Falco falcons

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculusMalagasay Kestrel Falco newtoni

In the English language a distinction is made within the Falco genus between kestrels, hobbies, merlins and falcons.

Etymologically, falcon is of unknown origin, probably from Old High German falco, from Proto-Germanic falkô (reconstructed); hobby stems from Middle English hobi or hoby, which itself stems from Old French hobet, from Latin hopētus, diminutive of harpe ≈ perhaps Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus or Black Kite Milvus migrans. Kestrel – from kesrel (the ‘t’ is excrescent), from Middle French quercerelle (onomatopoeic), which itself stems from Old French cercelle or crecele, and which evolved into present-day French crécerelle. Merlin – from Old English merlone, Old Frankish smiril = falcon. Ancient texts use various names for falcons s.l., generally for raptors in general or with no allusion to species, hence pinning a name down to one species, or even a clade is difficult.

As of version 9.1 of the IOC World Bird List the Falco genus comprises 38 extant species:

Old World Sparrows (2: Synonymity)

J. Denis Summers-Smith in The Sparrows: A Study of the Genus Passer (Calton: Poyser, 1988), 307–313 provides a list of synonyms of genera, species and subspecies that have been used to describe various forms of Old World Passer sparrows. What follows is an elaborated version of this list, with attention to names and bibliography.

