Ian, I care.
The German is Amsel (without checking).
I had a very scottish friend (second language english) who called all
His wife insisted it was only the black and white ones. Hence my earlier
this is the relevant part of what the OED has to say though some of the
fancy fonts may misbehave.
1. A name of certain birds of
the genus Turdus. a.
An old name of the blackbird or merle (T. merula). This is app. the
original application of the name (although sense b may have been included); it
is now mainly a literary archaism, but appears to be in local use in the
qualified form black- or garden-ouzel. Also attrib. in ouzel-cock.
Gloss. (O.E.T.) 665 Merula,
a725 Corpus Gl.
ibid. 1306 Osle.
Ags. Voc. in Wr.-Wülcker 260/26
Gloss W. de Bibbesw. in Wright Voc. 164 En
braunche seet la merle, an
1387 Trevisa Higden (Rolls) I. 187
Þe wesels [L. merulæ, Caxt. ousels] be blak among vs; þere [Arcadia] þey
Ibid. 237 In towne, as it
longes, Þe osul twytereþ mery
Hawkyng in Rel. Ant. I. 296 Owsilless, and þresches. and other smale
1533 Elyot Cast. Helthe (1541)
20b, Blacke byrdes or ousyls, amonge wylde fowle hath the chiefe
1590 Shakes. Mids. N. iii. i. 128 The Woosell
cocke, so blacke of hew, With Orenge-tawny
1594 R. Barnfield Affect. Sheph.
ii. x, Gins and
wyles, the Oozels to beguile.
1746 W. Thompson Hymn to May xxvii,
The ouzle sweetly shrill.
1842 Tennyson Gardener's Dau. 93
The mellow ouzel fluted in the
1843 James Forest Days x, It
is difficult there to know a carrion crow from an
1875 Lanc. Gloss.,
Black-ousel, the blackbird.
b. Applied to the allied
species T. torquatus, usually distinguished as ring-ouzel; also known locally as crag-, moor-, mountain-, rock-, tor-ouzel.
quots. under sense a may have included this: in the following it is
distinguished from the merle or otherwise
c1450 Holland Howlat 713 The
Maviss and the Merle syngis, Osillis and
1549 Compl. Scot.
vi. 39 The maueis maid myrtht, for to mok the merle+the lyntquhit sang cuntirpoint quhen the os?il ?elpit.
Holland Pliny x. xxiv. 284 Ousles,
Throstles, Blackbirds, and Stares,+depart aside from
us, but goe not farre.
Ray Synops. Meth. Avium
(1713) 65, Merula torquata, The Ring-Ouzel or
1768 G. White Selborne xx. 57 The
ousel is larger than a blackbird, and feeds on
1885 Swainson Prov. Names Birds 8
Ring ouzel+so called from the white gorget on the
The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering
takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely
a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way.
If you wish to get material removed from the archive or
have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email
If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail
Andrew Taylor at this address: