According to "Australian Bird Names a complete guide" by Ian Fraser and
Jeannie Gray the Philedon element comes from the Greek for "attractive",
The Cinnyris bit does link back to sunbird .
The business of gender of names all makes me glad we speak English, as with
all the irrationalities in that language, at least we avoided daftness like
having to decide what gender to apply to words such as the French
On 22 June 2015 at 21:24, Carl Clifford <> wrote:
> Hi Clive,
> Bit of an update on the mystery. I have been doing a bit of a rummage
> through the library, and it seems that Phylidoyris is a bit of a manmade
> word. It comes from the French, Phylédon (Honeyeater), which comes from the
> Latin Philedon (honeyeater), cobbled together with the Latin Cynnyris
> (sunbird). No wonder the taxonomists couldn't decide which sex the word
> was. Probably should have been called nigrum, the neuter form.
> Carl Clifford
> > On 22 Jun 2015, at 4:17 pm, Clive Nealon <> wrote:
> > Greetings,
> > Can someone explain, please, why HANZAB, Pizzey & Knight (8th Ed), and
> > Morcombe field guides list White-cheeked Honeyeater as Phylidonyris
> > and
> > IOC and Christidis & Boles list it as Phylidonyris niger?
> > Thanks.
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