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Why do we call it "Pyrrhuloxia"? (1 Viewer)

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
So we have two candidate etymologies, then ?
Although it is true that the bird is nowhere directly compared to Pyrrhula, I don't really see anything in the original texts, either, suggesting that πυρρός ("fire red") played a direct role in the creation of this name. [πυρρός + loxia] would not account for the u in Pyrrhuloxia.
In the Conspectus, the subgenus Pyrrhuloxia is described as "Rubro colore tantum indutus !", which means something like "Only adorned with red colour !", and is obviously intended to have a counterpart in "Color (maris) ruberrimus !" ("Colour (of male) extremely red !"), which characterises subgenus Cardinalis. I.e., if anything, Pyrrhuloxia would seem to be described as not-very-red in comparison to its putative closest relative.
Thanks for the good details Laurent and for putting me straight! :) I noticed the issue with the "u" instead of a "o", and I made a wrong assumption that the error (or "disconformity"?) could have been somehow intentional from Bonaparte, but obviously this doesn't make any sense (and I should leave these complicated issues for specialists like you to deal with). What is the current consensus on the true etymology of the genus name?
 

l_raty

laurent raty
There's a lot of birds named "Sibia" in English -- they are mostly in the genus Heterophasia. There is also a genus Sibia but none of the birds in it are named "Sibia" in English.
This is an interesting one. The first uses of the generic name were as follows:
  • Anonymous. 1836. Presentations to the museum of natural history. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 5: 374; https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/37188485 ; “Sibia nigriceps” and “Sibia picaoides” in a mere species list; both species names, as well as the generic name, are nude here. The same text was also printed in the Calcutta Monthly Journal https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433081888012&view=1up&seq=295 .
  • Hodgson BH. 1836. Notices of the ornithology of Nepal. Asiat. Res., 19: 143-192.; p. 145; https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/43118038 ; where a new species (Cinclosoma? nipalensis, Sibia? nipalensis) is said to belong in either Cinclosoma or Sibia (“The species is, in fact, osculant between Cinclosoma and Sibia.”), which itself was obviously understood as being based on other species; no real description of the genus was provided, except what can be deduced by inverting statements intended to compare the new species to it: Sibia has a tongue more brushed than in Cinclosoma/Sibia nipalensis, stronger wings, less straight bill, etc.
  • Hodgson BH. 1839. Description of two new species of a new form of meruline birds. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 8: 37-38.; p. 37; https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40036068 ; included nominal species Sibia pieaoides [sic], S. nigriceps, S. nipalensis.
The species cited in 1836 was included in the genus with obvious reservations (a question mark, which clearly concerned the inclusion, not the validity of the genus). Under the current Code, "A nominal species is deemed not to be originally included [in a new genus-group taxon] if it was doubtfully or conditionally included, or was cited as a species inquirenda, or as a species incertae sedis" (ICZN 67.2.5); a species deemed not to be originally included is not made eligible to become the type of the genus. As the only species cited in 1836 was included doubtfully/conditionally, the first positive inclusion of nominal species in Sibia Hodgson was in 1839. The type of the name is Sibia picaoides Hodgson 1839 (in use with this spelling), by subsequent designation in: Gray GR. 1840. A list of the genera of birds, with an indication of the typical species of each genus. R and JE Taylor, London.; Addenda & Errata, p. ii; https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/13668946 .

But this is not what we are doing: we are using Sibia as if the species cited in 1836 was thereby made the type by monotypy. Thus, indeed, we are using it for species that are not, and never really were, sibias. By doing this, we are clearly running against the original intent of the author and quite clearly, also, against the Code...
 
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Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Because I'm not IOC, I don't have the authority to do anything other than make a suggestion to them (y)
Though 'Brown Warbler' would make more sense, as it's a true warbler (Sylviidae), not a babbler ;)
This prompted me to look up the IOC common names of the birds I still call Parisomas. Weirdly, although they're all now in Curruca, Banded and Brown are still called Parisoma, while Layard's and Chestnut-vented are now called Warbler . Why's that?
 