    Passer ahasver
  • abyssinicus = Abyssinian Sparrow – for Abyssinia, in reference to the Ethiopian Empire, corresponding to present-day Ethiopia and Erithrea – used by German ornithologist Oscar Neumann for Passer griseus abyssinicus in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 21/141 (1908), 70–71 – synonym of Passer swainsonii;
  • aegyptiaca/aegyptiacus = Egyptian Sparrow – for Egypt – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita aegyptiaca in Handbuch der Naturgeschichte aller Vögel Deutschlands (Ilmenau: Voigt, 1831), 266 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • ahasver (Summers-Smith lists ahasvar erroneously) = Wandering Sparrow – for the mythical Wandering Jew character (Ahasver, from Ahasuerus) – used by German ornithologist Otto Kleinschmidt for Passer ahasver in ‘Einiges über Spatzen’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 12/1 (1904), 7 – synonym of Passer domesticus tingitanus;
  • albiventris = White-bellied Sparrow – from Latin albus = white, and Latin venter = belly – used by Hungarian ornithologist Gyula Madarász for Passer albiventris in Annales Musei historico-naturalis hungarici, 9 (1911), 342 – synonym of Passer griseus ugandae;
  • alexandrinus = Alexandrian Sparrow – Alexandria, Egypt – used by Hungarian ornithologist Gyula Madarász for Passer alexandrinus in Annales Musei historico-naturalis hungarici, 9 (1911), 340–341 – synonym of Passer domesticus niloticus;
  • ammodendri = Saxaul Sparrow – most likely for Haloxylan ammodendron Black Saxaul and not for the genus Ammodendron Sand Acacia, still from Greek άμμος, ammos = sand, and Greek δένδρον, dendron = tree – used by English ornithologist John Gould for Passer ammodendri in Birds of Asia (London: Gould, 1872), v. pl. 15, pt 24, as Turkestan Sparrow – species and nominate subspecies: Passer ammodendri ammodendri;
  • annectans = Connecting Sparrow – from Latin annectere = to connect – used by American zoologist Walter Koelz for Passer rutilans annectans in ‘New races of Assam birds’, Journal of the Zoological Siciety of India, 4(2) (1953), 153–155 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus intensior;
  • arboreus = Tree Sparrow – here Summers-Smith makes a distinction for Passer arboreus:
  • arcuata/arcuatus = Crescent Sparrow – from Latin arcus = bow – used by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin for Fringilla arcuata in Caroli a Linné, Systema Naturae, ed. J.F. Gmelin (13th edn., Leipzig: Been, 1789), i. pt 2, 912 – synonym for Passer melanurus melanurus;
  • arrigonii (Summers-Smith lists arrigoni erroneously) = Arrigoni’s Sparrow – for Italian ornithologist Ettore Arrigoni degli Oddi – used by Austrian ornithologist Viktor von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen for Passer hispaniolensis arrigonii in ‘Über palearktische Formen, III: Der Weidensperling (Passer hispaniolensis Temm.) und seine Formen’, Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 14/1,2 (1903), 8–9 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • assimilis = Similar Sparrow – from Latin assimilis = similar, like – used by Scottish ornithologist Arthur Hay (as Arthur, Viscount Walden, as he was known as Viscount Walden, and authored as Walden) for Passer assimilis in ‘Descriptions of some new species of birds from Southern Asia’, Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 4th ser., 5/27 (1870), 218 – synonym of Passer flaveolus;
  • Auripasser = Golden Sparrow – from Latin aurum = gold, and Latin passer = sparrow – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte and German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel as an intermediate group between Serinus and Passer (i.c. Fringilla) in Monographie des loxiens (Leiden: Arnz, 1850), xi – synonym for Passer;
  • bactrianus = Bactrian Sparrow – for Bactria, from Latin Bactria (or Bactriana) – used by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev for Passer domesticus bactrianus in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 37 – subspecies: Passer domesticus bactrianus;
  • baicalicus = Baikal Sparrow – for Lake Baikal – used by Andras Keve for Passer domesticus baicalicus in 1943 (perhaps in Anzeiger der Akademie der Wissenshaften in Wien, 80 (1943)?) – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • balearoibericus = Hispanic Sparrow – for Balearic Islands, from Latin Baleares = Balearic Islands, and for Iberian Peninsula, from Latin Hiberia = Iberia – used by German ornithologist Adolf von Jordans for Passer domesticus balearoibericus in ‘Neue Vogelrassen von den Balearen’, Falco, 19/Sonderheft (1923), 4 – subspecies: Passer domesticus balearoibericus;
  • batangensis (Summers-Smith lists batanguensis erroneously, and without reference, only type locale) = Batang Sparrow – for Batang County, Sichuan Province, China – used by Tso-hsin Cheng and Guowei Tan for Passer rutilans batangensis in Cheng, Tan, Zhilan and Zhu, ‘四川西南 與雲南西北地區鳥類的分類研究 III. 雀形目’ [Classification of birds in southwest Sichuan and northwest Yunnan, III: Passerines], Acta zoologica sinica, 15/2 (1963), 307 (paper in Chinese) – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus intensior;
  • benguellensis = Benguele Sparrow – for Benguela, Angola – used by British ornithologist Hubert Lynes for Passer motitensis benguellensis in ‘On the birds of North and Central Darfur: taxo‐nomic appendix – Part III–X’, Ibis, 68/2 (1926), 380 – subspecies (Summers-Smith states erroneously synonym of Passer iagoensis benguellensis);
  • bergeri = Berger’s Sparrow – for German hunter and collector Arthur Berger – used by Otto Eduard Graf von Zedlitz und Trützschler for Passer italiae bergeri in ‘Ein neuer Sperling aus Süd-Tunesien’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 16/3 (1908), 42–44 – hybrid between Passer domesticus and Passer hispaniolensis;
  • biblicus = Biblical Sparrow – from Latin biblia = Bible – used by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert for Passer domesticus biblicus (as Passer domestica biblicus) in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1910), i. Heft 2, 149 (first publ. 1904) – subspecies: Passer domesticus biblicus;
  • boetticheri = Boetticher’s Sparrow – for German zoologist Hans von Boetticher – used by W.S. Stachanow for Passer montanus boetticheri in ‘Nouvelles races geographiques de Friquets (Passer montanus) de l’Asie Centrale’, L’Oiseau et Revue francaise d’Ornithologie, 3/4 (1933), 789–792 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • bokotoensis = Bokoto Sparrow – for Bokoto Island, Penghu Islands, Taiwan – used by Japanese ornithologist Yoshimaro Yamashina for Passer montanus bokoensis in ‘On a new form of Tree-sparrow from the Pescadores Islands’, Tori, 8/36 (1933), 1 – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • brachyrhynchos (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Short-billed Sparrow – from Greek βραχυς, brakhus = short, and Greek ῥυγχος, rhunkhos = bill – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita brachyrhynchos in ‘Einige Bemerkungen über Sperlinge und über die Zeichnung verwandter Vogelarten’, Isis von Oken, 1842/12 (1842), 890 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • brancoensis = Branco Sparrow – for Ilhéu Branco, Cape Verde – used by French zoologist Émile Oustalet for Passer brancoensis in ‘Description d’espèces nouvelles d’oiseaux provenant des iles du Cap-Vert’, Annales des sciences naturelles, 6th ser., 16 (1883), art. 5, 1 – synonym of Passer iagoensis iagoensis;
  • brutius = Bruttii’s Sparrow – for the Bruttians, an ancient Italian people – used by Carlo de Fiore for Passer hispaniolensis brutius (Summers-Smith lists Passer italiae var. brutius) in Materiali per una Avifauna Calabra (Rome, 1890), 28 – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • buryi = Bury’s Sparrow – for George Wyman Bury – used by Austrian zoologists Ludwig Lorenz von Liburnau and Carl Eduard Hellmayr for Passer domesticus buryi in ‘Ein Beitrag zur Ornis Süd-Arabiens’, Journal für Ornithologie, 49/2 (1901), 233–234 – synonym of Passer domesticus indicus;
  • cahirina (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Cairo Sparrow – for Cairo, Egypt, from Arabic القاهرة‎, al-Qāhirah – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Pyrgita cahirina in ‘Ueber die ornithologischen Arbeiten des Herzogs Paul Wilhelm von Würtemberg während seiner Reise in die oberen Nil-Länder’, Journal für Ornithologie, 15/89 (1867), 299 – synonym of Passer domesticus niloticus or Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • campestris (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Field Sparrow – from Latin campus = field – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita campestris in Handbuch der Naturgeschichte aller Vögel Deutschlands (Ilmenau: Voigt, 1831), 267 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • canariensis = Gran Canaria Sparrow – for Gran Canaria, Canary Islands – used by Austrian ornithologist Viktor von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen for Passer hispaniolensis canariensis in ‘Über palearktische Formen, XVII: Passer hispaniolensis canariensis subsp. nov.’, Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 25/1–2 (1915), 54 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • carnicus = Carnic Sparrow – for the Carnic Alps, Italy – used by Graziano Vallon for Passer domesticus canicus in ‘Escursioni ornitologiche nel Fruili, X serie 1913’, Rivista italiana di ornitologia, 3/1-2 (1914), 9–10 (Summers-Smith lists 1912) – carnicus seems to point to a hybrid of Passer domesticus and Passer italiae, synonym of Passer italiae;
  • castaneus (not listed by Summers-Smith) – Chestnut-coloured Sparrow – from Latin castanea = chestnut – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Pyrgita castaneus in Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s (Cassel: Fischer, 1871), i. 628 – undescribed synonym of either Passer domesticus niloticus or Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • castanopterus = Chestnut-winged Sparrow – from Greek καστανον, kastanon = chestnut, and Greek -πτερος, -pteros = -winged – used by English zoologist Edward Blyth for Passer castanopterus in ‘Report of a zoological collection from the Somali country’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 24/4 (1855), 302 – species and nominate subspecies: Passer castanopterus castanopterus;
  • castanotus (not listed by Summers-Smith) – Chestnut-backed Sparrow – from Greek καστανον, kastanon = chestnut, and Greek νωτον, nōton = back – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Pyrgita castanotus in Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s (Cassel: Fischer, 1871), i. 628 – undescribed synonym of either Passer domesticus niloticus or Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • catellatus = Catellus’s Sparrow – for Catellus, King of Brittons, this makes more sense than the Latin catellus = little chain – used by German ornithologist Otto Kleinschmidt for Passer catellatus in ‘Fringilla campestris (Kl)’, Falco Skizzen, 2 (1935), 1–2 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • caucasicus = Caucasus Sparrow – for the Caucasus – used by Modeste N. Bogdanov for Passer domesticus caucasicus (as Passer domesticus var. caucasicus) in ‘Птицы Кавказа’ [Birds of the Caucasus], Труды общества естествоиспытателей при Императорском Казанском ун-те [Proceedings of the Society of Naturalists at the Imperial Kazan University], 8/4 (1879), 60, though description insufficient according to German ornithologist Ernst Hartert in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1910), i. 148 (first publ. 1904) – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • chephreni (Summers-Smith lists cheprini erroneously) = Khafre Sparrow – for Pyramid of Khafre, from Greek Χεφρήν = Chephren – used by American ornithologist John Charles Phillips for Passer domesticus chephreni in ‘Two new African birds’, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 26/43 (1913), 167–168 – synonym of Passer domesticus niloticus;
  • cinnamomea/cinnamomeus = Cinnamon-coloured Sparrow – from Latin cinnamomum = cinnamon – used by English ornithologist John Gould for Pyrgita cinnamomea in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pt 3 1835/36 (1836), 184 – species and nominate subspecies: Passer cinnamomeus cinnamomeus;
  • cisalpina/cisalpinus = Cisalpine Sparrow – from Latin cisalpinus = this side of the Alps – used by Dutch ornithologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck for Fringilla cisalpina in Manuel d’ornithologie, (2nd edn, Paris: Cousin, 1820), 351 – synonym for Passer italiae;
  • ciscaucasicus = North Caucasus Sparrow – from Latin ciscaucasicus = this side of the Caucasus – used by Russian ornithologist Sergei Buturlin for Parus montanus ciscaucasicus in Систематические заметки о птицах Северного Кавказа [Systematic Notes on the Birds of the North Caucasus] (Makhachkala: Association of North Caucasus Ethnographic Societies, 1929), 40 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • colchicus = Colchian Sparrow – for Colchis, exonym for Egrisi, present-day western Georgia – used by Ukranian-Soviet ornithologist Leonid Portenko for Passer domesticus colchicus in Птицы СССР [Birds of the USSR] (Moscow: Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1960), iv. 244 – synonym of Passer domesticus biblicus;
  • confusius = Ambivalent Sparrow – from Latin confusior = more mixed or confused – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Passer confusius in ‘Notes sur les collections rapportées en 1853, par M. A. Delattre, de son voyage en Californie et dans le Nicaragua’, Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des sciences, 37/25 (1853), 914 – synonym of Passer domesticus indicus;
  • cordofanicus/kordofanicus = Kordofan Sparrow – for Kordofan, Sudan – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Passer cordofanicus in Nachträge und Berichtigungen zur Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s, appendix to Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s (Cassel: Fischer, 1871), ii. app. 141 – species: Passer cordofanicus;
  • Corospiza = True Finch – from Greek κορος, koros = pure, and Greek σπιζα, spiza = finch – used by French ornithology Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Passer simplex (as Fringilla simplex) in Conspectus generum avium (Lugduni Batavorum: Brill, 1850), 511 – synonym of Passer;
  • crassirostris (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Thick-billed Sparrow – from Latin crassus = thick, heavy and Latin rostrum = beak – the epithet is used in two different contexts:
    • used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer domesticus crassirostris in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
    • used by English ornithologist George Ernest Shelley for Passer crassirostris in The Birds of Africa (London: Porter, 1902), iii. 255–256 – synonym of Passer gongonensis;
  • damarensis = Damara Sparrow – for Damaraland – used by Anton Reichenow for Passer arcuatus damarensis in ‘Neue Vogelarten aus Damaraland’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 10/5 (1902), 77 – subspecies: Passer melanurus damarensis;
  • debilis = Frail Sparrow – from Latin debilis = weak, frail – used by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert for Passer rutilans debilis in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1904), i. 162 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus cinnamomeus;
  • diffusa/diffusus = Widespread Sparrow – from Latin diffundere = to spread – used by by Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith for Pyrgita diffusa in Report of the Expedition for Exploring Central Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town: Government Gazette Office, 1836), 50 (app. 1) – species and subspecies: Passer diffusus diffusus;
  • diniz = Denis’s Sparrow – for Denis of Portugal, from Portuguese Dinis or Diniz – used by German naturalist Kurt Floericke for Passer domesticus diniz in ‘Bemerkungen über portugiesische Vögel’, Mitteilungen über die Vogelwelt, 25 (1926), 16 – synonym for Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • domestica/domesticus = House Sparrow – from Latin domus = house – used by Carl Linnaeus (as Caroli Linnæi) for Fringilla domestica in Systema naturæ (10th edn., Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), i. 183 – species and subspecies: Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • dybowskii – Dybowski’s Sparrow – for Polish naturalist Benedykt Dybowski – used by Polish ornithologist Janusz Domaniewski for Passer montanus dybowskii in Comptes rendus des séances de al Société des sciences de Varsovie, 8/7 (1915), 562, 566 – subspecies: Passer montanus dybowskii;
  • Passer montanus dybowskii
  • emini/eminibey – Emin Bey’s Sparrow – for German-Ottoman naturalist Emin Pasha (born Isaak Eduard Schnitzer, Bey is a Turkish title) – used by German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub for Sorella Emini Bey in ‘Ueber einige neue von Dr. Emin Bey, Gouverneur Aequatorialprovinzen Aegyptens, um Lado, Central-Afrika entdeckte Vögel’, Journal für Ornithologie, 28/150 (1880), 211 (erratum 325) – synonym of/species: Passer eminibey;
  • enigmaticus = Enigmatic Sparrow – from Greek αινιγματικος, ainigmatikos = enigmatic, mysterious – used by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny for Passer enigmaticus in German ornithologist Anton Reichenow‘s ‘Einige neue Spezies und Subspezies paläarktische Vogelarten’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 11/9 (1903), 130–131 – synonym of Passer domesticus indicus;
  • eritreae (Summers-Smith lists eritrea erroneously) = Eritrea Sparrow – for Eritrea, from Greek Ερυθρη θαλασσα, Eruthrē thalassa = Red Sea – used by Otto Eduard Graf von Zedlitz und Trützschler for Passer griseus eritreae in ‘Meine ornithologische Ausbeute in Nordost-Afrika’, Journal für Ornithologie, 59/1 (1911), 33–34 – synonym of Passer swainsonii;
  • erythrophrys = Red-eyebrow Sparrow – from Greek ερυθρος, eruthros = red, and Greek οφρυς, ophrus = eyebrow – used by French ornithology Charles Lucien Bonaparte (Summers-Smith lists Temminck erroneously) for Passer erythrophrys in Conspectus generum avium (Lugduni Batavorum: Brill, 1850), 510 – synonym of Passer iagoensis;
  • espaniolensis (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Spanish Sparrow – for Spain, from Spanish Español – used by Johann Carl Werner for Fringilla espaniolensis in Atlas des oiseaux d’Europe, pour servir de complément au Manuel d’ornithologie de M. Temminck (Paris: Belin, 1827), pl. 41 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • euchlora/euchlorus = Light-green Sparrow – from Greek ευ, eu = fine, and Greek χλωρος, khlōros = light green – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Auripasser euchlora in Conspectus generum avium (Luduni Batavorum, Brill, 1850), i. 519 – species: Passer eucholrus;
  • familiaris (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Friendly Sparrow – from Latin familiaris = familiar, friendly, from familia = family – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer domesticus familiaris in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • flaveolus = Yellowish Sparrow – from Latin flaveolus = yellowish – used by English zoologist Edward Blyth for Passer flaveolus in ‘Synopsis of Indian Fringillidæ’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 13/156 (1845), 946–947 – species: Passer flaveolus;
  • flückigeri = Flükiger’s Sparrow – for Swiss naturalist Ernst Flükiger – used by German ornithologist Otto Kleinschmidt for Passer flückigeri in ‘Einiges über Spatzen’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 12/1 (1904), 7 – hybrid between Passer domesticus and Passer hispaniolensis;
  • Fringilla (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Finch – from Latin fringilla = finch – used by Carl Linnaeus for Fringilla in Systema naturæ (10th edn., Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), i. 179 – synonym of Passer;
  • fulgens = Shiny Sparrow – from Latin fulgere = to shine – used by American ornithologist Herbert Friedmann for Passer castanopterus fulgens in ‘The geographic forms of the Somali Sparrow, Passer castanopterus Blyth’, Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History, 5 (1931), 428 – subspecies: Passer castanopterus fulgens;
  • galliae = French Sparrow – for Gaul, approx. present-day France, from Latin Gallia – used by Austrian ornithologist Viktor von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen for Passer italiae galliae in ‘Über palearktische Formen, III: Der Weidensperling (Passer hispaniolensis Temm.) und seine Formen’, Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 14/1,2 (1903), 19 – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • georgicus = Rural Sparrow – from Latin georgicus = agricultural, after Greek γεωργικος, geōrgikos = farmer – used by German ornithologist Anton Reichenow for Passer griseus georgicus in Die Vögel Afrikas (Neudamm: Neumann, 1904), iii. 231 – synonym of Passer diffusus diffusus;
  • gobiensis = Gobi Sparrow – for the Gobi Desert – used by W.S. Stachanow for Passer montanus gobiensis in ‘Nouvelles races geographiques de Friquets (Passer montanus) de l’Asie Centrale’, L’Oiseau et Revue francaise d’Ornithologie, 3/4 (1933), 790 – synonym for Passer montanus dilutus;
  • gongonensis = Gongoni Sparrow – for Gongoni, Kenya – used by French zoologist Émile Oustalet for Passer gononensis in ‘Description de deux nouvelle espèces d’oiseaux de l’Afrique orientale’, Le naturaliste, 2nd ser., 4/90 (1890), 274 – species: Passer gongonensis;
  • grisea/griseus = Grey Sparrow – from Latin griseus = grey – used by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot for Fringilla grisea in Nouveau dictionnaire d’histoire naturelle (new edn., Paris: Deterville, 1817), xii. 198 – species and subspecies: Passer griseus griseus;
  • griseigularis/griseogularis = Grey-throated Sparrow – from Latin griseum = grey, and Latin gula = throat – used by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe in Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum (London: Taylor & Francis, 1888), xii. 313 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • guasso = Ewaso Sparrow – for the Ewaso Ng’iro river, Kenya, Guasso Njiro is an old writing form of Ewaso Ng’iro – used by Australian-Kenyan zoologist Victor Van Someren for Sorella emini guasso in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 43/272 (1922), 38–39 (indexed as V.G.L. Someren, ‘Description of a new subspecies of sparrow (Sorella emini guasso) from North Guasso Nyiro’) – synonym of Passer eminibey;
  • gularis = White-throated Sparrow – from Latin gula = throat – used by French ornithologist René Lesson for Pyrgita gularis in ‘Oiseaux inédits’, Revue Zoologique par la Société Cuvierienne, 2/2 (1839), 45 – synonym of Passer griseus griseus;
  • halfae = Wadi Halfa Sparrow – for Wadi Halfa, Sudan – used by Richard Meinertzhagen for Passer domesticus halfae in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 41/256 (1921), 67 (indexed as ‘Exhibition and description of a new form of the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus halfæ) from the Sudan’) – synonym of Passer domesticus niloticus;
  • hamburgia/hamburgensis = Hamburg Sparrow – for Hamburg – used by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin for Loxia hamburgia in the 1789 edition of Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae of which Gmelin was the editor: Caroli a Linné, Systema Naturae, ed. J.F. Gmelin (13th edn., Leipzig: Been, 1789), i. pt 2, 854 – synonym for Passer montanus montanus;
  • hansmanni = Hansmann’s Sparrow – for – used by German naturalist Carl Bolle for Passer hansmanni in ‘Die Vogelwelt auf den Inslen des grünen Vorgebirges’, Journal für Ornithologie, 4/19 (1856), 22–23 – synonym for Passer iagoensis;
  • hemileucus = White-bellied Sparrow – from Greek ἡμι-, hēmi- = half, and Greek λευκος, leukos = white – used by Scottish ornithologists William Robert Ogilvie-Grant and Henry Ogg Forbes for Passer hemileucus in ‘The expedition to Sokotra: I. Descriptions of the new species of birds’, Bulletin of the Liverpool Museums, 2/1 (1899), 3 – species: Passer hemileucus;
  • hepaticus = Liver-coloured Sparrow – from Latin hepar, hepatis = liver – used by Sidney Dillon Ripley for Passer montanus hepaticus in ‘New birds from the Mishmi Hills’, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 61 (1948), 106–107 – synonym of Passer montanus malaccensis;
  • hispaniae/hispanicus/hispaniensis/hispaniolensis (see note) = Hispanic Sparrow – for Spain, from Latin Hispania – Summers-Smith distingishes between two (sub)species:
    • hispaniae – used by German ornithologist Adolf von Jordans for Passer montanus italae in ‘Über einige Vogelrassen der Nord-Pyrinäen und Nordost-Spanien’, Anzeiger der Ornithologische Gesellschaft in Bayern, 2 (1933), 253 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
    • hispaniolensis – used by Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck for Fringilla hispaniolensis in Manuel d’ornithologie (2nd edn., Paris: Cousin, 1820), i. 353–354 – species and subspecies: Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • hortorum (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Garden Sparrow – from Latin hortus = garden – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer montanus hortorum in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • hostilis = Hostile Sparrow – from Latin hostis = enemy – used by Otto Kleinschmidt for Passer hostilis in Falco, 11 (1915), 19–20 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • hufufae = Hofuf Sparrow – for Al-Hofuf (or Hufuf) – used by English ornithologists Claude B. Tivehurst and Robert Ernest Cheesman for Passer domesticus hufufæ in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 45/290 (1924), 19–20 – subspecies: Passer domesticus hufufae;
  • hyrcanus – Hyrcanian Sparrow – for Hyrcania – used by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev for Passer domesticus hyrcanus in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 38 – subspecies: Passer domesticus hyrcanus;
  • iagoensis/jagoensis = Santiago Sparrow – for Santiago, Cape Verde – used by English ornithologist John Gould for Pyrgita iagoensis in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pt 5 1837/55 (1838), 77–78 (indexed as ‘Exhibition of Mr. Darwin’s birds, and description of a new species of wagtail (Motacilla leucopsis) from India’) – species: Passer iagoensis;
  • ignoratus = Overlooked Sparrow – from Latin ignorare = to be ignorant of – used by American ornithologist Herbert Girton Deignan for Passer rutilans ignoratus in ‘A miscellany of new birds from Eastern Asia’, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 61/2 (1948), 16 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus rutilans;
  • indicus = Indian Sparrow – for India – used by Scottish naturalist William Jardine and English ornithologist Prideaux John Selby for Passer indicus in Illustrations of Ornithology (Edinburgh: Lizars, 1831), iii. pl. 118, p. 29 – subspecies: Passer domesticus indicus;
  • insularis = Island Sparrow – from Latin insula = island – used by English zoologist Philip Sclater and German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub for Passer insularis in ‘On the birds collected in Socotra by Prof. I.B. Balfour’, Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1881/11, 169–170 – species: Passer insularis;
  • intensior = More-intense Sparrow – from Latin intensior, comparative of intensus – used by Lionel Walter Rothchild for Passer rutilans intensior in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 43/271 (1922), 11–12 (indexed as ‘Description of new species and subspecies of Yunnan birds’) – subspecies: Passer cinnamomeus intensior;
  • intercedens (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Intermediate Sparrow – from Latin intercedere = to come between – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita intercedens in ‘Einige Bemerkungen über Sperlinge und über die Zeichnung verwandter Vogelarten’, Isis von Oken, 1842/12, 891 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • italiae = Italian Sparrow – for Italy – described by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot for Fringilla italiæ in Nouveau dictionnaire d’histoire naturelle (new edn., Paris: Deterville, 1817), xii. 199–200 – species: Passer italiae;
  • iubilaeus/jubilaeus (Summers-Smith lists iubalaeus and jubalaeus erroneously) = Jubilant Sparrow – from Latin iubilaeus = jubilant – used by in German biologist Oskar Heinroth‘s ‘Bericht über die Märzsitzung 1907 der Deutsche Ornithologische Gesellschaft’, Journal für Ornithologie, 55/3 (1907), 470 (indexed as ‘Passer montanus iubilaeus n. sp.’) – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • jubaensis = Jubba Sparrow – for the Jubba River, from Italian Giuba – used by Constantine Walter Benson for Passer griseus jubaensis in ‘A new species and ten new races from Southern Abyssinia’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 63/444 (1942), 18 – synonym of Passer gongonensis;
  • jugiferus (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Collared Sparrow – from Latin iugum = yoke, collar – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Passer jugiferus in Conspectus generum avium (Lugduni Batavorum: Brill, 1850), 508 – synonym for Passer flaveolus;
  • kaibatoi = Moneron Sparrow – for Moneron Island, Sakhalin, Russia – used by Ludvig Munsterhjelm for Passer montanus kaibatoi in ‘Über Anthus spinoletta reuteri n. subsp. and Passer montanus kaibatoi n. subsp. aus Sachalin’, Nyt magazin for naturvidenskaberne, 54 (1916), 171–175 – synonym of Passer montanus saturatus;
  • kansuensis – Gansu Sparrow – for Gansu Province, China – used by Erwin Stresemann for Passer montanus kansuensis in ‘Neue Formen aus Nord-Kansu VIII’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 40/2 (1932), 55 – subspecies: Passer montanus kansuensis;
  • kikuchii (Summers-Smith lists kikuchi erroneously) = Kikuchi’s Sparrow – for Japanese zoologist Yonetaro Kikuchi – used by Nagamichi Kuroda for Passer rutilans kikuchii in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 45/290 (1924), 16 (indexed as ‘Description of three new races from the Kurile Islands, Hokkaido, and Formosa’) – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus rutilans;
  • kleinschmidti = Kleinschmidt’s Sparrow – for Otto Kleinschmidt – used by Hermann Grote for Passer griseus kleinschmidti in ‘Bemerkungen über einige neue afrikanische Formen. II’, Journal für Ornithologie, 70/4 (1922), 483 – synonym of Passer griseus griseus;
  • korejewi = Korejev’s Sparrow – for B.P. Korejew – used by Ukranian-Russian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and M. Härms in ‘Neue Vogelarten’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 10/4 (1902), 53 – synonym of Passer ammodendri ammodendri;
  • laeneni = Laenen’s Sparrow – for Belgian ornithologist Julien René Laenen – used by Günther Niethammer for Passer griseus laeneni in ‘Zur Vogelwelt des Ennedi-Gebirges (Französisch Äquatorial-Afrika)’, Bonner Zoologische Beiträge, 6/1–2 (1955), 75–76 – subspecies: Passer griseus laeneni;
  • lichtensteinii (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Lichtenstein’s Sparrow – for German zoologist Hinrich Lichtenstein – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Passer lichtensteinii in ‘Synopsis der Vögel Nord-Ost Afrikas, des Nilquellengebietes und der Küstenländer des Rothen Meeres’, Journal für Ornithologie, 16/92 (1868), 88 – synonym of Passer simplex simplex;
  • lisarum = Lisa’s Sparrow – for three Lisas: Anneliese Heinrich née Machatchek (wife of Heinrich), Liselotte Machatchek (mistress/partner of Heinrich), Marlis Heinrich (niece of Heinrich) – used by German ornithologists Erwin Stresemann and Gerd Heinrich for Passer rutilans lisarum in ‘Die Vögel des Mount Victoria. Ein Beitrag zur Ornithologie von Burma’, Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum in Berlin, 24/2 (1940), 172 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus intensior;
  • loangwae/luangwae = Luangwa Sparrow – for the Luangwa Valley, Zambia – used by English ornithologist Constantine Walter Benson for Passer diffusus luangwae in ‘The relationship between Passer griseus (Vieillot) and Passer diffusus (Smith), with the description of a new race of the latter’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 76/3 (1956), 40 – subspecies: Passer diffusus luangwae;
  • longirostris (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Long-billed Sparrow – from Latin longus = long, and Latin rostrum = beak – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer rufidorsalis longirostris in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • Loxia (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Crossbill – from Greek λοξος, loxos = crosswise – used by German zoologist Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller for Loxia in Des Ritters Carl von Linné vollständigen Natursystem (Nürnberg: Raspe, 1789) suppl. 148 (first publ. 1776) – synonym of Passer;
  • lutea/luteus = Yellow Sparrow – from Latin lutum = saffron – used by German zoologist Hinrich Lichtenstein for Fringilla lutea in Verzeichniss der Doubletten des Zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin (Berlin: Trautwein, 1823) 24 (it is unclear why Summers-Smith lists Bonaparte’s Auripasser lutea as it is preceded by Fringilla lutea) – species: Passer luteus;
