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Academic & Professional Books  Ornithology  Taxonomy & Nomenclature

The Eponym Dictionary of Birds

By: Richard "Bo" Crombet-Beolens(Author), Michael Watkins(Author), Michael Grayson(Author)
624 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Christopher Helm
The Eponym Dictionary of Birds
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  • The Eponym Dictionary of Birds ISBN: 9781472905734 Hardback Jul 2014 In stock
    £59.99
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The Eponym Dictionary of BirdsThe Eponym Dictionary of Birds

About this book

Birdwatchers often come across bird names that include a person's name, either in the vernacular (English) name or latinised in the scientific nomenclature. Such names are properly called eponyms, and few people will not have been curious as to who some of these people were (or are).

Names such as Darwin, Wallace, Audubon, Gould and (Gilbert) White are well known to most people. Keener birders will have yearned to see Pallas's Warbler, Hume's Owl, Swainson's Thrush, Steller's Eider or Brünnich's Guillemot. But few people today will have even heard of Albertina's Myna, Barraband's Parrot, Guerin's Helmetcrest or Savigny's Eagle Owl. This extraordinary new work lists more than 4000 eponymous names covering 10 000 genera, species and subspecies of birds. Every taxon with an eponymous vernacular or scientific name (whether in current usage or not) is listed, followed by a concise biography of the person concerned. These entries vary in length from a few lines to several paragraphs, depending on the availability of information or the importance of the individual's legacy. The text is punctuated with intriguing or little-known facts, unearthed in the course of the authors' extensive research.

Ornithologists will find this an invaluable reference, especially to sort out birds named after people with identical surnames or in situations where only a person's forenames are used. But all birders will find much of interest in this fascinating volume, a book to dip into time and time again whenever their curiosity is aroused.

Customer Reviews

By: Richard "Bo" Crombet-Beolens(Author), Michael Watkins(Author), Michael Grayson(Author)
624 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Christopher Helm
Media reviews

"[...] It has produced a fascinating book to dip into and is a major labour of love, the authors often having gone back to the original description where the etymology was explained.  They have failed to find an actual person for only 17 names which is an astonishing achievement, though several of these refer to female first names where a describer may have named a form after a distant relative or perhaps acquaintance."
- Peter Lack, BTO news, September 2014

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