кустами саксаула (Haloxylon ammodendron) или баялыша (Atraphaxis).
(= "[...] in the driest steppes, with almost bare soil and bushes of saxaul (Haloxylon ammodendron) or 'bayalysh' (Atraphaxis).")
Thus at least he cited the species name Haloxylon ammodendron somewhere in the work, even if not in direct association with Passer ammodendri. (While, OTOH, I have failed to find the genus Ammodendron Fischer in the work up to now.)

(NB -- Here, saxaul as isolated plants, hence саксаул (genitive singular 'саксаула'), not саксаульник. Even though Olphe-Galliard used "Saksaoulniks" in his translation of that sentence as well.)

Last edited by l_raty : Thursday 12th September 2019 at 12:42.
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 06:00   #8
Calalp
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The Swedish Taxonomy Committee explains it (i.e. the Swedish vernacular name) as follows (covering all "my" three birds):
Quote:
Quote:
Saxaul Tre arter av buskar eller träd tillhörande amarantväxterna, som är den dominerande växtligheten i Centralasiens saltrika öknar.
Quote:
Saxaul Three species of bushes or trees belonging to the Amaranth family [Amaranthaceae], which is the dominating vegetation of the salty [alkaline] deserts of Central Asia.
In line with what I have in my notes and MS, as well as with what's told in English Wikipedia (here).

It'll work for me ... (for whatever it is worth).

/B
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 10:52   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calalp View Post
In line with what I have in my notes and MS, as well as with what's told in English Wikipedia (here).
Except that the English Wikipedia tells us two species, not three. They add that some species have been transferred to Hammada and one to Salsola (indeed, the Russian Wikipedia has 8 species) -- albeit I think the two vs. three discrepancy is rather due to a lump of Haloxylon aphyllum into H. ammodendron (respectively a tree and a shrub form of the same species, it would seem).
Quote:
Quote:
salty [alkaline] deserts
Hence 'Haloxylon' (= saltwood).
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 13:23   #10
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True, Laurent (though Swedish Wikipedia, here, says 3), and the explanation by the Swedish Taxonomy Committee (BirdLife Sverige) is/was from back in 2016.

I guess the ever ongoing question of moves, splits and lumps are not only a matter for ornithologists.

/B
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Old Monday 16th September 2019, 16:58   #11
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Wow, I knew I was heading into the right direction ;-) Thanks for all your digging, Laurent and Björn.

What I have learnt from searching for saxaul references is that the majority of the hits copy the same source over and over. I don't know what the original source is, it would take some digging in the wikisource pages for one. But what it shows is a lack of critical thinking. I have found I need to check nearly everything.

BTW Kew's Plants of the World Online recognizes 12 accepted Haloxylon species. Although not all species are restricted to central Asia (some are native to north Africa and the Middle East), most if not all grow on sandy soils (if not (semi-)steppe/desert climates).

I am sorry I didn't receive any email notifications for this discussion, I would have loved to participate. Must look into the help pages again.
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Old Yesterday, 07:21   #12
Calalp
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Joek, if you haven't looked into this thread for a couple of days, well, you sure "was heading into the right direction".

As of last Friday the updated HBW Alive Key tell us:
Quote:
ammodendri
Specific name (botany) Haloxylon ammodendron black saxaul < Gr. αμμος ammos sand; δενδρον dendron tree (Joek Roex in litt.) (cf. botanical genus Ammodendron Fischer, 1825, sand acacia).


/B
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Last edited by Calalp : Yesterday at 07:34.
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Old Yesterday, 08:03   #13
joekroex
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Nice. Thanks.
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Old Yesterday, 13:06   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joekroex View Post
What I have learnt from searching for saxaul references is that the majority of the hits copy the same source over and over. I don't know what the original source is, it would take some digging in the wikisource pages for one. But what it shows is a lack of critical thinking. I have found I need to check nearly everything.
We had simlar discussions e.g. on...

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Slipshod research by the authors of The Eponym Dictionary of Birds?
It is not always easy to be an author of a book/article as it is easier to critizise than to publish yourself something.
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Old Today, 07:52   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taphrospilus View Post
It is not always easy to be an author of a book/article as it is easier to critizise than to publish yourself something.
Thanks for the link to the discussion on the Eponym Dictionary. Very interesting indeed. I agree wholeheartedly with checking sources.
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