  • macrorhynchos (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Long-billed Sparrow – from Greek μακρος, makros = long, and Greek ῥυγχος, rhunkhos = bill – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer domesticus macrorhynchos in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • macrourus (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Long-tailed Sparrow – from Greek μακρος, makros = long and Greek ουρα, oura = tail – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer montanus macrourus in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • major (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Greater Sparrow – from Latin comparative of magnus = great – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer rufidorsalis major in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • malaccensis = Malaccan Sparrow – for Malacca, Malaysia – used by Belgian naturalist Alphonse Joseph Charles Dubois for Passer montanus malaccensis in Faune des vertébrés de la Belgique. Serie des oiseaux (Bruxelles: Muquardt, 1887), i. 572–576 – subspecies: Passer montanus malaccensis;
  • maltae = Malta Sparrow – for Malta – used by Ernst Hartert for Passer hispaniolensis maltae in Aus den Wanderjahren eines Naturforschers (Berlin: Friedländer, 1902), 315 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis (or hybrid Passer italiae x Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis as Summers-Smiths lists);
  • manillensis = Manila Sparrow – for Manila, Philippines – used by Japanese ornithologist Masauji Hachisuka for Passer montanus manillensis in ‘Further contributions to the ornithology of the Philippine Islands’, Tori, 11/51–52 (1941), 88–89 – synonym of Passer montanus saturatus;
  • margaretae = Margareta’s Sparrow – for Margareta Johansen (Johansen’s mother) – used by Hans Johansen for Passer montanus margaretae in ‘De Vogelfauna Westsiberiens. II Teil. Systematik und Verbreitung, Oekologie und Biologie der Einzelarten’, Journal für Ornithologie, 92/1–2 (1944), 65 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • Passer montanus maximus
  • maximus = Greatest Sparrow – from Latin maximus, superlative of magnus = great – used by German zoologist Ernst Schäfer for Passer montanus maximus in ‘Third preliminary report on the results of the Second Dolan Expedition to West China and Tibet: four new birds from Tibet’, Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 89 (1938), 385–386 – synonym of Passer montanus tibetanus;
  • megarhynchos (not listed by Summers Smith) = Large-billed Sparrow – from Greek μεγα, mega = much, and Greek ῥυγχος, rhunkhos = bill – used by German ornithologist Christian Ludwig Brehm for Passer rufidorsalis megarhynchos in Naumannia, 6 (1856), 376 (indexed as ‘Ueber einige Sperlinge (Passer und Petronia)’) – synonym of Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • melanorhynchus (not listed by Summers-Smith) – Black-billed Sparrow – from Latin melanorhynchos = black-billed, from Greek μελας, melas = black, and Greek ῥυγχος, rhunkhos = bill – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Pyrgita melanorhynchus in Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s (Cassel: Fischer, 1871), i. 628 – undescribed synonym of either Passer domesticus niloticus or Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • melanura/melanurus – Black-tailed Sparrow – from Greek μελας, melas = black, and Greek ουρα, oura = tail – used by German zoologist Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller for Loxia melanura in Des Ritters Carl von Linné vollständigen Natursystem (Nürnberg: Raspe, 1789) suppl. 153 (first publ. 1776) – species and subspecies: Passer melanurus melanurus;
  • melitensis = Maltese Sparrow – for Malta, from Latin Melite = Malta – Summer-Smith lists melitensis as a hybrid between Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis and Passer italiae without further reference, perhaps an erroneous synonym of Passer hispaniolensis maltae?;
  • mesopotamicus = Mesopotamian Sparrow – for Mesopotamia – used by Ukranian-Russian zoologiest Nikolai Zarudny for Passer mesopotamicus in Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 15/3 (1904), 108 – synonym of Passer moabiticus moabiticus;
  • microrhynchos (not listed by Summers Smith) = Small-billed Sparrow – from Greek μικρος, mikros = small, and Greek ῥυγχος, rhunkhos = bill – the epithet is used in two different contexts:
    • by German ornithologist Christian Ludwig Brehm for Passer rufidorsalis microrhynchos in Naumannia, 6 (1856), 377 (indexed as ‘Ueber einige Sperlinge (Passer und Petronia)’) – synonym of Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
    • by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer montanus microrhynchos in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • minor = Smaller Sparrow – from Latin minor = smaller – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita minor in ‘Einige Bemerkungen über Sperlinge und über die Zeichnung verwandter Vogelarten’, Isis von Oken, 1842/12, 897 – synonym for Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • moabiticus = Moab Sparrow – from Latin moabites = people from Moab – used by English ornithologist Henry Baker Tristram for Passer moabiticus in Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1864/11 (1864), 169–170 (indexed as H.B. Tristram, ‘Descriptions of new birds from Palestine’) – species and subspecies: Passer moabiticus moabiticus;
  • montana/montanus = Mountain Sparrow – from Latin mons = mountain – used by Carl Linnaeus (as Caroli Linnæi) for Fringilla montana in Systema naturæ (10th edn., Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), i. 183 – species and subspecies: Passer montanus montanus;
  • montanoides (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Resembling Tree Sparrow – for Fringilla montana and from Greek -οιδης, -oidēs = resembling – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer montanus montanoides in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • mosambicus/mozambicus = Mozambique Sparrow – for Mozambique – used by Australian zoologist Victor Van Someren for Passer griseus mosambicus in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 41/259 (1921), 114 (indexed as ‘Descriptions of new subspecies of African birds’) – subspecies: Passer diffusus mosambicus;
  • motitensis = Motito Sparrow – for Motito, near Old Lakatoo, South Africa – used by Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith for Pyrgita Motitentis in Report of the Expedition for Exploring Central Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town: Government Gazette Office, 1836), 50 (app. 1) – species and subspecies: Passer motitensis motitensis;
  • neumanni = Neumann’s Sparrow – for German ornithologist Oscar Neumann – used by Otto Eduard Graf von Zedlitz und Trützschler for Passer griseus neumanni in ‘Kurze Notizen zur Ornis von Nordost-Afrika’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 16/11 (1908), 180 – synonym of Passer swainsonii;
  • nigricans = Dusky Sparrow – from Latin niger = black, hence nigricans = blackish, swarthy – used by Armenian ornithologist Leo S. Stepanyan for Passer ammodendri nigricans in ‘The geographical variability of the Saxaul Sparrow (Passer ammodendri Gould)’, Archives of the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, 8 (1961), 220 – subspecies: Passer ammodendri nigricans;
  • nigricollis = Black-throated Sparrow – from Latin niger = black and Latin collum = neck – used by English zoologist Edward Burton for Pyrgita nigricollis in A Catalogue of the Collection of Mammalia and Birds in the Museum of the Army Medical Department, at Fort Pitt, Chatham (Chatham: Burrill, 1838), 23 – synonym of Passer domesticus indicus;
  • nikersoni = Nickerson’s Sparrow – for British Army surgeon George Snyder Nickerson – used by Hungarian ornithologist Gyula Madarász for Passer nikersoni in Annales Musei historico-naturalis hungarici, 9 (1911), 341–342 – synonym for Passer griseus ugandae;
  • niloticus = Nile Sparrow – for Nile, from Latin Niloticus, translated from Greek Νειλωτιχοζ = of the Nile – used by English ornithologists Michael John Nicoll and John James Lewis Bonhote for Passer domesticus niloticus in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 23/153 (1909), 101–102 (indexed as ‘Exhibition and description of a new subspecies of Crested Lark (Galerida cristata mœritica) and of a sparrow (Passer domesticus niloticus) from Egypt’) – subspecies: Passer domesticus niloticus;
  • obscuratus = Dark Sparrow – from Latin obscurare = to darken, obscurus = dark – used by German ornithologist Arnold Jacobi for Passer montanus obscuratus in ‘Zoologische Ergebnisse der Walter Stötznerschen Expeditionen nach Szetschwan, Osttibet und Tschili auf Grund der Sammlungen und Beobachtungen Dr. Hugo Weigolds. 2. Teil. Aves: 4. Fringillidae und Ploceidae’, Abhandlungen und Berichte der Museen für Tierkunde und Völkerkunde zu Dresden, 16/1 (1923), 32 – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • occidentalis = Western Sparrow – from Latin occidens = west – used by English ornithologist George Ernest Shelley for Passer occidentalis in ‘A list of birds collected by the late Mr. W.A. Forbes in the Niger region’, Ibis, 5th ser., 1/4 (1883), 548–549 – synonym of Passer griseus griseus;
  • orientalis = Eastern Sparrow – from Latin oriens = east – here Summers-Smith distinguishes two uses:
  • pagorum = Country Sparrow – from Latin pagus = country, district – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita pagorum in Handbuch der Naturgeschichte aller Vögel Deutschlands (Ilmenau: Voigt, 1831), 265 – synonym for Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • palaestinae (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Palestinian Sparrow – for Palestine – used Viktor von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen for Passer hispaniolensis palaestinae in ‘Über palearktische Formen, III: Der Weidensperling (Passer hispaniolensis Temm.) und seine Formen’, Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 14/1,2 (1903) 11–12 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis transcaspicus;
  • pallidissimus = Very Pale Sparrow – from Latin superlative of pallidus = pale – used by W.S. Stachanow for Passer montanus pallidissimus in ‘Nouvelles races geographiques de Friquets (Passer montanus) de l’Asie Centrale’, L’Oiseau et Revue francaise d’Ornithologie, NS 3/4 (1933), 789 – synonym for Passer montanus dilutus;
  • pallidus = Pallid Sparrow – from Latin pallidus = pallid, pale – used by Ukranian-Russian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny for Passer montanus pallidus in ‘Les Oiseaux de la Perse orientale. Matériaux ornithologique du voyage fait en 1898’, Mémoires de la Société impériale russe de géographie. Section de géographie générale, 36/2 (1904), 262 – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • parkini = Parkin’s Sparrow – for British naturalist Thomas Parkin – used by English ornithologist Hugh Whistler for Passer domesticus parkini in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 41/253 (1920), 13–14 (indexed as C.B. Ticehurst, ‘Description of a new subspecies of sparrow (Passer domesticus parkini from Cashmere’) – subspecies: Passer domesticus parkini;
  • parvirostris = Small-billed Sparrow – from Latin parvus = small, and Latin rostrum = beak – used by Japanese ornithologist Tokutaro Momiyama for Passer rutilans parvirostris in ‘Systematic list of the birds collected in Quelpart Island’, Annotationes ornithologiae orientalis, 1/1 (1927), 121, 140 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus rutilans;
  • Passer = Sparrow – from Latin passer = sparrow – used by Mathurin Jacques Brisson for Passer in Ornithologie (Paris: Bauche, 1760), i. 36 – genus: Passer;
  • payni = Payn’s Sparrow – for Lt.-Col. William Arthur Payn (British Army) – used by Japanese ornithologist Masauji Hachisuka for Passer italiae payni in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 47/311 (1927), 76 (indexed as ‘Description of a new race of sparrow (Passer italiae payni) from Corsica’) – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • pectoralis (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Pectoral Sparrow – from Latin pectus, pectoris = breast – used by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin for Pyrgita pectoralis in ‘Ueber die ornithologischen Arbeiten des Herzogs Paul Wilhelm von Würtemberg während seiner Reise in die oberen Nil-Länder’, Journal für Ornithologie, 15/89 (1867), 299 – synonym of Passer domesticus niloticus or Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • persicus = Iranian Sparrow – for Iran, from Latin Persia = present-day Iran – used by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev for Passer domesticus persicus in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 37 – subspecies: Passer domesticus persicus;
  • predomesticus = Pre-House Sparrow – from Latin prae = before, and Latin domesticus – used by Israelian biologist Eitan Tchernov in ‘Paleolithic avifauna in Palestine’, Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel. Section B, Zoology, 11/3 (1962), 100, 102 – disputed extinct species: Passer predomesticus;
  • Pseudostruthus = False Sparrow – from Greek ψευδος, pseudos = false, and Greek στρουθος, strouthos = sparrow – used by French zoologist Émile Oustalet for Pseudostruthus gongonensis in ‘Description de deux nouvelle espèces de l’oiseaux de l’Afrique orientale’, Le Naturaliste, 2nd ser., 4/90 (1890), 274 – synonym of Passer, for Passer gongonensis;
  • Pyrgita = Sparrow – from Greek πυργιτης, purgitēs = sparrow – used by French naturalist Georges Cuvier for Pyrgita in Le règne animal (Paris: Deterville, 1817), 385 – synonym of Passer;
  • Pyrgitopsis (not mentioned by Summers-Smith) = Fake Sparrow – from Pyrgita = sparrow, and Greek οψις, opsis = appearance – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Pyrgitopsis (in order to specify Fringilla humilis) in ‘Notes sur les collections rapportées en 1853, par M.A. Delattre, de son voyage en Californie et dans le Nicaragua’, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des sciences, 37/25 (1853), 915 – synonym of Passer;
  • pyrrhonotus = Fiery-backed Sparrow – from Greek πυρος, puros = fire, and Greek νωτον, nōton = back – used by English zoologist Edward Blyth for Passer pyrrhonotus in ‘Synopsis of Indian Fringillidæ’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 13/156 (1845), 946 – species: Passer pyrrhonotus;
  • pyrrhoptera (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Red-winged Sparrow – from Greek πυρρος, purrhos = flame-coloured, red, and Greek -πτερος, -pteros = -winged – used by René Lesson for Fringilla pyrrhoptera in Charles Paulus Bélanger, Voyage aux Indes-Orientales (Paris: Bertrand, 1834), 271–272 – synonym of Passer domesticus;
  • rikuzenica = Rikuzen Sparrow – for Rikuzen Province, Japan – used by S. Kumagai for Passer montanus rikuzenica in S. Kumagai and Tokutaro Momiyama, ‘A list of the birds from Prefecture Miyagi’, Annotationes ornithologiae orientalis, 1/1 (1927), 247 – synonym of Passer montanus saturatus;
  • romae = Roman Sparrow – for Rome, from Latin Roma – used by Francesco Chigi for Passer domesticus romae in ‘Passer hispaniolensis (Temm.) Passer italiae (Vieill.) Passer domesticus (L.)’, Bollettino della Società zoologica italiana, 13, 3rd ser., 1 (1904), 145 (indexed as ‘Sul Passer hispaniolensis, Passer italiae e P. domesticus. Osservazioni comparitive’) – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • ruficinctus/rufocinctus = Rufous-banded Sparrow – from Latin rufus = rufous, and Latin cinctus = banded – used by German explorer Gustav Fischer and German ornithologist Anton Reichenow for Passer rufocinctus in ‘Neue Vogelarten aus dem Massailand (Inneres Ostafrika)’, Journal für Ornithologie, 32/165 (1884), 55 – species: Passer ruficinctus;
  • rufidorsalis = Rufous-backed Sparrow – from Latin rufus = rufous, and Latin dorsum = back – used by German ornithologist Christian Ludwig Brehm for Passer rufidorsalis in ‘Verzeigniss der europäischen Vögel nach den Species und Subspecies’, Naumannia, 5 (1855), 277 – subspecies: Passer domesticus rufidorsalis;
  • rufipectus = Rufous-breasted Sparrow – from Latin rufus = rufous, and Latin pectus = breast – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Passer rufipectus in Conspectus generum avium (Lugduni Batavorum: Brill, 1850), 509 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • ruppeli (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Rüppell’s Sparrow – for Eduard Rüppell – used by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte for Passer ruppeli in Conspectus generum avium (Lugduni Batavorum: Brill, 1850), 510 – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • russatus = Russet Sparrow – from Latin russus = russet – used by Dutch ornithologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck and German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel in Ph.Fr. de Siebold [sic], C.J. Temmink, H. Schlegel and W. de Haan, Fauna japonica (Lugduni Batavorum: Arnz, 1850), iv. 90, pl. 50 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus rutilans;
  • rustica = Rustic Sparrow – from Latin rusticus = rustic, plain, simple – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita rustica in Handbuch der Naturgeschichte aller Vögel Deutschlands (Ilmenau: Voigt, 1831), 266 – synonym for Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • rutilans = Red Sparrow – from Latin rutilus = auburn, red – used by Coenraad Jacob Temminck for Fringilla rutilans in C.J. Temminck and Guillaume Michel Jérôme Meiffren Laugier, Nouveau recueil de planches coloriées d’oiseaux (Paris: Levrault, 1838) iii. pl. 588 fig. 2, text p. 276 (first publ. 1836) – subspecies: Passer cinnamomeus rutilans;
  • saharae = Sahara Sparrow – for the Sahara – used by German ornithologist Carlo von Erlanger in ‘Beiträge zur Avifauna Tunsiens’, Journal für Ornithologie, 47/4 (1899), 472–476 – subspecies: Passer simplex saharae;
  • salicaria/salicarius = Willow Sparrow – from Latin salix = willow-tree – Summers-Smith lists two entries here:
  • salicicola = Willow-dwelling Sparrow – from Latin salix = willow tree, and Latin colere = to inhabit – used by French ornithologist Louis Pierre Vieillot for Fringilla salicicola in Faune française (Paris: Levrault, 1821), 417–418 – synonym for Passer hispaniolensis hispaniolensis;
  • Salicipasser (not mentioned by Summers-Smith) – Willow Sparrow – from Latin salix = willow, and Latin passer = sparrow – used by used by Modeste N. Bogdanov for Salicipasser montanus in ‘Птицы Кавказа’ [Birds of the Caucasus], Труды общества естествоиспытателей при Императорском Казанском ун-те [Proceedings of the Society of Naturalists at the Imperial Kazan University], 8/4 (1879), 60 – synonym for Passer montanus transcaucasicus;
  • Passer rutilans yunnanensis
  • saturatus = Richly Coloured Sparrow – from Latin saturatus = richly coloured – used by Norwegian-born American ornithologist Leonhard Stejneger for Passer saturatus in ‘Passer saturatus, a new species of tree-sparrow from the Liu-Kiu Islands, Japan’, Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 8/2 (1885), 19–20 – subspecies: Passer montanus saturatus;
  • scandens = Ascending Sparrow – from Latin scandere = to climb – used by French naturalist Johann Hermann for Loxia scandens in Tabula affinitatum animalium (Argentorati: Treuttel, 1783), 216–217 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • schaeferi = Schäfer’s Sparrow – for Ernst Schäfer – used by Erwin Stresemann for Passer rutilans schaeferi in ‘Zwei neue Rassen aus Süd-Tibet und Nord-Sikkim’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 47/6 (1939), 176–177 – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus cinnamomeus;
  • schiebeli = Schiebel’s Sparrow – for Austrian zoologist Guido Schiebel – used by Austrian ornithologist Gert Rokitansky for Passer italiae schiebeli in ‘Studien über mediterrane Vögel (Cettia, Passer)’, Falco, 30 (1934), 7 – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • semiretschiensis = Zhetysu Sparrow – for Zhetysu, part of present-day Kazakhstan, from Семиречье = Semiretchensk – used by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev for Passer domesticus semiretschiensis in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 37 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • senckenbergianus = Senckenberg Sparrow – for Senckenberg Museum of Natural History – used by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert for Passer italiae senckenbergianus in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1910), i. 152 (first publ. 1904) – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • septentrionalis = Northern Sparrow – from Latin septentrio = north – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita septentrionalis in Handbuch der Naturgeschichte aller Vögel Deutschlands (Ilmenau: Voigt, 1831), 268 – synonym for Passer montanus montanus;
  • shansiensis = Shanxi Sparrow – for Shanxi Province, China – used by Japanese ornithologists Yoshimaro Yamashina and Yukiyasu Kiyosu for Passer montanus shansiensis in ‘山西省産スズメの新亜種’ [New subspecies of sparrows from Shanxi province], 日本生物地理学会会報 [Bulletin of the Biogeographical Society of Japan], 13/5 (1943), 39 – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • shelleyi = Shelley’s Sparrow – for English ornithologist George Ernest Shelley – used by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe for Passer shelleyi in ‘On the Birds collected by Mr. F.J. Jackson, F.Z.S., during his recent expedition to Uganda through the Territory of the Imperial British East-African Company: Part I’, Ibis, 6th ser., 3/10 (1891), 256 – species: Passer shelleyi;
  • sibiricus = Siberian Sparrow – for Siberia – used by Vitalij A. Chachlov for Passer domesticus sibiricus in ‘Сибирский домовЬій воробй’ [Siberian House Sparrow]/’Passer domesticus sibiricus subsp. nov.’, Uragus, 6/1 (1928), 30 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • simplex = Plain Sparrow – from Latin simplex = simple, plain – used by Anton August Heinrich Lichtenstein for Fringilla simplex in Verzeichniss der Doubletten des Zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin (Berlin: Trautwein, 1831), 24 – species and subspecies: Passer simplex simplex;
  • sititoi = Izu Sparrow – for Izu Islands, Japan, an old name is Izu Shichitō = Seven Islands – used by Japanese ornithologist Tokutaro Momiyama for Passer montanus sititoi in 科學の農業 [Kagaku no nōgyō = Agricultural Science], 20/1 (1940), 5 – synonym of Passer montanus saturatus;
  • Sorella = Little Sister Sparrow – from Latin diminutive of soror = sister – used by German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub for Sorella eminibey in ‘Ueber einige neue von Dr. Emin Bey, Gouverneur Aequatorialprovinzen Aegyptens, um Lado, Central-Afrika entdeckte Vögel’, Journal für Ornithologie, 28/150 (1880), 210–211 (erratum 325) – synonym of Passer;
  • soror = Sister Sparrow – from Latin soror = sister – used by American ornithologist Sidney Dillon Ripley for Passer domesticus soror in ‘Comments on Ceylon birds’, Spolia zeylandica, 24/3 (1946), 241 – synonym of Passer domesticus indicus;
  • spadicea (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Light-brown Sparrow – from Latin spadiceus = light brown – used by German zoologist Hinrich Lichtenstein for Fringilla spadicea in Verzeichniss einer Sammlung von Säugethieren und Vögeln aus dem Kaffernlande (Berlin: Druckerei der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1842), 15 – synonym of Passer griseus griseus;
  • stegmanni = Shtegman’s Sparrow – for Russian ornithologist Boris Karlovich Shtegman – used by Georgi Petrovich Dementiev for Passer montanus stegmanni in Alauda, 3rd ser., 5/1 (1933), 110 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • stoliczkae (Summers-Smith lists stolickzae erroneously) = Stoliczka’s Sparrow – for Moravian zoologist Ferdinand Stoliczka – used by British ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume for Passer stoliczkæ in ‘Novelties’, Stray Feathers, 2/6 (1874), 516–518 – subspecies: Passer ammodendri stoliczkae;
  • stygiceps = Dark-headed Sparrow – for Styx or Latin Stygius, and Latin caput = head – used by Scottish ornithologist Phillip Clancey for Passer griseus stygiceps in ‘Miscellaneous taxonomic notes on African birds V: 2. A new subspecies of Grey-headed Sparrow Passer griseus (Vieillot) from Natal, South Africa’, Durban Museum Novitates, 4/9 (1954), 116–117 – subspecies: Passer diffusus stygiceps;
  • suahelicus = Swahili Sparrow – for the Swahili coast, from Arabic sawāhil = coasts – used by Anton Reichenow for Passer griseus suahelicus in Die Vögel Afrikas (Neudamm: Neumann, 1904), iii. 231 – species: ;
  • subsolanus = Eastern Sparrow – from Latin subsolanus = eastern, from sub = beneath and sol = sun – used by Scottish ornithologist Phillip Clancey for Passer iagoensis subsolanus in ‘Miscellaneous taxonomic notes on African birds XXI: New subspecies of the Greater Sparrow Passer iagoensis (Gould) and Black-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda erythronotos (Vieillot) from South Africa’, Durban Museum Novitates, 7/5 (1964), 138–139 – subspecies: Passer motitensis subsolanus;
  • swainsonii = Swainson’s Sparrow – for English ornithologist William John Swainson – used by German naturalist Eduard Rüppell for Pyrgita swainsonii in Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig (Frankfurt am Main: Schmerber, 1840), 94 – species: Passer swainsonii;
  • taivanensis = Taiwan Sparrow – for Taiwan – used by used by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert for Passer montanus taivanensis (as Passer montana taivanensis) in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1910), i. Heft 2, 161 (first publ. 1904) – synonym of Passer montanus saturatus;
  • tauricus = Crimean Sparrow – from Latin Taurica = Crimea, for Tauri – used by Ukranian-Soviet ornithologist Leonid Portenko for Passer domesticus tauricus in in Птицы СССР [Birds of the USSR] (Moscow: Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1960), iv. 244 – synonym of Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • terekius = Terek Sparrow – for the Terek River – used by Russian ornithologist Sergei Buturlin for Passer hispaniolensis terekius in Систематические заметки о птицах Северного Кавказа [Systematic Notes on the Birds of the North Caucasus] (Makhachkala: Association of North Caucasus Ethnographic Societies, 1929), 41 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis transcaspicus;
  • tertale = Tertale Sparrow – for Tertale, near Yabelo, Ethiopia – used by Constantine Walter Benson for Passer griseus tertale in ‘A new species and ten new races from Southern Abyssinia’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 63/444 (1942), 17 – synonym of Passer gongonensis;
  • thierryi = Thierry’s Sparrow – for German civil servant Gaston Thierry – used by German ornithologist Anton Reichenow for Passer diffusus thierryi in ‘Zur Tierverbreitung in Afrika’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 7/12 (1899), 190 – synonym of Passer griseus griseus;
  • tibetanus = Tibetan Sparrow – for Tibet – used by E. C. Stuart Baker for Passer montanus tibetanus in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 45/296 (1925), 92–93 (indexed as ‘Descriptions of new subspecies of finches: Procarduelis nipalensis intensicolor, Passer montanus tibetanus‘) – subspecies: Passer montanus tibetanus;
  • tilemsiensis (Summers-Smith lists tilmenensis erroneously) = Tilemsi Sparrow – for Tilemsi, Mali – used by American naturalist George Latimer Bates for Auripasser luteus tilemsiensis in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 53/364 (1933), 72 (indexed as ‘Descriptions of two new subspecies, Auripasser luteus tilemsiensis and Tchagra senegala timbuktana, and Mesopicos goertce agmen, nom. nov., from French Niger and French Sudan’) – synonym of Passer luteus luteus;
  • timidus = Timid Sparrow – from Latin timere = to be afraid – used by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe in Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum (London: Taylor & Francis, 1888), xii. 339 – synonym of Passer ammodendri stoliczkae;
  • tingitanus = Tangier Sparrow – for Tangier, from Latin Tingis = Tangier (probably through Roman Tingitana) – used by French naturalist Victor Loche for Passer domesticus tingitanus in Histoire naturelle des oiseaux (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, 1867), i. 132 – subspecies: Passer domesticus tingitanus;
  • tokunagai (Summers-Smith lists tokungai erroneously) = Tokunaga’s Sparrow – for Shigeyasu Tokunaga – used by Japanese ornithologists Nagamichi Kuroda and Yoshimaro Yamashina for Passer montanus tonkunagai in N. Taka-Tsukasa, M. Hachisuka, N. Kuroda, Y. Yamashina and S. Uchida, ‘Birds of Jedo’, in Shigeyasu Tokunaga (ed.) Report of the First Scientific Expedition to Manchoukuo, June-October 1933 (Tokyo: Daiichiji Man-Mō Gakujutsu Chōsa Kenkyūdan, 1935), sect. 5, div. 2, pt 3, 55, 87, pl. 24 – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • tokyoi (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Tokyo Sparrow – for Tokyo – used by Japanese ornithologist Tokutaro Momiyama for Passer montana tokyoi in Annotationes ornithologiae orientalis, 1/3 (1928), 404 – synonym of Passer montanus saturatus;
  • transcaspicus = Transcaspian Sparrow – from Latin trans = beyond, and for Caspian Sea – used by Austrian ornithologist Victor von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen for Passer hispaniolensis transcaspicus in Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 10/6 (1902), 96 – subspecies: Passer hispaniolensis transcaspicus;
  • transcaucasicus = Transcaucasus Sparrow – from Latin trans = beyond, for Caucasus – used by Russian ornithologist Sergei Buturlin for Passer montanus transcaucasicus in ‘On the birds collected in Transcaucasia by Mr. A.M. Kobylin’, Ibis, 8th ser., 6/23 (1906), 423 – subspecies: Passer montanus transcaucasicus;
  • turkanae = Turkana Sparrow – for Turkana County, Kenya – used by Swedish ornithologist Sven Hugo Granvik for Passer griseus turkanae in Revue de zoologie et de botanique africaines, 25 (1934), 150 – synonym of Passer swainsonii;
  • ugandae = Uganda Sparrow – for Uganda – used by Anton Reichenow for Passer griseus ugandae in Die Vögel Afrikas (Neudamm: Neumann, 1904), iii. 231 – subspecies: Passer griseus ugandae;
  • valida (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Stout Sparrow – from Latin validus = strong, stout – used by Christian Ludwig Brehm for Pyrgita valida in ‘Einige Bemerkungen über Sperlinge und über die Zeichnung verwandter Vogelarten’, Isis von Oken, 1842/12 (1842), 887 – synonym for Passer domesticus domesticus;
  • valloni = Vallon’s Sparrow – for Italian ornithologist Graziano Vallon – used by Francesco Chigi for Passer domesticus valloni in ‘Passer domesticus (Lin.)’, Bollettino della Società zoologica italiana, 15, 2nd ser., 6 (1906), 50 – synonym of Passer italiae;
  • vicinus (Summers-Smith lists vicinis erroneously) – Village Sparrow – from Latin vicus = town, village – used by Scottish ornithologist Phillip Clancey for Passer melanurus vicinus in ‘Polytypic variation in the sparrow Passer melanurus (Müller)’, 78/3 (1958), 59–60 – subspecies: Passer melanurus vicinus;
  • volgensis = Volga Sparrow – for the River Volga – used by Russian zoologist Sergey Ognev for Passer monatus volgensis in ‘НовЫй подвидЪ полевого воробЪя/Eine neue geographische Form des Feldsperlings: Passer montanus volgensis subsp. nov.’, Орнитологическій вестникЪ/Messager ornithologique, 4/1 (1913), 41–45 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • vulgaris (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Common Sparrow – from Latin vulgaris = common, ordinary – used by German zoologist Alfred Brehm for Passer montanus vulgaris in Verzeichniss der nachgelassenen Sammlung (meist) europäischer Vögel von Dr. Ch. L. Brehm, weil. Pfarrer zu Renthendorf in Thüringen, nach Arten (species) und Unterarten (subspecies) (Leipzig: Grumbach, 1866), 9 – synonym of Passer montanus montanus;
  • washingtoni (not listed by Summers-Smith) = Washington’s Sparrow – for Austrian naturalist Stefan Washington – used by Austrian ornithologist Viktor von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen for Passer hispaniolensis washingtoni in ‘Über palearktische Formen, III: Der Weidensperling (Passer hispaniolensis Temm.) und seine Formen’, Ornithologisches Jahrbuch, 14/1,2 (1903), 9–10 – synonym of Passer hispaniolensis transcaspicus;
  • yatii = Yate’s Sparrow – for English administrator in India Charles Yate – used by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe for Passer yatii in Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum (London: Taylor & Francis, 1888), xii. 322–323 – subspecies: Passer moabiticus yatii;
  • yunnanensis = Yunnan Sparrow – for Yunnan Province, China – used by Irish ornithologist John David Digues La Touche for Passer rutilans yunnanensis in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 43/277 (1923), 120 (indexed as ‘Description of a new subspecies of sparrow, Passer rutilans yunnanensis, from S.E. Yunnan’) – synonym of Passer cinnamomeus intensior;
  • zaissanensis = Zaysan Sparrow – for Lake Zaysan, Kazakhstan – ‘Новая форма полевого воробья/Eine neue Form des Feldsperlings: Passer montanus zaissanensis subsp. nov.’, Орнитологическій вестникЪ/Messager ornithologique, 2/2 (1911), 150–154 – synonym of Passer montanus dilutus;
  • zarudnyi = Zarudny’s Sparrow – for Nikolai Zarudny – used by Theodor Pleske for Passer simplex zarudnyi in ‘Описаніе новой разновидности пустыннаго воробя (Passer simplex zarudnyi, n. subsp.) изъ Закаспійской облати’ [Description of a new species of desert sparrow (Passer simplex zarudnyi, n. subsp.) from the Transcaspian region], Annuaire de Musée zoologique de l’Académie impériale des sciences de St.-Pétersbourg, 1 (1896), 31–33 (French index lists: ‘Description d’une nouvelle varieté du Passer simplex de la province Transcaspienne’) – synonym of Passer zarudnyi;
  • zedlitzi = Zedlitz’s Sparrow – for German ornithologist Otto Eduard Graf von Zedlitz und Trützschler – used by Swedish ornithologist Nils Carl Gustaf Fersen Gyldenstolpe for Passer griseus zedlitzi in ‘On the West African form of Passer griseus Vieillot’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 43/272 (1922), 32–33 – synonym of Passer griseus ugandae.

