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Avian misnomers (1 Viewer)

alanc

Just an earthbound misfit
England
Well if you're now including eponyms, then you have to target all of them, and that's a lot. IMO that's kind going into a different direction, though.
No not including eponyms but that one struck me as especially silly. I wonder what the pheasant would have been called if it had been brought back to the UK by an ordinary guy. Can't see it as John Brown's or William Smith's pheasant!
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Don't get me started on eponyms. For example, I have nothing but respect for the late Sir Richard Paddyfield, but giving him not one, but two pipits? That's just a bit greedy!
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
No not including eponyms but that one struck me as especially silly. I wonder what the pheasant would have been called if it had been brought back to the UK by an ordinary guy. Can't see it as John Brown's or William Smith's pheasant!
Lord Amherst's Pheasant?

Actually, are there any other bird names that include titles, versus just just the last name (or first name sometimes) of the person?

White-bellied Erpornis is another one: in contrast to what other Erpornis?

Eastern and Western Bonelli's Warbler bothers me, or really any critter name where you have something named after a person, then it gets split and gets a describer added in the front. Make's me think that this warbler was named after the eastern branch of the Bonelli clan. Just come up with two new names!
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Eastern and Western Bonelli's Warbler bothers me, or really any critter name where you have something named after a person, then it gets split and gets a describer added in the front. Make's me think that this warbler was named after the eastern branch of the Bonelli clan. Just come up with two new names!
You're right, that seems awkward and unnecessary. Personally, I'm not particularly bothered by already-existing eponyms, unless they refer to horrible people (the above mentioned "Timur Shrike" probably being the worst example. Just what were they thinking?), but less is more in this case. And Mr Bonelli already has an eagle named in his honour...
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Reputed to be a distortion of mot-hen (moat hen, basically) - completely accurate.

Turtle Dove - onomatopoeic - tur-tur - completely accurate.

Stygian is a synonym for dark or blackish, as is the owl - completely accurate.

This thread says more about modern education than bird names.

Bohemian for Waxwing is a scandal however. Fortunately, as for Robin and Blackbird, a prefix is unnecessary.

John
I also (personally) think Bohemian fits well for a wandering irruptive bird. Probably not why it was named that, but...
 

D Halas

Well-known member
Lord Amherst's Pheasant?

Actually, are there any other bird names that include titles, versus just just the last name (or first name sometimes) of the person?

The King-of-Saxony Bird-of-Paradise is the only one I can think of, though that one includes just the title, and no name at all.

Edited to add: Some quick experimentation with the autocomplete on eBird also turns up Prince Ruspoli's Turaco and Prince Henry's Laughingthrush.
 
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jurek

Well-known member
The King-of-Saxony Bird-of-Paradise is the only one I can think of, though that one includes just the title, and no name at all.

I wonder if the bird of paradise is transferable to every person currently holding the title of king of Saxony? And whose bird of paradise it is now? ;)
 

Edward

Umimmak
Lord Amherst's Pheasant?

Actually, are there any other bird names that include titles, versus just just the last name (or first name sometimes) of the person?

White-bellied Erpornis is another one: in contrast to what other Erpornis?

Eastern and Western Bonelli's Warbler bothers me, or really any critter name where you have something named after a person, then it gets split and gets a describer added in the front. Make's me think that this warbler was named after the eastern branch of the Bonelli clan. Just come up with two new names!
There is another name for Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Balkan Warbler, which everyone (even the Brits!) was using last time I was in Israel.
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
You're right, that seems awkward and unnecessary. Personally, I'm not particularly bothered by already-existing eponyms, unless they refer to horrible people (the above mentioned "Timur Shrike" probably being the worst example. Just what were they thinking?), but less is more in this case. And Mr Bonelli already has an eagle named in his honour...
Timur is the national hero of Uzbekistan. As an otherwise charming Uzbeki guide once told me: "The Kazakhs hate the Kyrgyz. The Kyrgyz hate the Uzbeks. The Uzbeks hate everyone."

Grey shrikes are "robbing stranglers" in German, although this is still too kind an expression for Timur.
 

alanc

Just an earthbound misfit
England
now 70.

I don't Think Timur is an apt name for a shrike - unless it has a habit of amassing pyramids of skulls!

cheers alan
 

Lerxst

Well-known member
Actually, are there any other bird names that include titles, versus just just the last name (or first name sometimes) of the person?

How about four named for the same French priest (Père = "Father")?

Père David's Tit
Père David's Snowfinch
Père David's Owl
Père David's Laughingthrush
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
now 70.

I don't Think Timur is an apt name for a shrike - unless it has a habit of amassing pyramids of skulls!

cheers alan
They do impalement, anyway: not so far off the mark....

Ypu're being a bit harsh on Pere David, as well: he did save the deer.....

Cheers,

John
 

Lerxst

Well-known member
A few in the list below are other instances where a title is used, as opposed to a specific name...

Some time ago (long before the recent efforts to remove honorifics) I composed a quiz on the matter.


An excerpt:

I was able to find 28 species instances where a species is named in honor of a specific person, but the name is not of the possesive form, e.g., “Johnson’s Wren.” There are sixteen people involved:

  • Victoria Crowned-Pigeon (for Queen Victoria, who else? She also has the Victoria‘s Riflebird)
  • Gouldian Finch (for ornithologist John Gould’s wife)
  • Blackburnian Warbler (for the botanist Anna Blackburne)
  • Alexandrine Parakeet (for Alexander the Great)
  • Derbyan Parakeet (for Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby)
  • There are seven “Magellanic” birds: Penguin, Plover, Oystercatcher, Diving-Petrel, Cormorant, Woodpecker, and Tapaculo (for Ferdinand Magellan)
  • Goliath Coucal and Goliath Heron (for the noted gargantuan Philistine and sling-victim)
  • Mikado Pheasant (for the Emperor of Japan)
  • Montezuma Quail and Oropendola (for the Aztec Emperor)
  • Narcissus Flycatcher (for the mythological narcissist)
  • Narina Trogon (name of Francois Levaillant’s mistress)
  • Princess Parrot (for Princess Alexandra of Denmark)
  • Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (for the Marquis Francis Raggi of Genoa)
  • Zenaida Dove (for Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte, wife of the French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte and niece of Napoleon Bonaparte)
  • Crested Argus and Great Argus, probably named for the mythological Argus Panoptes.
  • There are four Newtonias, named in honor of Sir Edward Newton (source: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names, James A.Jobling). This is the only example I know of where the “surname” (also the genus) is named after a specific person. Newton also has three species using the possesive form.
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
There are seven “Magellanic” birds: Penguin, Plover, Oystercatcher, Diving-Petrel, Cormorant, Woodpecker, and Tapaculo (for Ferdinand Magellan)
I assume these are not named after Magellan directly, but after the Strait of Magellan.
Like e.g. Torresian Crow, which is named after the Torres Strait.

Both straits are named after the westerners who discovered them, so I hope there is a working committee already, haha!

I think both "Aztec" and "Montezuma" (more accurate would be Moctezuma) should be replaced by the more neutral "Mexican" if we are having a go at blood-thirsty imperialists.
 

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