Category Archives: names

Buzzard 1: Buteo

Buteo was first mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historiæ, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: William Heinemann, 1952), bk. 10, ch. 9, referencing Greek priestess of Delphi Phemonoe, via Aristotle‘s Historia Animalium, published … Continue reading

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Wren 1

During a long stretch of the twentieth century the widespread, Holarctic, (Winter) Wren was considered to be one species comprising various forms, collectively named Troglodytes troglodytes. An extensive species, it was divided into subgenera (such as Anorthura and Olbiorchilus) to … Continue reading

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Kinglets

Six species of kinglets occupy the northern hemisphere. The name kinglet is related to a story told in Pliny the Elder‘s Naturalis Historia in which a contest is held between birds where the one that could fly highest would be … Continue reading

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Waxwing

The recent irruption of Waxwings triggered my curiosity of the names of these tufted berry gobblers. The three species of waxwing are gathered under the genus Bombycilla; the name is a combination of Latin bombyx from Greek bombux = silk, … Continue reading

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Nuthatches 1

Wondering where the nuthatch winters Wings a mile long Just carried the bird away Eyes of the World by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter © Ice Nine Publishing True Nuthatches can be found in three ecozones, Indomalaya, Palearctic and Nearctic, … Continue reading

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Nightingales

The three species within the Luscinia genus in the Western Palearctic represent only one third of its total number worldwide; the remaining Luscinia species occupy the Eastern Palearctic region. Luscinia members are quite diverse and (up till now) closely related … Continue reading

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Crows 1

There are currently 46 species of Corvus crows on the IOC World Bird List. Of these only 8 species show any amount of white or off-white coloration in their plumage. This leaves us with 38 different black crows, 38 shades … Continue reading

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Gulls 3

For non-birders, the fact that there is no such a bird as a sea-gull is sometimes hard to comprehend. Looking at the scientific names, Sea Gull is in fact Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus, from Latin mare = sea). However, … Continue reading

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Gulls 2

Comparing English and scientific names can be confusing in gull species. The agreed classification for gulls at this point in time is to have four larger genera, and a set of smaller ones. The gulls that have been classified by … Continue reading

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Robin 2

German ornithologist Ernst Hartert (1858–1933) was the first to describe the subspecies of Robin present in the British Isles (Erithacus rubecula melophilus). The German description appeared in the 1901 issue of the zoological journal of the Tring Museum (now the … Continue reading

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