Old World Sparrows (1)

House Sparrow Passer domesticusElegant yet dumpy, conspicuous yet dull, sophisticated yet streetwise, widespread yet local, sparrows are blessed with all these properties. Since some sparrow species have been associated with human habitation, naming them has been an old habit. Thus, for instance, in the fourth century BC Aristotle mentions ‘sparrows’ (no distinction is made to any of the three Greek species, or even to Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia or White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis) in Natural History, in J.A. Smith and W.D. Ross (eds.), The Works of Aristotle, iv: Historia animalium, trans. D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910), 613a29–34, 613b1.

Passer was first mentioned by Mathurin Jacques Brisson in an identification ‘Table Méthodique des oiseaux divisés en ordres’ in his Ornithologie (Paris: Bauche, 1760), i. 36, a full description was published in a later volume, Ornithologie (Paris: Bauche, 1760), iii. 71–72, although here the genus is presented as a group called Passerinum (= sparrow-like, from Latin -inus = adjectival suffix: pertaining to), whereas the subsequent species accounts are all Passer.

The International Ornithological Congress World Bird List lists 28 Passer species and 48 subspecies. A bibliography and translation of their names follows here.

  • Saxaul SparrowPasser ammodendri = Saxaul Sparrow – most likely for Haloxylan ammodendron Black Saxaul and not for the genus Ammodendron Sand Acacia, still from Greek άμμος, ammos = sand, and Greek δένδρον, dendron = tree – discovered by Russian naturalist Nikolai Severtzov, collected by Charles Dode, who presented specimen at the 16 May 1871 meeting of the Zoological Society of London, published in Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1871/31, 480–481 (indexed as ‘Exhibition of, and remarks upon, animals from the Amoor and Turkestan’), and described by English ornithologist John Gould in Birds of Asia (London: Gould, 1872) v. pl. 15, pt 24, as Turkestan Sparrow;
    • P. a. ammodendri – the nominate form;
    • P. a. nigricans = Dusky Sparrow – from Latin niger = black, and Latin -ans = adjectival suffix, hence nigricans = blackish, swarthy – described by Armenian ornithologist Leo S. Stepanyan in ‘The geographical variability of the Saxaul Sparrow (Passer ammodendri Gould)’, Archives of the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, 8 (1961), 220;
    • P. a. stoliczkae = Stoliczka’s Sparrow – for Moravian palaeontologist Ferdinand Stoliczka, who collected the type specimen, and Latin -e = adjectival suffix – described by British ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume as part of ‘Novelties’, Stray Feathers, 2/6 (1874), 516–518, as Passer Stoliczkæ;
  • House SparrowPasser domesticus = House Sparrow – from Latin domus = house, and Latin -ticus = adjectival suffix, enlargement of -cus = characteristic of – described by Carl Linnaeus (as Caroli Linnæi) in Systema naturæ (10th edn., Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), i. 183, as Fringilla domestica with Passer domesticus in the list of synonyms;
    • P. d. domesticus – the nominate form;
    • P. d. balearoibericus = Hispanic Sparrow – for Balearic Islands, from Latin Baleares = Balearic Islands, and Latin -o = suffix, here interfix, and for Iberian Peninsula, from Latin Hiberia = Iberia, and Latin -cus = adjectival suffix (characteristic of) – described by German ornithologist Adolf von Jordans in ‘Neue Vogelrassen von den Balearen’, Falco, 19/Sonderheft (1923), 4;
    • P. d. biblicus = Biblical Sparrow – from Latin biblia = Bible, and Latin -cus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – the type specimen, a male collected on 2 April 1897 near Sueme in Palestine, was acquired by German natural history dealer Wilhelm Schlüter and described by Ernst Hartert in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1904) i. Heft 2, 149, as Passer domestica biblicus;
    • P. d. hyrcanus = Hyrcanian Sparrow – for Hyrcania, from Latin Hyrcania, and Latin -us = masculine adjectival suffix – described by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 38;
    • P. d. persicus = Iranian Sparrow – for Iran, from Latin Persia = Iran, and Latin -cus = adjectival suffix (characteristic of) – described by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 37;
    • P. d. indicus = Indian Sparrow – for India, from Latin India, and Latin -cus = adjectival suffix (characteristic of) – described by Scottish naturalist William Jardine and English ornithologist Prideaux John Selby in Illustrations of Ornithology (Edinburgh: Lizars, 1831) iii. pl. 118, p. 29;
    • P. d. bactrianus = Bactrian Sparrow – for Bactria, from Latin Bactria (or Bactriana), and Latin -us = masculine adjectival suffix – described by Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny and A.E. Kudashev in Наша охота, 20 (1916), 37;
    • P. d. parkini = Parkin’s Sparrow – for British naturalist Thomas Parkin, and Latin -i = masculine adjectival suffix – at the 250th meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club on 13 October 1920, English ornithologist Claude B. Tivehurst presented the species on behalf of English ornithologist Hugh Whistler, who had collected and described the type specimen at Srinagar, Kashmir, published in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 41/253 (1920), 13–14;
    • P. d. hufufae = Hofuf Sparrow – for Al-Hofuf (or Hufuf), and Latin -ae = adjectival suffix – presented to the 286th meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club on 8 October 1924, the type specimen was collected by Percy Cox and English ornithologist Robert Ernest Cheesman in Al-Hofuf, described by English ornithologist Claude B. Tivehurst and Cheesman in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 45/290 (1924), 19–20;
    • P. d. tingitanus = Tangier Sparrow – for Tangier, from Latin Tingis = Tangier (probably through the Roman Tingitana, and Latin -us = adjectival suffix – described by French naturalist Victor Loche in Histoire naturelle des oiseaux (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, 1867) i. 132;
    • P. d. niloticus = Nile Sparrow – for Nile, from Latin Niloticus, translated from Greek Νειλωτιχοζ = of the Nile – presented to the 152nd meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club on 16 June 1909, collected by English ornithologists Michael John Nicoll and John James Lewis Bonhote in Faiyum, description published in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 23/153 (1909), 101–102;
    • P. d. rufidorsalis = Rufous-backed Sparrow – from Latin rufus = rufous, and Latin dorsum = back, and Latin -alis = relational adjectival suffix – described briefly by German ornithologist Christian Ludwig Brehm in ‘Verzeigniss der europäischen Vögel nach den Species und Subspecies’, Naumannia, 5 (1855), 277;

    HBW distinguishes two groups: a domesticus group (House Sparrow), which includes P. d. domesticus, P. d. balearoibericus, P. d. tingitanus, P. d. niloticus, P. d. biblicus, P. d. persicus; and an indicus group (Indian Sparrow), which includes P. d. hyrcanus, P. d. indicus, P. d. rufidorsalis, P. d. hufufae, P. d. bactrianus, P. d. parkini;

