Pacific Gull

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Pacific Gull
From: andrewt <>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 03:23:41 +1000
On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 07:52:57PM +1000, Carl Clifford wrote:
> Dear old Dr. John Latham is to blame. He named the bird in his  
> "Supplementum indicis ornithologici sive systematis ornithologiae" in  
> 1802. Unfortunately Dr. Latham never voyaged as far as the Antipodes (I  
> don't think he ever left England), and had to rely on specimens supplied  
> by others, which would undoubtedly have been collected from along the  
> southern NSW and Tasmanian east coasts, and named them eponymously from  
> their collection location. It is a pity that not much was known about  
> what lived west of Bass Strait at that time, otherwise Larus p. might  
> very well have ended up with a very much different name if he knew the  
> true distribution.

Latham described Pacific Gull, and quite a few other Australian species,
from a drawing by Thomas Watling (linked below).  Watling was transported
for forgery and assigned to the surgeon and naturalist John White.
White left Australia before Bass&Flinders began their explorations south
and Watling gives an aboriginal name, so it was likely drawn from a bird
seen or collected near Sydney.


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