Kings Fishers

To: "'David McDonald (Personal)'" <>, 'Canberrabirds list' <>
Subject: Kings Fishers
From: Geoffrey Dabb via Canberrabirds <>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2024 01:36:03 +0000

Thank you David.  On the same broad subject, interesting bird name origins, I came across the attached in a 2016 issue of The Birder (SA).  Since then ‘Adelaide Rosella’ has had its ups and downs, being used in various ways in different lists.  We live in confusing times.


From: Canberrabirds <> On Behalf Of David McDonald (Personal)
Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2024 6:15 PM
To: Canberrabirds list <>
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Kings Fishers


Greetings. Birders with a special interest in the origins of the bird names that we currently use will be aware that the family that we call ‘kingfishers’ were called, since the 15th century, King’s Fishers, or similar. Fraser & Gray’s Australian bird names (2nd ed. 2019, p. 134) points out that this name came directly from the French roi pêcheur, so the birds should probably be called Fisher King.


The prominent Sydney-based antiquarians, the Antique Print and Map Room, have very recently sold a ‘Rare c.18th first engraving of the Scared Kingfisher from a specimen collected in Australia in the first year of the founding of the colony in 1788 and printed in London on 17 June, 1789’, artist Peter Mazell (1759 - 1797) An image is available at that URL, and at the State Library of Victoria, below. It is titled ‘SACRED KINGS FISHER’.


No point, then, in asking which king the family is named after!


For info – David



Source: Mazell, Peter, and Arthur Phillip. SACRED KINGS FISHER [Picture]. London: Published by J. Stockdale, 1789.




David McDonald

1004 Norton Road, Wamboin NSW 2620, Australia

Mobile: 0416 231 890 | Tel: (02) 6238 3706

E-mail: m("","david");">



Description: adelaide rosella.JPG

Attachment: ATT00001.txt
Description: ATT00001.txt

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