  • Italian SparrowPasser italiae = Italian Sparrow – for Italy, from Latin Italia = Italy, and Latin -e = adjectival suffix – described by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in Nouveau dictionnaire d’histoire naturelle (new edn., Paris: Deterville, 1817), xii. 199–200;
  • Spanish SparrowPasser hispaniolensis = Iberian Sparrow – for Hispania, from Latin Hispania = Iberian Peninsula, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – described by Coenraad Jacob Temminck in Manuel d’ornithologie (2nd edn., Paris: Cousin, 1820), i. 353–354, as Gros-bec espanol Fringilla hispaniolensis, where gros-bec = hawfinch in the Manuel, and Latin fringilla = finch;
  • Sind SparrowPasser pyrrhonotus = Fiery backed Sparrow – from Greek πυρος, puros = fire, and Greek νωτον, nōton = back – collected by British explorer Alexander Burnes at Buhawalpur (as Burawalpore) in ‘Seinde’ (Sindh?), described by English zoologist Edward Blyth in ‘Synopsis of Indian Fringillidæ’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 13/156 (1845), 946;
  • Somali SparrowPasser castanopterus = Chestnut-winged Sparrow – from Greek καστανον, kastanon = chestnut, and Greek -πτερος, -pteros = -winged – described by English zoologist Edward Blyth in ‘Report of a zoological collection from the Somali country’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 24/4 (1855), 302;
    • P. c. castanopterus = the nominate form;
    • P. c. fulgens = Shining Sparrow – from Latin fulgere = to shine, and Latin -ens = adjectival suffix – the type specimen was part of the collection at the United States National Museum, collected by American ornithologist Edgar Alexander Mearns in Indunumara Mountains, Kenya on 15 July 1912, described by American ornithologist Herbert Friedmann in ‘The geographic forms of the Somali Sparrow, Passer castanopterus Blyth’, Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History, 5 (1931), 428;
  • Russet SparrowPasser cinnamomeus = Cinnamon-coloured Sparrow – from Latin cinnamomum = cinnamon, and Latin -eus = attributive adjectival suffix – presented by English ornithologist John Gould at the 8 December 1935 meeting of the Zoological Society of London, description published in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pt 3 1835/36 (1836), 184 (indexed as ‘Characters of several new species of incessorial birds, including a new genus (Stenorhynchus)’), as Pyrgita cinnamomea;

    Recent name change of Passer rutilans to Passer cinnamomeus after research by Czech ornithologist Jiří Mlíkovský showed that cinnamomeus (Gould) was published nearly nine months before rutilans (Temminck), in ‘Correct name for the Asian Russet Sparrow’, Chinese Birds, 2/2 (2011), 109–110;

  • Plain-backed SparrowPasser flaveolus = Yellowish Sparrow – from Latin flavus = golden, yellow, and Latin -olus diminutive suffix – ‘procured’ by Arthur Purves Phayre in Arakan (present-day Rakhine State), Myanmar, described by English zoologist Edward Blyth in ‘Synopsis of Indian Fringillidæ’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 13/156 (1845), 946–947;
  • Dead Sea SparrowPasser moabiticus = Moab Sparrow – from Latin moabites = people from Moab, and Latin -icus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – exhibited at the Scientific Meeting of the Zoological Society of London, 26 April 1864, by Philip Sclater, collected in Palestine by English ornithologist Henry Baker Tristram, who described the species in Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1864/11 (1864), 169–170 (indexed as H.B. Tristram, ‘Descriptions of new birds from Palestine’);
  • Iago SparrowPasser iagoensis = Santiago Sparrow – for Santiago, Cape Verde, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – the type specimen was collected by English naturalist Charles Darwin at Santiago (as St. Iago) and exhibited at the 25 July 1837 meeting of the Zoological Society of London by English ornithologist John Gould, who described the species in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, pt 5 1837/55 (1838), 77–78, as Pyrgita Iagoensis – HBW lists this species as Cape Verde Sparrow;
  • Great SparrowPasser motitensis = Motito Sparrow – for Motito, near Old Lakatoo, South Africa, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – described by Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith in Report of the Expedition for Exploring Central Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town: Government Gazette Office, 1836), 50 (app. 1), as Pyrgita Motitentis;
    • P. m. benguellensis = Benguela Sparrow – for Benguela (former spelling Benguella), and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – described by British ornithologist Hubert Lynes in ‘On the birds of North and Central Darfur: taxo‐nomic appendix – Part III–X’, Ibis, 68/2 (1926), 380;
    • P. m. motitensis – the nominate form;
    • P. m. subsolanus = Eastern Sparrow – from Latin subsolanus = eastern, from Latin sub = beneath, and Latin sol, solis = sun – type specimen collected in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) on 14 April 1951, placed in the collection of the National Museum of Southern Rhodesia, where it was discovered by Swedish zoologist Gustaf Rudebeck in 1956, but not named, described by Scottish ornithologist Phillip Clancey in Durban Museum Novitates, 7/5 (1964), 138–139;
  • Socotra Sparrow Passer insularisSocotra SparrowPasser insularis = Island Sparrow – from Latin insula = island, and Latin -is = adjectival suffix – collected by Scottish botanist Isaac Bayley Balfour in Socotra in February–March 1880, described by English zoologist Philip Sclater and German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub in ‘On the birds collected in Socotra by Prof. I.B. Balfour’, Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1881/11, 169–170, paper read to the meeting of the Zoological Society of London on 18 January 1881;
  • Abd al-Kuri SparrowPasser hemileucus = Half-white Sparrow – from Greek prefix ἡμι-, hēmi- = half, and Greek λευκος, leukos = white – collected by Scottish ornithologists William Robert Ogilvie-Grant and Henry Ogg Forbes on Abd al Kuri, December 1898/February 1899, during an expedition to Socotra, described in ‘The expedition to Sokotra: I. Descriptions of the new species of birds’, Bulletin of the Liverpool Museums, 2/1 (1899), 3 – split from Passer insularis after 2008 recommendation;
  • Kenya SparrowPasser rufocinctus = Rufous-banded Sparrow – from Latin rufus = rufous, and Latin cinctus = banded – discovered by German explorer Gustav Fischer near Lake Naivasha, presented by Fischer and German ornithologist Anton Reichenow at the 3 December 1883 meeting of the Allgemeinen deutschen Ornithologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin, description published in ‘Neue Vogelarten aus dem Massailand (Inneres Ostafrika)’, Journal für Ornithologie, 32/165 (1884), 55;
  • Shelley’s SparrowPasser shelleyi = Shelley’s Sparrow – for English ornithologist George Ernest Shelley, and Latin -i = adjectival suffix – collected by Frederick John Jackson, described by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe in ‘On the birds collected by Mr. F.J. Jackson, F.Z.S., during his recent expedition to Uganda through the territory of the Imperial British East-African Company: Part I’, Ibis, 6th ser. 3/10 (1891), 256 – split from Passer rufocinctus after 2004 recommendation – HBW lists this species as White Nile Sparrow;
  • Kordofan SparrowPasser cordofanicus = Kordofan Sparrow – for Kordofan, Sudan, and Latin -icus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – mentioned by German ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin in Nachträge und Berichtigungen zur Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s, appendix to Ornithologie Nordost-Afrika’s (Cassel: Fischer, 1871), ii. app. 141 – split from Passer rufocinctus after 2004 recommendation;
  • Cape SparrowPasser melanurus = Black-tailed Sparrow – from Greek μελανος, melanos = black, and Greek -ουρος, -ouros = -tailed – described by German zoologist Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller in Des Ritters Carl von Linné vollständigen Natursystem (Nürnberg: Raspe, 1789), suppl. 153 (first publ. 1776);
    • P. m. damarensis = Damara Sparrow – for Damaraland, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – collected by Anton Lübbert, briefly described by Anton Reichenow in ‘Neue Vogelarten aus Damaraland’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 10/5 (1902), 77, as Passer arcuatus damarensis;
    • P. m. melanurus – the nominate form;
    • P. m. vicinus = Village Sparrow – from Latin vicus = town, village, and Latin -inus = adjectival suffix – collected by M.O.E. Baddeley near Bethlehem, Free State province, South Africa, on 28 July 1955, described by Scottish ornithologist Phillip Clancey in ‘Polytypic variation in the sparrow Passer melanurus (Müller)’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 78/3 (1958), 59–60;
  • Northern Grey-headed SparrowPasser griseus = Grey Sparrow – from Latin griseus = grey – described by French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in Nouveau dictionnaire d’histoire naturelle (new edn., Paris: Deterville, 1817), xii. 198, as Fringilla grisea, and with distribution ‘United States’ (perhaps an allusion to the Four Communes);
    • P. g. griseus – the nominate form;
    • P. g. laeneni = Laenen’s Sparrow – for Belgian ornithologist Julien René Laenen, and Latin -i = adjectival suffix – type specimen collected by Günther Niethammer near Bol, on the eastern border of Lake Chad, on 1 April 1954, described in ‘Zur Vogelwelt des Ennedi-Gebirges (Französisch Äquatorial-Afrika)’, Bonner Zoologische Beiträge, 6/1–2 (1955), 75–76;
    • P. g. ugandae = Uganda Sparrow – for Uganda, and Latin -e = adjectival suffix – described briefly by Anton Reichenow in Die Vögel Afrikas (Neudamm: Neumann, 1904), iii. 231;
  • Swainson’s SparrowPasser swainsonii = Swainson’s Sparrow – for English ornithologist William John Swainson, and Latin -ii = adjectival suffix – described by German naturalist Eduard Rüppell in Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig (Frankfurt am Main: Schmerber, 1840), 94, as Pyrgita Swainsonii;
  • Parrot-billed SparrowPasser gongonensis = Gongoni Sparrow – for Gongoni, Kenya, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – collected at Gongoni in July 1880, described by French zoologist Émile Oustalet in ‘Description de deux nouvelle espèces d’oiseaux de l’Afrique orientale’, Le naturaliste, 2nd ser., 4/90 (1890), 274, as both Passer gononensis and Pseudostruthus gongonensis, though the former is mentioned first;
  • Swahili SparrowPasser suahelicus = Swahili Sparrow – for the Swahili Coast, and Latin -cus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – described briefly by Anton Reichenow in Die Vögel Afrikas (Neudamm: Neumann, 1904), iii. 231, as Passer griseus suahelicus;
  • Southern Grey-headed SparrowPasser diffusus = Widespread Sparrow – from Latin diffusus = diffuse, extensive – described by Scottish zoologist Andrew Smith in Report of the Expedition for Exploring Central Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town: Government Gazette Office, 1836), 50 (app. 1), as Pyrgita diffusa;
    • P. d. luangwae = Luangwa Sparrow – for the Luangwa Valley, Zambia, and Latin -e = adjectival suffix – type specimen collected by English ornithologist Constantine Walter Benson in the Luangwa Valley, Mpika District, Zambia, on 21 June 1954, described in ‘The relationship between Passer griseus (Vieillot) and Passer diffusus (Smith), with the description of a new race of the latter’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 76/3 (1956), 40;
    • P. d. mosambicus = Mozambique Sparrow – for Mozambique, and Latin -us = adjectival suffix – at the 256th meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 13 April 1921, Australian zoologist Victor Van Someren presented in absentia a description of the type specimen, collected near Lumbo, Mozambique (then Portuguese East Africa), on 13 July 1918, published in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 41/259 (1921), 114, as Passer griseus mosambicus;
    • P. d. diffusus – the nominate form;
    • P. d. stygiceps = Dark-headed Sparrow – from Latin stygius = relating to the River Styx, the underworld, i.e. dark, and Latin -ceps = -headed – described by Scottish ornithologist Phillip Clancey in ‘Miscellaneous taxonomic notes on African birds V: 2. A new subspecies of Grey-headed Sparrow Passer griseus (Vieillot) from Natal, South Africa’, Durban Museum Novitates, , 4/9 (1954), 116, as Passer griseus stygiceps;
  • Desert SparrowPasser simplex = Plain Sparrow – from Latin simplex = simple, plain – described briefly by Anton August Heinrich Lichtenstein in Verzeichniss der Doubletten des Zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin (Berlin: Trautwein, 1831), 24, as Fringilla simplex;
    • P. s. saharae = Sahara Sparrow – for the Sahara, and Latin -e = adjectival suffix – collected by German ornithologist Carlo von Erlanger in ‘Beiträge zur Avifauna Tunsiens’, Journal für Ornithologie, 47/4 (1899) 472–476;
    • P. s. simplex – the nominate form;
  • Zarudny’s SparrowPasser zarudnyi = Zarudny’s Sparrow – for Ukranian zoologist Nikolai Zarudny, and Latin -i = adjectival suffix – type specimen collected by Russian zoologist Theodor Pleske in Transcaspian Oblast on 18 April 1892, decribed in ‘Описаніе новой разновидности пустыннаго воробья (Passer simplex Zarudnyi, n. subsp.) изъ Закаспійской области’ [Description of a new variety of Desert Sparrow (Passer simplex Zarudnyi, n. subsp.) from the Transcaspian Province], Annuaire du Musée zoologique de l’Académie impériale des sciences de St.-Péterbourg, 1 (1896), 32 (French index lists: ‘Description d’une nouvelle varieté du Passer simplex de la province Transcaspienne’), as Passer simplex Zarudnyi – 2009 split from Passer simplex;
  • Tree Sparrow Passer montanusEurasian Tree SparrowPasser montanus = Mountain Sparrow – from Latin mons, montis = mountain, and Latin -anus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – described by Carl Linnaeus (as Caroli Linnæi) in Systema naturæ (10th edn., Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), i. 183, as Fringilla montana with Passer montanus in the list of synonyms;
    • P. m. montanus – the nominate form
    • P. m. dybowskii = Dybowski’s Sparrow – for Polish naturalist Benedykt Dybowski, and Latin -i = adjectival suffix – described by Polish ornithologist Janusz Domaniewski in Comptes rendus des séances de al Société des sciences de Varsovie, 8/7 (1915), 562, 566;
    • P. m. transcaucasicus = Transcaucasus Sparrow – from Latin trans- = beyond, for Caucasus, and Latin -icus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – collected by Russian zoologist Aleksandr Mihajlovič Kobylin in Transcaucasia, described by Russian ornithologist Sergei Buturlin in ‘On the birds collected in Transcaucasia by Mr. A.M. Kobylin’, Ibis, 8th ser., 6/23 (1906), 423;
    • P. m. kansuensis = Gansu Sparrow – for Gansu Province, China, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – described by Erwin Stresemann in ‘Neue Formen aus Nord-Kansu VIII’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 40/2 (1932), 55;
    • P. m. dilutus = Pale Sparrow – from Latin dilutus = weak, diluted – type specimen collected by American ornithologist William Louis Abbott near Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China (then Turkestan) on 21 March 1894, described by American ornithologist Charles Wallace Richmond in ‘Catalogue of a collection of birds made by Doctor W.L. Abbott in eastern Turkestan, the Thian-Shan Mountains, and Tagdumbash Pamir, central Asia, with notes on some of the species’, Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 18/1083 (1896), 575;
    • P. m. tibetanus = Tibetan Sparrow – for Tibet, and Latin -anus = adjectival suffix (pertaining to) – type specimen collected by English naturalist Herbert Walton near Khumbajong, Tibet, in October 1903, described by E. C. Stuart Baker at the 292th meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club on 8 April 1925, published in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 45/296 (1925), 92–93;
    • P. m. saturatus = Richly Coloured Sparrow – from Latin saturatus = richly coloured – type specimen collected by American scientist William Stimpson on the Ryakyu Islands (as Liu-Kiu Islands), Japan, in November 1854, described by Norwegian-born American ornithologist Leonhard Stejneger in ‘Passer saturatus, a new species of tree-sparrow from the Liu-Kiu Islands, Japan’, Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 8/2 (1885), 19–20, as Passer saturatus;
    • P. m. hepaticus = Liver-coloured Sparrow – from Latin hepar = liver, and Latin -aticus = relational adjectival suffix – type specimen collected by American ornithologist Sidney Dillon Ripley near Tezu in the Mishmi Hills, on the border of Indai and Tibet, on 11 January 1947, described in ‘New birds from the Mishmi Hills’, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 61 (1948), 106–107;
    • P. m. malaccensis = Malacca Sparrow – for Malacca, and Latin -ensis = geographical adjectival suffix – described by Belgian naturalist Alphonse Joseph Charles Dubois in Faune des vertébrés de la Belgique. Serie des oiseaux (Bruxelles: Muquardt, 1887), i. 572–576, as Passer montanus var. Malaccensis – although an extensive description had already been published by Dutch scientist Adolphe Vorderman in ‘Batavische vogels, II’, Natuurkundig tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië, 42 (1883), 82–83, no distictive epithet had been connected with the specimen, only as ‘an Asian variety’ of Passer montanus;
  • Sudan Golden SparrowPasser luteus = Saffron-yellow Sparrow – from Latin luteus = saffron-yellow – described briefly by Anton August Heinrich Lichtenstein in Verzeichniss der Doubletten des Zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin (Berlin: Trautwein, 1831), 24, as Fringilla lutea;
  • Arabian Golden SparrowPasser euchlorus = Light-green Sparrow – from Greek ευ, eu = fine, and Greek χλωρος, khlōros = light green – described by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte (as Carolo Luciano Bonaparte) in Conspectus generum avium (Luduni Batavorum, Brill, 1850), i. 519, as Auripasser euchlora;
  • Chestnut SparrowPasser eminibey = Emin Bey’s Sparrow – for German-Ottoman naturalist Emin Pasha (born Isaak Eduard Schnitzer, Bey is a Turkish title), and Latin -i = adjectival suffix, here interfix – discovered by Emin Pasha (Emin Bey), described by German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub in ‘Ueber einige neue von Dr. Emin Bey, Gouverneur Aequatorialprovinzen Aegyptens, um Lado, Central-Afrika entdeckte Vögel’, Journal für Ornithologie, 28/150 (1880), 211 (erratum 325), as Sorella Emini Bey.

Garrulus Jays

Black-headed Jay Garrulus lanceolatus Garrulus jays were first mentioned quite clearly (as κίττα, kitta = jay) in Aristotle‘s Natural History, in J.A. Smith and W.D. Ross (eds.), The Works of Aristotle, iv: Historia animalium, trans. D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910), 615b22–23, where it is characterized by: ‘when acorns are getting scarce, it lays up a store of them in hiding.’

The Latin pica seems to have been used to describe both jay and magpie. According to Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner (as Conradi Gesneri), in his Historiæ animalium (Francofurdi: Ex officina typographica Ioannis Wecheli, 1585), iii. (first publ. 1555), jays were closely related to magpies: ‘Sed pica glandaria alterum picae genus est’ = ‘Jay is a variety of magpie’. In a later work of bird plates, Icones avium omnium (Tiguri: C. Froschovurus, 1560), 26, 28, jay receives the Latin epithet Pica glandaria = Acorn-producing Magpie, from Latin pica = magpie, jay, Latin glans = acorn, and Latin -aria = feminine adjectival suffix, whereas magpie becomes Pica varia vel caudata = Long-tailed Pied Magpie, from Latin pica = magpie, jay, Latin varia = varied, Latin vel = with, and Latin caudata = tail.