Björn Bergenholtz

... also known as "Calalp"
... What is the current consensus on the true etymology of the genus name?
Rafael, I don't now the "current consensus" (that is, not as in exactly today), but In the sadly defunct HBW Alive Key (prior to its closure in May this year) James Jobling explained the scientific name as:

Pyrrhuloxia
(syn. Cardinalis Ϯ Pyrrhuloxia C. sinuatus) Portmanteau of genera Pyrrhula Brisson 1760, bullfinch, and Loxia Linnaeus, 1758, crossbill. “1028. Cardinalis, Bp. 1831. a. Pyrrhuloxia. Rostrum compressum, turgidum, sinuatum! Rubro colore tantum indutus! Medius quasi inter Paradoxornitheos et Loxiinas. 1. C. sinuatus, Bp. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1837. p. 111. ex Mexico occ. Zacatecas. Rubro cinereoque varius; gula et capistro coccineis: cauda vix rotundata: rostro fusco.” (Bonaparte 1850); "Pyrrhuloxia Bonaparte, 1851?, Consp. Avium, 1 (1850), p. 500. Type, by monotypy, Cardinalis sinuatus Bonaparte." (Paynter in Peters 1970, XIII, 220). From its bill and colours the Pyrrhuloxia or Grey Cardinal was considered intermediate between the crossbills and the parrotbills. Var. Pyrrholoxia.

If either altered, amended, or changed in any way since, is all unknown to me, but I don't think so, as this generic name hasn't appeared in James's fairly frequent updates for the upcoming BoW Key (see thread thread BOW Key, in the Bird Name Etymology sub-forum).
 
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RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Rafael, I don't now the "current consensus" (that is, not as in exactly today), but In the sadly defunct HBW Alive Key (prior to its closure in May this year) James Jobling explained the scientific name as:



If either altered, amended, or changed in any way since, is all unknown to me, but I don't think so, as this generic name hasn't appeared in James's fairly frequent updates for the upcoming BoW Key (see thread thread BOW Key, in the Bird Name Etymology sub-forum).
Many thanks Björn, unfortunately I didn't check that source or others before posting my message, creating a bad mistake that fortunately Laurent immediately noticed. Unfortunate mistake, since the original question was not directly about etymology.

And it matches Nutcracker's first reply:

It's a portmanteau of Pyrrhula (Bullfinch) and Loxia (Crossbill). Why the name goes on being used? You'd need to ask the Powers that Be at the AOU! I guess they think its a fun name for a fun bird?
so apologies to him as well.
 

Björn Bergenholtz

... also known as "Calalp"
Many thanks Björn, unfortunately I didn't check that source or others before posting my message, creating a bad mistake that fortunately Laurent immediately noticed. Unfortunate mistake, ...
No worries, Rafael, you're all excused, it's pretty hard to check something that's been closed down for just about six months. We'll see when the replacement, the promised, and long-awaited BoW Key (hosted by Cornell) will pop up.

/B
 

Paul Clapham

Well-known member
But this is not what we are doing: we are using Sibia as if the species cited in 1836 was thereby made the type by monotypy. Thus, indeed, we are using it for species that are not, and never really were, sibias. By doing this, we are clearly running against the original intent of the author and quite clearly, also, against the Code...
Actually, the genus was revived by Howard and Moore Fourth Edition, Volume 2, in 2014. (Other checklists have not adopted that usage.) The notes on the genus do say "type by monotypy" and the footnotes are careful to point out that "[t]he fact that the vernacular name sibia is used for a different group of birds does not invalidate usage here."
 

l_raty

laurent raty
Actually, the genus was revived by Howard and Moore Fourth Edition, Volume 2, in 2014. (Other checklists have not adopted that usage.) The notes on the genus do say "type by monotypy" and the footnotes are careful to point out that "[t]he fact that the vernacular name sibia is used for a different group of birds does not invalidate usage here."
The use of Sibia, à la H&M4, is also adopted by HBW/BLI (which lost its primary Internet presence with the demise of HBW Alive, but did not thereby cease to exist).

Sibia was once in universal use, assuming picaoides Hodgson 1839 (a sibia) was its type. E.g.: Sharpe 1883 https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8301113. This lasted up to Baker 1922 https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.207290/page/n333/, but was then "corrected" in Baker 1930 https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.207301/page/n126, the name Sibia being transferred to the barwings.
The Peters check-list (which is the obvious source for most type fixation statements in H&M4), in 1964 https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/14486579, accepted this type fixation, but did not adopt Sibia for barwings -- not, of course, because "the vernacular name sibia is used for a different group of birds", but because they treated it as a subjective junior synonym of Actinodura Gould 1836.

The acceptation of the type fixation (= the nomenclature) is universal, and has been so for many decades. The difference between the 'checklists' that use the name as valid, and those that don't, lies in the generic limits adopted by their authors (= taxonomy, not nomenclature).
 
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