It’s all in a name

When you look at bird names from around the world most of the time you can half guess what the bird is going to look like. Anything with ‘Lesser’ in front of it is going to be small or smaller. Anything with ‘Greater’ is going to be somewhat bigger. Then there’s specific stuff like Rough legged Buzzard has feathered legs, White faced Heron is basically a heron with a white face. Shoveller has a bill like a shovel. More often than not it says what it is on the tin! Well … you get the drift.

I came across a duck in Australia. It looked like something that a kid had drawn or maybe an trainee Victorian taxidermist had put together. It has a massive bill about a quarter of the body length, an eye ring that looks as if it’s just exited specsavers, an eye patch worthy of a panda as well as a stripy body that wouldn’t look out of place in a herd of zebra. So you would think naming it would be easy. Naaa! The Pink eared Duck is named after the smallest amount of pink feathering on the head. Bizarre.

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Feb 2019


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