As of 2019, the IOC World Bird List recognizes three species of Garrulus Jay, two of which are monotypic, Black-headed Jay and Lidth’s Jay, and one is the highly varied, widespread, polytypic Eurasian Jay. The Handbook of Birds of the World, however, classifies a number of subspecies as full species, thus listing Plain-crowned Jay and White-faced Jay at the species level.

Eurasian JayGarrulus glandarius = Acorn-producing Jay – from Latin glans = acorn, and Latin -arius = masculine adjectival suffix modifying the noun acorn into an active qualifier – described by Carl Linnaeus (as Caroli Linnæi) in Systema naturæ (10th edn., Holmiæ: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), i. 106, as Corvus glandarius.

Currently 34 subspecies of Eurasian Jay are recognized:

  • G. g. hibernicus = Irish Jay – for Ireland, from Latin Hibernia = Ireland, with -cus = masculine adjectival suffix – described by English ornithologist Harry Forbes Witherby and German ornithologist Ernst Hartert in ‘The Irish Jay’, British Birds, 4/8 (1911), 234–235 – range: Ireland;
  • G. g. rufitergum = Rufous-backed Jay – from latin rufus = rufous, and Latin tergum = back – described by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1903), 30 – range: Scotland, England, Wales, north-west France;
  • G. g. glandarius – nominate form – ascribed to Linneaus for his description of the protonym Corvus glandarius, above – range: north and central Europe to Ural Mountains;
  • G. g. fasciatus = Banded Jay – from Latin fascia = band, stripe, and Latin -tus = masculine adjectival suffix – described by Alfred Brehm in ‘Vorläufige Zusammenstellung der Vögel Spaniens’, Allgemeine Deutsche Naturhistorische Zeitung, NF 3 (1857), 446 – range: Iberian peninsula;
  • G. g. corsicanus = Corsican Jay – for Corsica, with Latin -nus = masculine adjectival suffix – described by German ornithologist Alfred Laubmann in ‘Zwei neue paläarktische Formen’, Verhandlungen der Ornithologischen Gesellschaft in Bayern, 11/1 (1912), 164 – range: Corsica;
  • G. g. ichnusae = Sardinian Jay – for Sardinia, from Latin Ichnusa = Sardinia – described briefly by German ornithologist Otto Kleinschmidt in ‘Neue Formen von Sardinien’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 11/6 (1903), 92, as Garrulus ichnusae – range: Sardinia;
  • G. g. albipectus = White-breasted Jay – from Latin albus = white, and Latin pectus = breast – described by German ornithologist Otto Kleinschmidt in ‘Eine überraschende neue Häherform’, Falco, 16/4 (1920), 28, as Garrulus albipectus – range: Italy, Sicily, Dalmatian coast;
  • G. g. graecus = Greek Jay – for Greece, from Latin Graecia = Greece, with -cus = masculine adjectival suffix – described by András Keve-Kleiner (as Andrew Kleiner, see note) in ‘A new Jay from the Balkans’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 59/419 (1939), 71 – range: west Balkans, incl. Greece;
  • G. g. ferdinandi = Ferdinand’s Jay – for Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Prince and Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria), with Latin -i = genitive masculine suffix – described by András Keve-Kleiner (as Andreas Keve-Kleiner, see note) in ‘Ein neuer Eichelhäher aus Südost Bulgarien: Garrulus glandarius ferdinandi ssp. n.’, Aquila, 50 (1943), 369–370 – range: east Bulgaria and north Turkey;
  • G. g. cretorum = Cretan Jay – for Crete, with Latin -orum = genitive masculine suffix – described by English ornithologist Richard Meinertzhagen in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 41/253 (1920), 19–20 – range: Crete;
  • G. g. glaszneri = Glaszner’s Jay – for Hungarian ornithologist Káròly Glaszner, with Latin -i = genitive masculine suffix – described by Gyula Madarász (as Julius von Madarász) in ‘Der cyprische Heher (Garrulus glaszneri n. sp.)’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 10/10 (1902), 163, as Garrulus glaszneri [sic] – range: Cyprus;
  • G. g. whitakeri = Whitaker’s Jay – for Sicilian-English ornithologist Joseph Whitaker, with Latin -i = genitive masculine suffix – described by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert in Die Vögel der paläarktischen Fauna (Berlin: Friedländer, 1903), 33 – range: north Morocco and north-west Algeria;
  • G. g. minor = Smaller Jay – from Latin minor = smaller – described by French ornithologist Jules Verreaux in Revue et magasin de zoologie pure et appliquée, 2nd ser. 9 (1857) 439–441, as Garrulus minor – range: central Morocco and the Atlas Mountains of north Algeria;
  • G. g. cervicalis Cervical Jay – from Latin cervix = neck, and Latin -alis = masculine adjectival suffix – described by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte (as S.A. Charles–L. prince Bonaparte) in ‘Notes sur les collections de M.A. Delattre‘, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des sciences, 37/23 (1853), 828, as Garrulus cervicalis – range: north and north-east Algeria and Tunisia;
  • G. g. samios = Samos Jay – from Latin samios = of Samos – described by Hungarian ornithologist András Keve-Kleiner (as Andreas Kleiner, see note) in ‘Ergänzung zur systematischen Revision des Eichelhähers’, Aquila, 42–45 (1939), 545, 548–549 – range: Samos (south-east Aegean Sea);
  • G. g. anatoliae = Anatolian Jay – for Anatolia, from Greek ανατολιος, anatolios = eastern (i.e. Anatolia, Asia Minor) – described briefly by English ornithologist Henry Seebohm in A History of British Birds (London: R.H. Porter, 1883), i. 570, as Garrulus anatoliæ – range: west Turkey to west Iran and north Iraq;
  • G. g. iphigenia = Iphigenia’s Jay – for Iphigenia, Greek mythological daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra – described by Russian ornithologist Petr Sushin and Ukranian naturalist Jevgenij Ptuschenko in Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 22/1 (1914), 4–5 – range: Crimean Peninsula;
  • G. g. krynicki = Krynicki’s Jay – for Russian zoologist Johann Krynicki (Ivan Andreïevitch Krinitski) – decribed by Jean de Kaleniczenko in “Series animalum, a defuncto Professore Joan. Krynicki’, Bulletin de la Société impériale des naturalistes de Moscou, 12/2 (1839), 217–218, as Garrulus krynicki – range: north-east Turkey, Caucasus;
  • G. g. atricapillus = Black-crowned Jay – from Latin ater = black, and Latin capillus = hair of the head – described by French zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in Etudes Zoologiques (Paris: Lequien, 1832), i. pl. 3, as Garrulus atricapillus – range: west Syria, west Jordan, Israel;
  • G. g. hyrcanus = Hyrcanian Jay – for Hyrcania, from Latin hyrcanus = Hyrcania – described by William Thomas Blanford in ‘Descriptions of a new Jay and a new Woodpecker from Persia’, Ibis, 3rd ser. 3/10 (1873), 225–226, as Garrulus hyrcanus – range: south-east Azerbaijan, north Iran;
  • G. g. brandtii = Brandt’s Jay – for Johann Friedrich von Brandt, and Latin -ii = genitive masculine adjectival suffix – described by Eduard Friedrich Eversmann (as Eduardo Eversmann) in Addenda ad celeberrimi pallasii zoographiam rosso-asiaticam, ed. H.E. Dresser (London: Dresser, 1876) iii. 8–9 (first publ. 1842), as Garrulus brandtii – range: south Siberia, north Mongolia, north-west and north-east China, Korea, north Japan;
  • G. g. kansuensis = Gansu Jay – for Gansu Province, and Latin -ensis = adjectival geographical suffix – described by German ornithologist Erwin Stresemann in ‘Neue Formen aus Nord-Kansu II’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 36/2 (1928), 41 – range: central China;
  • G. g. pekingensis = Beijing Jay – for Beijing, and Latin -ensis = adjectival geographical suffix – described briefly in ‘Bericht über die Januarsitzung 1905’, Journal für Ornithologie, 53/2 (1905), 225, as Garrulus bispecularis pekingensis – east China;
  • G. g. japonicus = Japanese Jay – for Japan, and Latin -icus = belonging to, pertaining to – decribed by Dutch ornithologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck and German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel in Ph.Fr. de Siebold [sic], C.J. Temmink, H. Schlegel and W. de Haan, Fauna japonica (Lugduni Batavorum: Apud Arnz, 1850), iv. 83–84, pl. 43 (plate first publ. 1847) – Siebold had commissioned the text of the Fauna japonica to scientists of the Dutch National Museum of Natural History, it would appear in instalments between 1833 and 1855, Temminck and Schlegel wrote the sections about birds, hence their authorship of this subspecies – range: Honshu, Oshima and Kyushu (central, south Japan);
  • G. g. tokugawae = Tokugawa’s Jay – for Ieyasu Tokugawa, and Latin -e = vocative masculine adjectival suffix – described by Japanese ornithologist Nobusuke Taka-Tsukasa in ‘A new form of Jay from Sado Island’, Tori, 7/32 (1931) 110 – range: Sado Island (off Honshu in central Japan);
  • G. g. orii = Orii’s Jay – for Japanese bird collector Hyojiro Orii – presented to the 271st meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 10 January 1923, by Nagamichi Kuroda, description published in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 43/275 (1923), 86–87 – range: Yakushima (south Japan);
  • G. g. sinensis = Chinese Jay – for China, from Latin Sina = China, and Latin -ensis = topographical adjectival suffix (-of a place) – decribed briefly by English biologist Robert Swinhoe in ‘A revised catalogue of the birds of China and its islands, with descriptions of new species, references to former notes, and occasional remarks’, Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1871, 381, as Garrulus sinensis – range: north Myanmar, south and east China;
  • G. g. taivanus = Taiwanese Jay – for Taiwan, from Latin Taivania = Taiwan, and Latin -us = adjectival suffix – described by English ornithologist (a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gould”>John Gould in ‘Descriptions of sixteen new species of birds from the island of Formosa, collected by Robert Swinhoe, Esq., Her Majesty’s Vice-Consul at Formosa’, Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1862/3 (1863), 282, as Garrulus taïvanus – range: Taiwan;
  • G. g. bispecularis = Two-mirrored Jay – from Latin bi- = prefix (twice-, double-), Latin speculum = mirror, speculum, and Latin -aris = adjectival suffix (belonging to, pertaining to) – exhibited at a committee meeting of the Zoological Society of London, 23 November 1830, by Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors, description published in Proceedings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London, 1 (1831), 7 (the Table of Contents lists the description as part of ‘Observations on a collection of birds from the Himalayan mountains, with characters of new genera and species’), as Garrulus bispecularis – HBW considers this a split from Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius, incl. subspecies – range: west Himalayas to west Nepal;
  • G. g. interstinctus = Variegated Jay – from Latin interstinguere = to mark off (with spots, speckles), and Latin -tus = adjectival suffix (provided with) – described by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert in ‘Garrulus bispecularis and its allies, with list of all forms of Garrulus‘, Novitates zoologicae, 25/2 (1918), 430, as Garrulus bispecularis interstinctus – range: east Himalayas;
  • G. g. persaturatus = Very Richly Coloured Jay – from Latin prefix per- = very, and Latin saturatus = richly coloured – described by German ornithologist Ernst Hartert in ‘Garrulus bispecularis and its allies, with list of all forms of Garrulus‘, Novitates zoologicae, 25/2 (1918), 430, as Garrulus bispecularis persaturatus – range: north-east India (south Assam);
  • G. g. oatesi = Oates’ Jay – for English naturalist Eugene W. Oates, and Latin -i = genitive masculine suffix – a brief description was sent to the 35th meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 20 May 1836, by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe, and published in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 5/36 (1896), 44, as Garrulus oatesi – range: north-west Myanmar;
  • G. g. haringtoni = Harington’s Jay – for British ornithologist Herbert Hastings Harington, and Latin -i = genitive masculine suffix – exhibited by English ornithologist Richard Bowdler Sharpe at the 116th meeting of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 28 June 1905, on behalf of Robert H.F. Rippon, who submitted the description to Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 15/117 (1905), 97, as Garrulus haringtoni – range: west Myanmar;
  • G. g. leucotis = White-eared Jay – from Greek λευκος, leukos = white, and Greek -ωτις, -ōtis = -eared – English ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume is the author of this subspecies though it is unclear which publication carried the first description, as Garrulus leucotis, either Stray Feathers, 2/4 (1874), 443–444, or ‘New species of birds exhibited and characterized by A.O. Hume, C.B.’, Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1874/5 (1874), 106 – in Stray Feathers Hume states that he read a brief description at a 1 May 1874 meeting of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal states that ‘Mr. Ball’ exhibited and read the description on Hume’s behalf – HBW considers this a split from Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius – range: central Myanmar to central and south Indochina.

Further, the two monotypic species:

Black-headed JayGarrulus lanceolatus = Lanceolated Jay – from Latin lancea = lance, and Latin -atus = adjectival suffix (indicating possession) – exhibited at a committee meeting of the Zoological Society of London, 23 November 1830, by Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors, description published in Proceedings of the Committee of Science and Correspondence of the Zoological Society of London, 1 (1831), 7 (the Table of Contents lists the description as part of ‘Observations on a collection of birds from the Himalayan mountains, with characters of new genera and species’) – range: east Afghanistan and north Pakistan to west Tibet, Nepal and north India.

Lidth’s JayGarrulus lidthi = for Dutch zoologist Theodoor Gerard van Lidth de Jeude, and Latin -i = genitive masculine suffix – described by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte (as Carolo Luciano Bonaparte) in Conspectus generum avium (Lugduni Batavorum: Brill, 1850) i. 376 – HBW lists this species as Amami Jay, for Amami Islands – range: Ryukyu Islands.

Corvidae (Crows 2)

Cyanurus (syn. of Cyanocorax)The name of the crow family as Corvidae was mentioned by English zoologist William Elford Leach (as Corvidæ, which was preference in those days), who used it first in 1820 in the Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum (London: Richard and Arthur Taylor, 1820), 67. Leach was not named as author in the publication itself, though authorship has been assigned to him for being the Assistant Keeper of the Natural History Department of the British Museum, London.

The etymology of Corvidae points to Corvus – from Latin corvus = raven, and the Latin suffix -idae, which is a transliteration of Greek -ίδης (-ídēs), a patronymic suffix.

The IOC World Bird List itemizes the following genera:

Buzzard 1: Buteo

ButeoButeo 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 in The Works of Aristotle, eds. J.A. Smith and W.D. Ross, trans. D.W. Thompson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910), iv, 592b, 620a. The reference is to triorchis, the bird with three testicles, the flight of which would be used to interpret omens. Pliny regards buteo as the Roman equivalent of triorchis since ‘one perched on an admiral’s ship with good omen’.

In the sixteenth century, Conrad Gessner, the so-called Swiss Pliny, wrote about buteo in his magnum opus Historiæ Animalium (2nd edn., Frankfurt am Main: Excudebat Ioannes Wechelus, 1585; repr. Frankfurt am Main: In Bibliopolio Andreæ Cambieri, 1604), iii, 45–48; as was his wont, Gessner summarizes various names for buteo used in different European regions (more about this in a future post).

As a name for the genus, Buteo was first described by French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède (in full: Bernard-Germain-Étienne de La Ville-sur-Illon, comte de Lacépède), who was curator and chair of zoology at the Jardin des plantes, home of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris. Each year he would deliver opening and closing addresses to the academy, which would be published subsequently. The 1799 publication contained a number of lists (tableaux), one of which contained Buteo, ‘Nouvelle table méthodique de la classe des oiseaux’, reprinted in M.A.G. Desmarest (ed.), Œuvres du conte de Lacépède (2nd edn., Brussels: Th. Lejeune, 1833), i, 188–194 at 189.

