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Avian misnomers (1 Viewer)

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
23 (I think its 23) Blackbird, because the mail is generally black not the females, but sometimes the male has white on it, there was one in my garden yesterday mostly black with some white on its wings
A black rather than red letter day for (which I presume to be the culprit) predictive text.
 

alanc

Just an earthbound misfit
England
That's 34 species not including the troublesome Gulls who seem to be completely out of order!

cheers alan
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Muscovy Duck...which as far as I know has nothing to do with Russia

Slate-colored Grosbeak. Okay, I know "grosbeak" is a name without taxonomic significance...Grosbeaks occur across several families and even within families they are not always closely related. But every other Saltator is "something" Saltator. Why is Slate-colored special? It pretty much just looks like a regular Saltator, so its not like its weird enough to deserve a special name.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Oh and a few more:

Pittasoma Antpittas are the only antpittas not in Grallaridae. So why are they still Antpittas? They should just be Black-crowned Pittasoma and Rufous-crowned Pittasoma.

Also, birds with extraneous words:

Black-capped Donacobius: In contrast to all the other Donacobius?
Rosy Thrush-tanager: In contrast to all the other Thrush-tanagers?
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Muscowy duck us from musk, the smelly substance, no? At least the Czech name would strongly suggest so and it would be too much of a coincidence.
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
Oh and a few more:

Pittasoma Antpittas are the only antpittas not in Grallaridae. So why are they still Antpittas? They should just be Black-crowned Pittasoma and Rufous-crowned Pittasoma.

Also, birds with extraneous words:

Black-capped Donacobius: In contrast to all the other Donacobius?
Rosy Thrush-tanager: In contrast to all the other Thrush-tanagers?
Gnatpitta has been used, which I find nicer than Pittasoma.
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Muscowy duck us from musk, the smelly substance, no? At least the Czech name would strongly suggest so and it would be too much of a coincidence.
No.....seems that no one really knows, following from Wiki.

"Muscovy" is an old name for the region of Russia surrounding Moscow, but these ducks are neither native there nor were introduced there before they became known in Western Europe. It is not quite clear how the term came about; it very likely originated between 1550 and 1600, but did not become widespread until somewhat later.

In one suggestion, it has been claimed that the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands traded these ducks to Europe occasionally after 1550;[10] this chartered company became eventually known as the "Muscovy Company" or "Muscovite Company" so the ducks might thus have come to be called "Muscovite ducks" or "Muscovy ducks" in keeping with the common practice of attaching the importer's name to the products they sold.[10] But while the Muscovite Company initiated vigorous trade with Russia, they hardly, if at all, traded produce from the Americas; thus, they are unlikely to have traded C. moschata to a significant extent.

Alternatively—just as in the "turkey" (which is also from North America, not Turkey) and the "guineafowl" (which are not limited to Guinea)—"Muscovy" might be simply a generic term for an exotic place, in reference to the singular appearance of these birds. This is evidenced by other names suggesting the species came from lands where it is not actually native, but from where much "outlandish" produce was imported at that time (see below).

Yet another view—not incompatible with either of those discussed above—connects the species with the Muisca, a Native American nation in today's Colombia. The duck is native to these lands also, and it is likely that it was kept by the Muisca as a domestic animal to some extent. It is conceivable that a term like "Muisca duck", hard to comprehend for the average European of those times, would be corrupted into something more familiar. Likewise, the Miskito Indians of the Miskito Coast in Nicaragua and Honduras heavily relied on it as a domestic species, and the ducks as well may have been named after this region.
 

KenM

Well-known member
Spotted Flycatcher.....not often nowadays!

Common Redstart....not anymore!

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker....aptly named!

and how about renaming Nightjar....Night-churr, presume the former is a modification of the latter?

As for Grey Wagtail...Sulphur-arsed Wagtail might be more appropriate...albeit not to be mentioned at the Vicar’s tea party. 😮
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
So the fact that it's literally called "musk duck" in Czech could just be a mis-translation from English?
I bet it is the other way round, because it is called "musk dusk" in most European languages.
Wikipedia goes on to explain the name moschata and quotes a 17th century English naturalist:
"In English, it is called The Muscovy-Duck, though this is not transferred from Muscovia [the New Latin name of Muscovy], but from the rather strong musk odour it exudes."
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Spotted Flycatcher.....not often nowadays!
Could just adapt "Grey Flycatcher" from German, though :unsure:

Common Redstart....not anymore!
As a side note, on the continent (except for Scandinavia), Black Redstart is way easier to see.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker....aptly named!
I'm thinking "Rarely Spotted Woodpecker" would be even more appropriate...


Kittiwake? What's that all about?

cheers alan
Onomatopoeia, in this case - it's named after its call.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Gray Flycatcher is already an American species, I think I even have it on my list :)

I present another challenge to this topic - Forty-spotted Pardalote - I have been trying repeatedly to find a way to uniquely define what counts as a "spot" to get 40, but invariably failed.
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
Some more misnomer:
Slavonian Grebe: good luck seeing this one in Slavonia (do you even know where it is? At least it's not as obscure as Dauria). The American name is better.
Yelkouan Shearwater: this means Shearwater Shearwater. I agree it's more romantic than "Central and Eastern Mediterranean Shearwater"
White-faced Storm Petrel: I'll let it go if you'd also describe a Giant Panda as white-faced.
 

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