Chiming in from the USA to completely
agree with Philip. Here, as in Australia, large numbers of species
were eponymously named by explorers/early naturalists. The
practice has always seemed supremely arrogant and egotistical to
me. Once in a while a serendipitous name was accidently given
(e.g. Blackburnian Warbler), but most often it produced clunkers
like Smith's Longspur, Le Conte's Sparrow and Vaux's Swift. I
didn't realize until this thread that the Australian King-Parrot
(which I've admired often at the ANBG) was named after somebody! I
thought the name was given because it was so big and gorgeous. :)
Bon Aqua, TN, USA
On 4/19/2014 10:46 PM, Philip Veerman wrote:
I think the majority of eponymous bird
names are awkward. They are also mostly biologically
irrelevant and often expressions of colonial obsequiousness,
especially if not named for someone who actually
contributed. They still mostly contain the correct
apostrophe use, although some names like Gouldian Finch
(instead of Gould's Finch) by pass that. Though he named
that for his wife. Eponymous place names now almost all do
not retain the correct apostrophe use (e.g. Batemans Bay
should surely be Bateman's Bay, or if that is not what it
means, then Batemen Bay).
The history appears convincing that Australian
King-Parrot should be King’s Parrot but
being a big parrot it really becomes so much easier to think
of it as the latter and would look odd to call it the
former, even though formerly more formally correct. As I see
it, subsequent to that, the hyphen only makes sense on the
basis that it takes King-Parrot as a group name, so as to
include other species, not from Australia. As such, it
abandons the original eponymous meaning of the name. As for
King Vulture and no doubt several other species, surely they
would be named for an impression of features of the creature
(like King Penguin & Emperor Penguin), rather than
eponymous reasons (a particular king or someone with that
being labelled ‘Tabuan Parrot’ in Phillip’s Voyage
(1789) and White’s Journal (1790), the bird was
labelled ‘King’s Parrot’ in the notes that George Caley sent
to Vigors and Horsfield for their work on Australian birds.
Caley also used ‘King Parrot’, apparently a reference to
King in the same sense. Caley had arrived in the colony
with Governor King in April 1800 (4 months after JW Lewin)
and left in 1810. It is tempting to think that the pet King
Parrot shown in Hunter’s sketchbook might have belonged to
King (his fellow officer). However King was at Norfolk
Island for nearly all his first two periods in Australia
(1788-17900; 1791-1796). King succeeded Hunter as governor
in September 1800, and himself returned to England in 1806.
It seems likely the term ‘King’s Parrot’ (or ‘King Parrot’)
came into use between 1800 and 1806.
From: Denis Wilson [m("gmail.com","peonyden");">]
Sent: Saturday, 19 April 2014 8:30 PM
To: David McDonald (personal)
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Another new book of bird
words: 'The Eponym Dictionary of Birds'
I feel one of Geoffrey Dabb's lectures on
the origin of the name King Parrot coming on.
Time for a refresher on that subject.
Are you amongst Greg Hunt's "increasingly hysterical
If not, why not?
The Great Barrier Reef decision of 31 January 2014
is a travesty.
Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. (George Carlin)