The boundaries of Buteo are not set in stone. For instance, the additions of Gray and Gray-lined Hawks into Buteo, formerly subspecifics of Asturina nitida, are the latest in the changing taxonomy of the genus. The specific epithets of Buteo list as follows:

  • Grey HawkButeo plagiatus = Striped Buzzard – from Latin plagiatus = striped – first mentioned as Buteo plagiatus by German zoologist Hinrich Lichtenstein in his index of the zoological collection of the Universität zu Berlin, Nomenclator avium Musei zoologici berolinensis (Berlin: Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1854), 3, and described by German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel as Asturina plagiata in ‘Asturineae’, Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Pays Bas. Revue méthodique et critique des collections déposées dans cet établissement, 2/6 (1862), 5–6 – long considered subspecific to Asturina nitidus (= Beautiful Goshawk, from Modern Latin asturina = goshawk, and Latin nitidus = brilliant, shining, beautiful), split as a result of 2011 recommendations – range: south-west USA to north-west Costa Rica – Spanish: Busardo gris norteño = Northern Grey Buzzard;
  • Grey-lined HawkButeo nitidus = Beautiful Buzzard – from Latin nitidus = brilliant, shining, beautiful – described by English naturalist John Latham in his Index ornithologicus (London: Leigh and Sotheby, 1790), i, 41, as Falco nitidus – range: Costa Rica to north-central Argentina – Spanish: Busardo gris meridional = Southern Grey Buzzard;
  • Red-shouldered HawkButeo lineatus = Barred Buzzard – from Latin lineatus = marked with lines, lined – described by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in the 1788 edition of Linnaeus’s Systema Naturae of which Gmelin was the editor: Caroli a Linné, Systema Naturae, ed. J.F. Gmelin (13th edn., Leipzig: Georg. Emanuel. Been, 1788), i, 268, as Falco lineatusJohn Latham had already described the species from a collection (read: shot) as Barred-breasted Buzzard in his A General Synopsis of Birds (London: Benjamin White, 1781), i, pt. 1, 56; similarly Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant had described the species as Red-breasted Falcon in Arctic Zoology (London: Henry Hughs, 1785), ii, 206; however, both had only described the species in English, not binomial – range: west, south-east and central North America, also north-east Mexico – Spanish: Busardo de hombro rojo = Red-shouldered Buzzard;
  • Ridgway’s HawkButeo ridgwayi = Ridgway’s Buzzard – for American ornithologist Robert Ridgway – described by American ornithologist Charles B. Cory in the Quarterly Journal of the Boston Zoölogical Society, 2 (1883), 46, as Rupornis ridgwayi (= Ridgway’s Dirty Bird, from Greek ῥυπος, rhupos = dirt, filth and Greek ορνις, ornis, ορνιθος, ornithos = bird), most likely placed in Rupornis due to the superficial resemblance to Rupornis magnirostris, Roadside Hawk – range: Hispaniola, now Dominican Republic, extinct in Haiti – Dominican Spanish: Guaraguaíto = Little Hawk;
  • Broad-winged HawkButeo platypterus = Broad-winged Buzzard – from Greek πλατυς, platus = broad, and Greek -πτερος, -pteros = -winged – the protonym described by French ornithologist Louis Pierre Vieillot in Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre‘s Tableau encyclopédique et méthodique des trois règnes de la nature. Ornithologie, ed. L.P. Vieillot (Paris: Agasse, 1823), iii, 1273–1274 as Sparvius platypterus (= Broad-winged Sparrowhawk, from Mediaeval Latin sparvius = sparrowhawk) – range: central and east North America, including Caribbean – see note;
  • White-throated HawkButeo albigula = White-throated Buzzard – from Latin albus = white, and Latin gula = throat – described by German zoologist Rodolfo Amando Philippi in Chile in ‘Observaciones críticas sobre algunos pájaros chilenos i descripcion de algunas especies nuevas’, Análes de la Universidad, 103 (1899), 664, and in the same year in Germany in ‘Kritische Bemerkungen über einige Vögel Chiles’, Archiv für Naturgeschichte, 65 (1899), 170 – range: west South America – Spanish: Aguilucho andino (Argentina) = Andean Hawk, Aguilucho chico (Chile) = Little Hawk;
  • Short-tailed HawkButeo brachyurus = Short-tailed Hawk – from Greek βραχυς, brakhus = short, and Greek -ουρος, -ouros = -tailed – described by French ornithologist Louis Pierre Vieillot in Nouveau dictionnaire d’histoire naturelle (1816) iv, 477 – range: Latin America, including Florida – Spanish (variations on): Gavilán colicorto (Middle America) = Short-tailed Hawk, Aguilucho cola corta (South America) = Short-tailed Hawk;
  • Hawaiian HawkButeo solitarius = Solitary Buzzard – from Latin solitarius = solitary – described by American naturalist Titian Peale in his United States Exploring Expedition: Mamalogy and Ornithology (Philadelphia, PA: C. Sherman, 1849), viii, 62 – even though Peale’s protonym stands, on a side note American explorer Charles Wilkes who claimed copyright on all the US Exploring Expedition works fell out with Peale and replaced his volume with one by American ornithologist John Cassin: United States Exploring Expedition: Mamalogy and Ornithology (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott, 1858), viii, 97–98, in which the species has become Pandion solitarius (= Solitary Osprey, from Greek pandion = (interpreted as and attributed to) osprey) though still ascribed to Peale – range: Hawaiian Islands – Hawaiian: ‘Io = Hawk;
  • Swainson’s HawkButeo swainsoni = Swainson’s Buzzard – for English ornithologist Willam Swainson – listed by French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte in his A Geographical and Comparative List of the Birds of Europe and North America (London: John Van Voorst, 1838), 3, after plate 372 (Common Buzzard, 1837) by American ornithologist John James Audubon, who identified the specimen as Common Buzzard (Buteo vulgaris, now obsolete) – range: North and Middle America;
  • Galapagos HawkButeo galapagoensis = Galapagos Buzzard – for the Galápagos Islands – described by English ornithologist John Gould in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 5 (1837), 9, as Polyborus galapagoensis (= Galapagos Greedy Bird, from Greek πολυβορος, poluboros = voracious, greedy), the type specimen collected by Charles Darwin – range: Galápagos Islands – Spanish: Gavilán de Galápagos = Galapagos Hawk;
  • Zone-tailed HawkButeo albonotatus = White-marked Buzzard – from Latin albus = white, and Latin notatus = marked – mentioned and described very briefly by German naturalist Johann Jakob von Kaup in ‘Monographien der Genera der Falconidea’, Isis von Oken, 1847, 329, the type specimen had been given the albonotatus label by English zoologist George Robert Gray in the British Museum – range: North America (south USA) and Latin America – Spanish (varied): Aguililla aura (Mexico) = Vulture Hawk, Aguilucho negro (Argentina) = Black Hawk, Portuguese (Brazil): Gavião preto = Black Hawk;
  • Red-tailed HawkButeo jamaicensis = Jamaican Buzzard – for Jamaica – described by German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in Caroli a Linné, Systema Naturae, ed. Jo. Frid. Gmelin (Leipzig: Georg. Emanuel Beer, 1788), i, 266, as Falco jamaicensis – range: North and Middle America (including Caribbean) – Spanish (Mexico): Águila colirrojo = Red-tailed Hawk;
  • Rufous-tailed HawkButeo ventralis = Ventral Buzzard – from Latin ventralis = of the belly, ventral – described by English ornithologist John Gould in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 5 (1837), 10 – range: south Chile and south-west Argentina – Spanish: Aguilucho de cola rojiza = Rusty-tailed Hawk;
  • Ferruginous HawkButeo regalis = Royal Buzzard – from Latin regalis = royal – listed by English zoologist George Robert Gray in his The Genera of Birds (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1844), i, 12, as Archibuteo regalis (= Royal Arch-buzzard, from Greek αρχων arkhōn = chief) – range: south-central Canada to west-central USA;
  • Rough-legged BuzzardButeo lagopus = Hare-footed Buzzard – from Greek λαγως, lagōs = hare, and Greek πους, pous or ποδος, podos = foot – described by Danish zoologist Morten Thrane Brünnich in his Den danske atlas eller konge-riget Dannemark, med dets naturlige egenskaber, elementer, indbyggere, vaexter, dyr og andre affodninger, 616, as Falco lagopus – range: Eurasia and North America;
  • Upland BuzzardButeo hemilasius = Semi-hairy Buzzard – from Greek ἡμι-, hēmi- = half-, and Greek λασιος, lasios = hairy, shaggy – described by Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck and German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel in Ph.F. de Siebold, C.J. Temminck, H. Schlegel and W. de Haan, Fauna Japonica (Lugduni Batavorum: Apud Arnz, 1845), iv, 18–20 – range: central and south-central Asia to south-east Siberia and north-east China – Russian: Мохноногий курганник = Rough-legged Buzzard, Chinese: 大鵟 = Great Buzzard;
  • Eastern BuzzardButeo japonicus = Japanese Buzzard – for Japan – described by Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck and German ornithologist Hermann Schlegel in Ph.F. de Siebold, C.J. Temminck, H. Schlegel and W. de Haan, Fauna Japonica (Leiden: Apud Arnz, 1850), iv, 16–18, as Faclo buteo japonicus [sic] – split from Buteo buteo (2008 recommendations) – range: central and south Siberia, Mongolia, north-east China, Japan – Russian: Восточный канюк = Eastern Buzzard, Chinese: 普通鵟 = Common Buzzard, Japanese: ノスリ = Common Buzzard;
  • Himalayan BuzzardButeo burmanicus = Burmese Buzzard – for Myanmar (Burma) – mentioned by English ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume in his ‘A first List of the Birds of Upper Pegu’, Stray Feathers, 3 (1875), 30 – split from Buteo buteo (2008 recommendations), after which a debate ensued regarding various type specimen and senior synonyms, whether B. burmanicus is the right name for the right specimen, or whether this should be B. refectus (= Restored Buzzard, from Latin refectus = restored) or B. plumipes (= Feather-footed Buzzard, from Latin pluma = plume, small feather and Latin pes, pedis = foot), B. burmanicus is now the agreed specific – range: Himalayas;
  • Long-legged BuzzardButeo rufinus = Golden Buzzard – from medieval Latin rufinus = golden, golden-red – described by German physician Philipp Jakob Cretzschmar in Eduard Rüppell, Atlas zu der Reise im nördlichen Afrika: Vögel, ed. Ph.J. Cretzschmar (Frankfurt am Main: Heinr. Ludw. Brönner, 1826), 40–41, as Falco rufinus – range: Eurasia and north Africa;
  • Cape Verde BuzzardButeo bannermani = Bannerman’s Buzzard – for Scottisch ornithologist David Armitage Bannerman – described by Harry Kirke Swann in his A Synoptical List of the Accipitres (Diurnal Birds of Prey) (London: John Wheldon, 1919), ii, 44, as Buteo buteo bannermani – split from Buteo buteo (2000 recommendations) – range: Cape Verde Islands – Portuguese (Cape Verde): Asa-curta = Short-wing.
  • Socotra BuzzardButeo socotraensis = Socotra Buzzard – for the Socotra Archipelago – described by R.F. Porter and Guy M. Kirwan in their ‘Studies of Socotran birds VI: The taxonomic status of the Socotran Buzzard’, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 130 (2010), 116–131 – subsequently split from Buteo buteo (2010 recommendations) – range: Socotra Archipelago;
  • Common BuzzardButeo buteo = Buzzard – from Latin buteo = buzzard – decribed by Carl Linneaus in his Systema naturæ (10th edn., Stockholm: Laurentii Salvii, 1758), 90, as Falco buteo – range: Eurasia;
  • Forest BuzzardButeo trizonatus = Triple-banded Buzzard – from Latin tri- = three-, and Modern Latin zonatus = banded – described by Swedish zoologist Gustaf Rudebeck in Bertil Hanström, Per Brinck and Gustaf Rudebeck (eds) South African Animal Life: Results of the Lund University Expedition in 1950–1951 (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1957) iv, 416, as Buteo buteo trizonatus – split from Buteo oreophilus (2007 recommendations) – range: south and east South Africa – Afrikaans: Bosjakkalsvoël = Forest Jackal Bird;
  • Mountain BuzzardButeo oreophilus = Mountain-loving Buzzard – from Greek ορεος, oreos = mountain, and Greek φιλος, philos = loving – described by German ornithologists Ernst Hartert and Oscar Neumann in their ‘Ein bisher verkannter Bussard Buteo oreophilus sp. nov.’, Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 22 (1914), 31–33 – range: Ethiopia to north Malawi – Kiswahili: Shakivale-mlima = Mountain Buzzard;
  • Archer’s BuzzardButeo archeri = Archer’s Buzzard – for English ornithologist Geoffrey Archer – described by English zoologist Philip Sclater in his ‘Exhibition and descrion of a new subspecies of Buzzard, Buteo jackal archeri, from Somaliland’, Bulletin of the Bristish Ornithologists’ Club, 39 (1918), 17–18, as Buteo jakal archeri (= Archer’s Jackal Buzzard, from French chacal = jackal) – split from Buteo augur (2003 recommendation) – range: north Somalia;
  • Red-necked BuzzardButeo auguralis = Augur-like Buzzard – from Buteo auger, and Latin -alis = pertaining to – described by Italian ornithologist Tommaso Salvadori in his ‘Descrizione di altre nuove specie di uccelli esistenti nel Museo de Torino: nota seconda’, Atti della Società italiana di scienze naturali, 8 (1865), 376–377 – range: Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, Uganda and Angola;
  • Madagascan BuzzardButeo brachypterus = Short-winged Buzzard – from Greek βραχυς, brakhus = short, and Greek -πτερος, -pteros = -winged – described by German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub in his ‘Systematische Uebersicht der Vögel Madagascars’, Journal für Ornithologie, 43 (1860), 11–12 – range: Madagascar – Malagasy: Bobaky = Buzzard;
  • Augur BuzzardButeo augur = Augur Buzzard – from Latin augur = augur, soothsayer – described by German naturalist Eduard Rüppell in his Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig: Vögel (Frankfurt am Main: Siegmund Schmerber, 1836), 38–39, as Falco (Buteo) augur – range: Ethiopia and Somalia to Zimbabwe and central Angola to central Namibia – Kiswahili: Shakivale Mkia-mwekundu = Red-tailed Buzzard, Afrikaans: Witborsjakkalsvoël = White-breasted Jackal Bird;
  • Jackal BuzzardButeo rufofuscus = Rufous-brown Buzzard – from Latin rufus = rufous, and Latin fuscus = brown, dusky – described by Polish naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster in his F. le Vaillant’s Naturgeschichte der afrikanischen Vögel (Halle: Fried. Christoph Dreyssig, 1798), 59–62, as Falco rufofuscus – range: Namibia and South Africa.

Wren 1

WrenDuring 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 deal with the diversity, demoted to subspecies rank since. (Anorthura = cocked tail bird – anorthos (ανορθos) = erect, oura (ούρά) = tail; Olbiorchilus = happy wren – Greek olbios = happy, orkhilus = wren.) The latest taxonomic shift seems to be towards three species, for which an old genus has been revived, Nannus (from Greek nannos = dwarf). The species are Nannus troglodytes, Nannus pacificus and Nannus hiemalis. Here I will have a look at their subspecific names, most of which relate to regions and persons although some diverge from this.

Eurasian Wren, Nannus troglodytes = cave-dwelling dwarf – nannus = dwarf, from Greek nannos, troglodytes = cave dweller, from Greek trōglodutēs – described by Linneaus as Motacilla Troglodytes in the 1758 edition of his Systema naturae10 (Holmiae: Impensis Laurentii Salvii, 1758) p. 188.

Winter Wren = Nannus hiemalishiemalis from Latin hiems = winter – described by Louis J.P. Vieillot as Troglodytes hiemalis, Troglodyte d’hiver, in Nouveau dictionnaire d’histoire naturelle vol. 34 (1819) p. 514.

  • N.h. hiemalis = Winter Wren – nominate form – ascribed to Louis J.P. Vieillot for his description of the protonym Troglodytes hiemalis, above – range: east Canada, north-east USA;
  • N.h. pullus = Blackish Wren – from Latin pullus = dark-coloured, blackish – described by Thomas D. Burleigh as Nannus hiemalis pullus, Southern Winter Wren, in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington vol. 48 (1935) pp. 61–62 – range: mountains of West Virginia to Georgia (east-central USA).

Pacific Wren = Nannus pacificus – described by American naturalist Spencer Fullerton Baird as Troglodytes hyemalis var. pacificus in Review of American birds in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1864) p. 145–146.

  • N.p. alascensis = Alaska Wren – for Alaska – described by American naturalist Spencer F. Baird as Troglodytes alascensis in Transactions of the Chicago Academy of Sciences vol. 1, pt. 2 (1869) p. 315 – range: Pribilof Islands (south-west of Alaska);
  • N.p. helleri = Heller’s Wren – patronym for American zoologist Edmund Heller – Heller collected the initial five specimen with Wilfred H. Osgood, who described it as Anorthura hiemalis helleri, Kadiak Winter Wren, in Auk vol. 18 (1901), p. 181–182 – range: Kodiak and Afognak Islands (south of Alaskan Peninsula);
  • N.p. kiskensis = Kiska Wren – for Kiska – described by American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser as Nannus troglodites kiskensis in Proceedings of the United States National Museum vol. 55 (1920) pp. 228–229, range: west Aleutian Islands;
  • N.p. meligerus = Melodious Wren – from Greek meligērus = melodious, sweet-voiced – described by American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser as Anothura meligera in Auk vol. 17 (1900), pp. 25–26 – range: western-most Aleutian Islands;
  • N.p. muiri = Muir’s Wren – patronym for Scottish-American naturalist and preservationist John Muir – described by Amadeo M. Rea as Troglodytes troglodytes muiri, Muir’s Winter Wren, in Allan R. Phillips, The Known Birds of North and Middle America: Distribution and Variation, Migrations, Changes, Hybrids, etc.: Part I Hirundinidae to Mimidae, Certhiidae (Denver, CO: Denver Museum of Natural History, 1986), p. 140 – range: south-west Oregon to central California (west USA);
  • N.p. obscurior; = Dark Wren – from Latin obscurus = dark – described by Amadeo M. Rea as Troglodytes troglodytes obscurior, Central California Winter Wren, in Allan R. Phillips, The Known Birds of North and Middle America: Distribution and Variation, Migrations, Changes, Hybrids, etc.: Part I Hirundinidae to Mimidae, Certhiidae (Denver, CO: Denver Museum of Natural History, 1986), p. 140 – range: interior west USA, also coastal central California (west USA);
  • N.p. ochroleucus = Yellow-white Wren – from Greek ōkhros = yellow-ochre, leukos = white – described by Amadeo M. Rea as Troglodytes troglodytes ochroleucus in Allan R. Phillips, The Known Birds of North and Middle America: Distribution and Variation, Migrations, Changes, Hybrids, etc.: Part I Hirundinidae to Mimidae, Certhiidae (Denver, CO: Denver Museum of Natural History, 1986), p. 138 – range: islands south of Alaskan Peninsula;
  • N.p. pacificus = Pacific Wren – nominate form – ascribed to American naturalist Spencer F. Baird for his description of the protonym Troglodytes hyemalis var. pacificus, above – range: south-east Alaska, west Canada, north-west USA;
  • N.p. petrophilus = Rock-loving Wren – from Greek petros = rock, philos = loving – described by American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser as Nannus troglodites petrophilus in Proceedings of the United States National Museum vol. 55 (1920) pp. 232–233 – range: Unalaska (east Aleutians);
  • N.p. salebrosus = Rough Wren – from Latin salebrosus = rough, rugged – described by Thomas D. Burleigh as Troglodytes troglodytes salebrosus in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington vol. 72 (1959) pp. 16–17 – range: interior north-west USA and south-west Canada;
  • N.p. seguamensis – Seguam Wren – for Seguam Island – described by American naturalist Ira N. Gabrielson and Frederick C. Lincoln as Troglodytes troglodytes seguamensis, Seguam Winter Wren, in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington vol. 64 (1951) p. 73 – range: central Aleutians;
  • N.p. semidiensis = Semidi Wren – for the Semidi Islands – described by Winthrop S. Brooks as Nannus hiemalis semidiensis, Semidi Winter Wren, in Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College, in Cambridge vol. 59 (1915) p. 400 – range: Semidi Islands (south of Alaskan Peninsula);
  • N.p. stevensoni = Stevenson’s Wren – patronym for Donald H. Stevenson who collected specimen with O.J. Murie – described by American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington vol. 43 (1930) pp. 151–152 – range: Alaskan Peninsula (south-west Alaska);
  • N.p. tanagensis = Tanaga Wren – for Tanaga Island – described by American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser as Nannus troglodites petrophilus in Proceedings of the United States National Museum vol. 55 (1920) pp. 230–231 – range: west-central Aleutian Islands.

