What is in a Name?

   Below is a list of 15 birds and some insight on their names.


  1. Pied-billed grebe- Somthing 'pied' consists of two or more colors. As it's name states, the bill is multicolored.
  2. Prothonotary warbler- Named after the bright yellow robes worn by Catholic clerks, or 'prothonotaries'.
  3. Semi-palmated sandpiper- 'Palmated' means having webbed feet, thus semi-palmated sandpipers have partially webbed feet.
  4. Semi-palmated plover- Just as with the semi-palmated sandpiper, semi-palmated plovers have partially webbed feet.
  5. Bald eagle-At first bald eagles were indeed thought to be bald because of their all white head feathers.
  6. Northern mockingbird- Named after their ability to mimic virtually any noise that they hear.
  7. Cerulean warbler- The definition of 'cerulean' says 'resembling the blue of the sky'. Cerulean warblers are, of course, blue.
  8. Northern bobwhite- Named after their telltale call mnemonic, 'Bob white!'.
  9. Gray catbird- named after their raspy call, closely resembling the mew of a cat.
  10. Brown-headed cowbird- Cow birds were named for, no, not their cows-like call (they do not sound like cows), but of their habit to follow herds of cattle to eat the insects found near them.
  11. Mourning dove- Named after their sad 'mourning' calls.
  12. Common loon- 'Loon' is derived from the Swedish word 'lom', meaning 'lame'. Named after the awkward way loons walk.
  13. Pileated woodpecker- 'Pileated' means "having a crest covering the pileum", which, of course, applies to pileated woodpeckers (the 'piluem' is the top of a bird's head)
  14. Yellow-bellied sapsucker- named after it's habit to drill holes into trees to drink the sap that flows from the hole.
  15. Double-crested cormorant- named for it's almost impossible to see set of double crests.

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Very interesting

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