Identifies and briefly explains over three thousand Latin words used to describe birds, referring to species, body parts, colors, patterns, and sizes, and profiles twelve ornithologists as well as twenty popular birds.
“Scientific names, those sometimes cumbersome binomial identifiers, can be more entertaining than we may imagine—a point driven home by Latin for Bird Lovers.” —The Wall Street JournalAutorentext
“Lederer and Burr enliven things with more than 250 colorful and detailed images, genus profiles, stories about famous birders and short hits on topics such as beaks, feathers, bird songs and calls, and migration. It makes for a reference work with entertainment value.” —Chicago Tribune
“This beautifully illustrated dictionary of 3,000 bird names trots out enlightening trivia.” —The Week
“Sheds light on some of the world’s most colorful and interesting birds.” —BirdWatching
“Gorgeous illustrations fill the pages, making this Latin-heavy guide flutter to life with every brush stroke. All I can say is, checking out this book will be a real feather in your cap.” —The Columbian
“A beautiful book. The illustrations are exquisite and the colors are very vivid. . . . This would be a wonderful reference book for the bird lover to have on hand.” —Happy Little Bookworm
“An entertaining book, suitable for leisurely reading or as a present.” —Tringa
Dr. Roger Lederer is a professor of biological sciences at California State University, Chico. He has published papers and books on ecology, science education, and ornithology. Dr. Lederer has served as a consultant to governments, schools, and organizations like BBC, National Geographic, National Public Radio, National Canadian Television, the Guinness Book of World Records, and many others through his popular website, ornithology.com.
Carol Burr has a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. She taught literature at California State University, Chico, for 37 years before retiring in 2008. She has authored articles and edited books on women writers and sense of place. Most recently she illustrated a local bird guide The Birds of Bidwell Park.
You can learn a lot about a bird from its scientific name. The descriptive terms that make up these names can identify species by color, size, or distribution, and may illuminate a hidden history or quality.Zusammenfassung
Latin for Bird Lovers uncovers the secrets behind more than 3,000 scientific names. It also delves into bird behavior and reveals the fascinating discoveries of ornithologists: one debunked the myth that robins sing because they are happy, while another found that birdsong is regionally distinctive.
Unlock the secrets of bird names and their origins!Leseprobe
For most birdwatchers, a good field guide—The Birds of Western North America, The Birds of Europe, The Birds of Australia, the birds of wherever—is sufficient to identify birds in the field. These guides all come in a similar format: Next to the illustration of the species is its common name, typically in larger, bold type (e.g. Desert Lark), while the italicized scientific name (Ammomanes deserti) is smaller and lighter. Because birders are generally not interested in the taxonomic or evolutionary relationships of birds, scientific names seem to be of little use.
While most diving ducks have the genus name Aythya and most dabbling ducks Anas, bird lovers tend to refer to them as dabblers and divers. Although they call many soaring hawks by their genus name Buteo and the faster flying hawks Accipiter, they are just handy group names. Empidonax flycatchers that are difficult to identify are sometimes called “empees,” a shortened scientific name that has become a common name.
Scientific names, binomials, are used by scientists to define the exact evolutionary relationships of birds. Using Greco-Latin terms, these names are standarized across the world and are mostly descriptive. If the birdwatcher takes the time to look at these names, they will begin to notice interesting patterns and discover relationships between birds they may not have known about before. For example, there are several genera (plural of genus) of New World sparrows, such as Spizella. The scientific name for the American Tree Sparrow, Spizella arborea, shows that it is more closely related to Spizella passerina, the Chipping Sparrow, than it is to Chondestes grammacus, the Lark Sparrow, even though they are all called sparrows.
Most scientific names are at least partly descriptive, such as Corvus brachyrhynchos, the American Crow, meaning a short-beaked crow (brachy- short, rhynchos, beak, corvus, crow). Aix galericulata comes from Aix, duck, galer, cap, and cul-, little, as in the Mandarin Duck, with a swept-back head crest. Some birds were named to honor an influential person such as an ornithologist, naturalist, politician, or royalty, as in Estrilda kandti, Kandt’s Waxbill, after Richard Kandt, physician and explorer, and from the German Wellenastrild, Waxbill. Other names may describe the place the bird was first found, its color, or behavior. Occasionally, it includes the name of a mythical god, goddess, or creature. You may find that a little bit of research into scientific names opens up a whole new way of looking at and understanding birds.
Latin for Bird Lovers is not only about the origin of scientific names. We also try to explain a little about how and why birds are named and occasionally add tidbits of information about the birds themselves. The book can be picked up and read or referred to in any order in bits and pieces, like a typical dictionary or encyclopedia.