Kinglets

GoldcrestSix 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 made king. The eagle was the bird that flew the highest, until a small bird ejected from its feathers and flew even higher. It is contested whether this was a wren or a kinglet, but as the highest flyer would become the king of birds it is thought to be a kinglet, the name being the diminuitive of king. Also, since kinglets are blessed with a striking crown they were thought to be the kings of birds, again kinglet referring to their diminutive stature. Regulus is derived from Latin rex = king, and -ulus = diminutive suffix.

  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula = Glowing Kinglet – calendula = glowing, from caleo = to glow, to be warm;
  • Common Firecrest – Regulus ignicapilla = Fire-capped Kinglet – from Latin ignis = fire, and -capilus = capped;
  • Madeira Firecrest – Regulus madeirensis = Madeira Kinglet – for Madeira;
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet – Regulus satrapa = Governor Kinglet – from Old Persian šaθrapāvan = protector of the province, via Greek σατράπης (satrápēs);
  • Flamecrest – Regulus goodfellowi = Goodfellow’s Kinglet – for English ornithologist Walter Goodfellow;
  • Goldcrest – Regulus regulus = Kinglet – tautonym of regulus.

Since the introduction of the binomial system, Regulus regulus has had a variety of names, including Motacilla Regulus (Linnaeus), Sylvia Regulus (Pennant), Regulus cristatus (Dresser), Regulus flavicapillus (Naumann) Regulus auricapillus (Meyer) and Regulus vulgaris (Olphe-Galliard), with Regulus always part of the binomial. French naturalist George Cuvier was the first to use it as a genus in his 1800 Leçons d’anatomie comparée, and Linnaeus the first to use it as a specific in his 1758 Systema Naturae10, creating the protonym Motacilla Regulus. Austrian ornithologist C.H. Othmar Reiser seems to have been the first to put the two together as Regulus regulus in his 1894 Ornis Balcanica.

For centuries Goldcrest was known under an adjectival moniker. It was already featured in John Ray‘s Ornithologiæ libri tres, edited mainly from notes by Francis Willughby and published in 1676, where it possibly gets the first mention in the English language, as ‘golden-crown’d Wren’. The golden crest or crown has featured as part of the name for a long time. It has been described as Golden Crested Warbler, Golden Crested Wren, Golden Crowned Wren, Golden Crested Regulus. Goldcrest must have been a synonym used more widely, though only by the mid-twentieth century was it used as an official name. Even Ernst Hartert and colleagues still talk about Golden-crested Wren in the 1912 Hand-List of British Birds. It wasn’t until Harry Forbes Witherby‘s 1941 Check-list of British Birds that the shortened Goldcrest was used officially. Of the earlier ornithologists only Henry Seebohm used Goldcrest in his 1883 History of British Birds.

Germanic

  • IS: Glókollur = shiny crown – glóa = shining, kollr = crown;
  • NO: Fuglekonge = kingbird – fugle = bird, konge = king;
  • SV: Kungsfågel = kingbird – kung = king, fågel = bird;
  • DA: Fuglekonge = kingbird – fugle = bird, konge = king;
  • NL: Goudhaan(tje) = (little) golden-rooster – goud = gold, haan = cockerel, rooster, -tje = diminutive suffix;
  • FY: Goudtúfke = gold-tuft – goud = gold, túfe = crest, -ke = diminutive suffix;
  • DE: Wintergoldhänchen = winter little golden-rooster – winter = winter, gold = gold, hahn = cockerel, rooster, -chen = diminutive suffix.

Celtic

  • BR: Dreolan kabell aour = gold-capped wren – dreolan = wren, kabell = hat, aour = gold;
  • CY: Dryw eurben = gold-crested wren – dryw = wren, aur = gold, ben = top, head;
  • GA: Cíorbhuí = yellowcrest – cíor = crest, buí = yellow;
  • GD: Crìonag bhuidhe = yellowcrest (?) – crìon perhaps from cìrean = crest, -ach = suffix, buidhe = yellow.

Uralic

  • FI: Hippiäinen = little mitre – hiippa = mitre, -iäinen = (double) diminutive suffix;
  • ET: Pöialpoiss = Tom Thumb – pöial = thumb, poiss = boy;
  • HU: Sárgafejű királyka = yellow-headed kinglet – sárga = yellow, fejű = head, király = king, -ka = diminutive suffix.

Baltic

  • LT: Nykštukas = Tom Thumb – nykšti = thumb, -ukas = diminutive suffix;
  • LV: Zeltgalvītis = little golden-head – zelts = gold, galv = head, -ītis = diminutive suffix.

Slavic

  • RU: Желтоголовый королёк = yellow-headed kinglet – жёлтый = yellow, голова = head, король = king, -ёк = diminutive suffix;
  • PL: Mysikrólik = mousy kinglet – mysi = mouse or mouse grey, król = king, -ik = diminutive suffix;
  • BE: Жоўтагаловы каралёк = yellow-headed kinglet – жоўта = yellow, галовы = head, кароль = king, -ёк = diminutive suffix;
  • UK: Золотомушка жовточуба = yellow-crowned golden speckle – золото = gold, мушка = speckle, dot, жовтий = yellow, чуб = crown, = suffix;
  • CS: Králíček obecný = common kinglet – král = king, -íček = diminutive suffix, obecný = general;
  • SK: Králik zlatohlavý = golden-headed kinglet – král = king, -ik = diminutive suffix, zlato = gold, hlava = head;
  • SL: Rumenoglávi kraljiček = yellow-headed kinglet – rumeno = yellow, glava = head, kralj = king, -iček = diminutive suffix;
  • HR: Zlatoglavi kraljić = golden-headed kinglet – zlato = gold, glavi = head, kralj = king, -ić = diminutive suffix;
  • BG: Жълтоглаво кралче = yellow-headed kinglet – жълто = yellow, глава = head, крал = king, -че = diminutive suffix.

Romance

  • FR: Roitelet huppé = crested kinglet – roi = king, -(el)et = (double) diminutive suffix, huppé = crested;
  • IT: Regolo = kinglet – re = king, g = interfix, -olo = diminutive suffix;
  • RO: Aușel nordic = tiny northern bird – aușel = tiny bird (likely from Latin avus contracted to au with -uș diminutive suffix, -el = diminutive suffix), nordic = northern;
  • PT: Estrelinha-de-poupa = crested little star – estrela = star, -inha = diminutive suffix, poupa = crested;
  • ES: Reyezuelo sencillo = plain kinglet – rey = king, -ezuelo = diminutive suffix, sencillo = simple, plain.

Albanian

  • SQ: Mbretëthi = kingbird – mbret = king, ë = evanescent letter, -thi = article.

Greek

  • Χρυσοβασιλίσκος = golden kinglet – χρυσο- = golden (prefix), βασιλιάς = king, -σκος = diminutive suffix.

FirecrestFirecrest has undergone a similar journey to Goldcrest, being the generally less common sister species. The only languages where the name is unrelated to Goldcrest are Polish (reference to candle, torch) and Italian (reference to flower).

  • IS: Gullkollur = golden crown – gull = gold, kollr = crown;
  • NO: Rødtoppfuglekonge = red-crowned kingbird – rød = red, topp = peak, summit, fugle = bird, konge = king;
  • SV: Brandkronad kungsfågel = fire-crowned kingbird – brand = fire, kronad = crowned, kung = king, fågel = bird)
  • DA: Rødtoppet fuglekonge = red-crowned kingbird – rød = red, toppet = peak, fugle = bird, konge = king;
  • NL: Vuurgoudhaan(tje) = fire golden-rooster – vuur = fire, goud = gold, haan = cockerel, rooster, -tje = diminutive suffix;
  • FY: Fjoertúfke = fire-tuft – fjoer = fire, túf = tuft, -ke = diminutive suffix;
  • DE: Sommergoldhähnchen = summer golden-rooster – sommer = summer, gold = gold, hahn = cockerel, rooster, -chen = diminutive suffix;
  • ET: Lääne-pöialpoiss = Western Tom Thumb – lääne = western, pöial = thumb, poiss = boy;
  • FI: Tulipäähippiäinen = fire-headed little mitre – tuli = fire, pää = head, hiippa = mitre, -iäinen = (double) diminutive suffix;
  • HU: Tüzesfejű királyka = fire-headed kinglet – tüze = fire, fejű = head, király = king, -ka = diminutive suffix;
  • SQ: Mbretëthi vetullbardhë = white-eyebrowed kingbird – vetull = eyebrow, bardhë = white, mbret = king, ë = evanescent letter, -thi = article;
  • RU: Красноголовый королёк = red-headed kinglet – kрасный = red, голова = head, король = king, -ёк = diminutive suffix;
  • PL: Zniczek = little torch – znicz = candle, torch, -ek = diminutive suffix;
  • CS: Králícek ohnivý = fiery kinglet – král = king, -íček = diminutive suffix, ohnivý = fiery;
  • SK: Králik ohnivohlavý = fire-headed kinglet – král = king, -ik = diminutive suffix, ohnivo = fiery, hlava = head;
  • HR: Vatroglavi kraljić = fire-headed kinglet – vatro = fire, glavi = head, kralj = king, -ić = diminutive suffix;
  • CY: Dryw penfflamgoch = flame-red crested wren – dryw = wren, pen = head, fflam = flame, goch = red;
  • GA: Lasairchíor = flamecrest – lasair = flame, cíor = crest;
  • LT: Baltabruvis nykštukas = white-browed Tom Thumb – balta = white, bruvis = brow, nykšti = thumb, -ukas = diminutive suffix;
  • FR: Roitelet à triple bandeau = triple-banded kinglet – roi = king, -(el)et = (double) diminutive suffix, triple = triple, bandeau = headband;
  • IT: Fiorrancino = orange flower – fiore = flower, arancio = orange;
  • PT: Estrelinha-de-cabeça-listada = stripy headed little star – estrela = star, -inha = diminutive suffix, cabeça = head, listada = striped;
  • ES: Reyezuelo listado = striped kinglet – rey = king, -ezuelo = diminutive suffix, listado = striped.

Waxwing

WaxwingThe 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, and modern Latin cilla = tail, thus making silktail – widely used at present. The Western Palearctic species is known as Bohemian Waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus = chattering silktail – from Latin garrulus = talkative, chattering. The Eastern Palearctic species is Japanese Waxwing, Bombycilla japonica = Japanese silktail – for Japan. In the Nearctic the predominant species is Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum = cedar silktail – from Latin cedrus = cedar.

Conrad Gessner described Waxwings as Garrulo bohemico in his 1555 Historiae animalium. Use of the Bohemian adjective refers to the perception that the birds originated in Bohemia (now western Czech Republic). German zoologist Ragnar Kinzelbach has written about older names for Waxwings and how the waxy tips to the secondaries captured the imagination as representing flames. Thus the birds were referred to in Greek as spintharís or spintúrnix, in Latin as avis incendiaria = arsonist bird by Gaius Plinius Secundus in his Naturalis Historia, and in Middle High German as Zünder(lin) = (little) igniter (-lin = diminutive suffix). By the time the plague struck Europe, Waxwings became known as Pestvogel = plague bird, as irruptions seemed to coincide with plague outbreaks. Seidenschwanz was the name of a German dress and became used as a bird name by the sixteenth century.

By 1735, Linnaeus gathered Waxwings under Ampelis in the first edition of his Systema naturea, and in the still pre-binomial 1746 Fauna svecica, classifying Ampelis as passerines. Ampelis was an unidentified bird in Aristophanes, of which Linnaeus thought it fed on grapes. By the time the binomial classification was published in the 1758 Systema naturea10, he had changed his mind. Ampelis had become Lanius (i.e. shrikes) under Accipitres. Waxwing had become Lanius Garrulus = chattering butcherbird, the protonym.

It was Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1808 who took the German Seidenschwanz and translated it into Latin as Bombycilla. He defined waxwings as generically separate from shrikes, thrushes and cotingas, although he thought they were closely related to the latter.

Perhaps not surpisingly, Bohemian Waxwings have stimulated the imagination of many, which is reflected in the official names in various languages. The following list is arranged synonymously if possible.

The largest group is represented by probable translations from the German:

  • Danish (DA) Silkehale = silktail – silke = silk, hale = tail;
  • German (DE) Seidenschwanz = silktail – Seiden = silk, Schwanz = tail;
  • Greek (EL) (Ευρωπαϊκή) βομβυκίλα = European silktail – Ευρώπη = Europe, -ϊκή = adjectival suffix (βομβυκίλα could be a transliteration into modern Greek of Bombycilla and thus meaningless?);
  • Estonian (ET) Siidisaba = silktail – siidi = silk, saba = tail;
  • Frisian (FY) Sidesturt = silktail – side = silk, sturt = tail;
  • Latvian (LV) Zīdaste = silktail – zīds = silk, aste = tail;
  • Norwegian (NO) Sidensvans = silktail – siden = silk, svans = tail;
  • Swedish (SV) Sidensvans = silktail – siden = silk, svans = tail.

A few languages refer to silk but not to tail:

  • Breton (BR) Seizeg sterenn = northern silky bird – seizeg = silky, sterenn = boreal, northern;
  • Catalan (CA) Ocell sedós = silky bird – ocell = bird, seda = silk, -ós = adjectival suffix;
  • Irish (GA) Síodeiteach = silkwing – síoda = silk, eite = wing, -ach = suffix;
  • Icelandic (IS) Silkitoppa = silky tuft – silki = silk, toppa from toppr = tuft;
  • Romanian (RO) Mătăsár = silky bird – mătase = silk, -ar = suffix.

References to the plague:

  • Dutch (NL) Pestvogel = plague bird – pest = plague, vogel = bird;
  • Croatian (HR) Kugara = plague bird – kuga = plague, -ara = feminine suffix.

Translations of Waxwing:

  • Welsh (CY) Adain gŵyr = waxwing – adain = wing, cwŷr = wax;
  • Manx (GV) Skian chereagh = waxwing – skian = wing, chereagh = wax;
  • Cornish (KW) Askel gor = waxwing – askel (also ascall) = wing, gor = wax.

References to the bird calls:

  • Finnish (FI) Tilhi = onomatopea;
  • French (FR) Jaseur boréal = northern chatterer – jaser = to chatter, -eur = suffix, boréal from Latin borealis = north;
  • Portuguese (PT) Tagarela-europeu = European chatterbox – tagarela = chatterbox, europeu = European;
  • Russian (RU) Cвиристель = whistler – свирель = (reed-)pipe, shortened to свир, double suffixes -ист and -тель = masculine suffixes.

At times confusion has crept in about the type of berries Waxwings eat in winter, hence mix-ups with Mistle Thrush in some languages:

  • Polish (PL) Jemiołuszka = mistletoe bird – jemioła = mistletoe, double suffixes -usz, -ka = feminine suffix;
  • Belarusian (BE) Амялушка = mistletoe bird – Амяла = mistletoe, шка = suffix;
  • Ukranian (UK) Звичайний омелюх = common mistletoe bird – Звичайний = common, омела = misteltoe, -юх = suffix.

According to an ancient Chinese legend, a crow rescued the emperor, after which the emperor showed his appreciation by turning the crow into a ‘bird of peace’, a ‘waxwing’; hence:

  • Mongolian (MN) Шивэр энхэтбялзуухай = Siberian peace bird – шивэр = thicket, but used as Siberian as faunal adjectiv, энхэт = peace, бялзуухай = small bird;
  • Chinese (ZH) 太平鸟 = peace bird – 太平 = peace, = bird.

Various:

  • Czech (CS) Brkoslav severní = northern magnificent feathers – brk = quill, feather, slav = magnificent, severní = northern (slav could be related to slovo = word, thus perhaps referring to bird calls, like in RU, FR, PT);
  • Spanish (ES) Ampelis = from scientific Ampelis, from Greek ampelis (ampelos = vine), unidentified bird in Aristophanes, of which Linnaeus thought it fed on grapes;
  • Basque (EU) Buztanoria = yellowtail (?) – buztan = tail, -ori = yellow (from hori), -a = article;
  • Faroese (FO) Reyðstapi = redhead (?) – reyður = red, stapi = thatch;
  • Gaelic (GD) Canarach-dearg = red canary (?) – canari = canary, -ach = suffix, dearg = red;
  • Hungarian (HU) Csonttollú = bony feathers (csontos = bony, tollú = feathers);
  • Italian (IT) Beccofrusone = grosbeak (becco = beak, frusone = grosbeak, from Latin ossifragus);
  • Korean (KO) 황여새 = sulphur-coloured bird – = sulphur, yellow, = augmentative suffix, = bird;
  • Lithuanian (LT) Paprastasis svirbelis = common staggerer – paprastasis = common, svirb = to stagger, -elis = suffix;
  • Sami (SE) Bealljerásttis = eared thrush – beallje from beallji = ear, rásttis loaned from Finnish rásttis = thrush (fieldfare);
  • Slovak (SK) Chochlač severský = northern tufted bird – chochlač possibly rhythmic contraction of chochol = tuft, with suffix, severský = northern;
  • Albanian (SQ) Çafkëlore bishtverdhë = yellow-tailed crested lark (Çafkë = crest, lore from laureshë = lark, bischt = tail, verdh = yellow, ë = suffix).

Finally a few asides:

  • in Dutch silktail = Zijdestaart = Hypocolius;
  • in Finnish the alleged onomatopea was first used by Finnish botanist and entomologist William Nylander, before that the bird was known from Meänkieli jouhilintu (horsetail bird) or tupsuniska (tufted neck/nape).

Nuthatches 1

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
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, with most species present in the Indomalaya zone. The IOC World Bird List assigns 28 species to the Sitta genus.

Sitta is assigned to Linneaus (of course) while the name was used by Conrad Gessner in reference to Aristotle‘s Sittē in his Historia animalium. The latter described nuthatches as follows: ‘The bird called sitta is quarrelsome, but clever and tidy, makes its living with ease, and for its knowingness is regarded as uncanny; it has a numerous brood, of which it is fond, and lives by pecking the bark of trees’ (transl. D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, 1910). This reference could be to any of the three species found around the Greece of Aristotle: Eurasian Nuthatch, Krüper’s Nuthatch and Western Rock Nuthatch.

The 28 species translate as follows.