White-cheeked Honeyeater

To: Martin Butterfield <>
Subject: White-cheeked Honeyeater
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:48:44 +0000
Hmm, that is slightly different to what is said in James Jobling's "A 
Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. If Phylidoris is one of those Greek-Latin 
hybrid words, it probably should be given a specific epithet that is neuter. No 
doubt whoever agreed on the name thought they were a better classicist than 
they actually were.

You are right about giving words a gender, a right pain. Could be worse though. 
Latin could be still alive and well and we would have to deal with the 
declension of nouns on to of their gender. No wonder the Roman Empire declined.

Carl Clifford

> On 23 Jun 2015, at 9:44 am, Martin Butterfield <> wrote:
> 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 
> "l'internet"!
> Martin
> Martin Butterfield
>> 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 nigra,
>> > and
>> > IOC and Christidis & Boles list it as Phylidonyris niger?
>> > Thanks.
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