Six species of kinglets occupy the northern hemisphere. The name kinglet is related to a story told in Pliny the Elder‘s Naturalis Historia in which a contest is held between birds where the one that could fly highest would be made king. The eagle was the bird that flew the highest, until a small bird … Read more Kinglets


The recent irruption of Waxwings triggered my curiosity of the names of these tufted berry gobblers. The three species of waxwing are gathered under the genus Bombycilla; the name is a combination of Latin bombyx from Greek bombux = silk, and modern Latin cilla = tail, thus making silktail – widely used at present. The … Read more Waxwing

Nuthatches 1

Wondering where the nuthatch winters Wings a mile long Just carried the bird away Eyes of the World by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter © Ice Nine Publishing True Nuthatches can be found in three ecozones, Indomalaya, Palearctic and Nearctic, with most species present in the Indomalaya zone. The IOC World Bird List assigns 28 … Read more Nuthatches 1


The three species within the Luscinia genus in the Western Palearctic represent only one third of its total number worldwide; the remaining Luscinia species occupy the Eastern Palearctic region. Luscinia members are quite diverse and (up till now) closely related to the Erithacus robins and Tarsiger bush robins. Reference to both throat colour and robins … Read more Nightingales

Crows 1

There are currently 46 species of Corvus crows on the IOC World Bird List. Of these only 8 species show any amount of white or off-white coloration in their plumage. This leaves us with 38 different black crows, 38 shades of black. How have they been described? In short: with little reference to colour. Taking … Read more Crows 1

Gulls 3

For non-birders, the fact that there is no such a bird as a sea-gull is sometimes hard to comprehend. Looking at the scientific names, Sea Gull is in fact Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus, from Latin mare = sea). However, proper sea-gulls are quite possibly just Sabine’s Gull and Black-legged Kittiwake, as they tend to … Read more Gulls 3

Gulls 2

Comparing English and scientific names can be confusing in gull species. The agreed classification for gulls at this point in time is to have four larger genera, and a set of smaller ones. The gulls that have been classified by the IOC on their World Bird List as non-single or non-dual genus species have been … Read more Gulls 2

Robin 2

German ornithologist Ernst Hartert (1858–1933) was the first to describe the subspecies of Robin present in the British Isles (Erithacus rubecula melophilus). The German description appeared in the 1901 issue of the zoological journal of the Tring Museum (now the Natural History Museum at Tring) in London, Novitates Zoologicae, vol. VIII, p. 317. Hartert was … Read more Robin 2

Book Review: The Urban Birder

The Urban Birder David Lindo London: New Holland Publishers, 2011 222 pp. £9.99 hardback ISBN: 978-1-84773-950-6 David Lindo is a rising star in the world of celebrity birders, due to his exposure in various BBC television and radio programmes, a column in Bird Watching magazine, as well as appearances in BBC-related wildlife/countryside publications. Now there … Read more Book Review: The Urban Birder