Saturday, January 24, 2009

Talking 'bout Anhingas

Anhinga, male.

I can never remember which day in the Blog Week is supposed to be wordless. And which one is all about the sky. Is there one about the Wordless Sky, too? I'm confused.

This male anhinga was so durn purty that I just had to share him—wordlessly or not. I encountered him as he was drying his wings on a chilly morning at Viera Wetlands.

Anhingas are interesting birds. Whenever I get to see one, I am reminded of the very first one I saw on a Florida trip with my family in the early 1970s. Driving through the Everglades, we noticed all these dark birds with snake-like necks swimming in the water and perching near it with outstretched wings. What WERE these things?

We laughed when we found the bird in our Peterson guide. It was the anhinga. Back home in Pella, Iowa, we knew a family (of Dutch origin as most in Pella were) with the last name Hinga. They had a daugher named Ann.

No lie. Ann Hinga.

Last night at dinner, Robert Kirk from Princeton University Press, posed the question: How many birds are like the anhinga, which has the same name for its common name as it does for its genus and species (its two-part Latin name). In other words, the anhinga is noted in field guides thusly:

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Are there any other birds with this unusually repetitive name structure? Have I left you wordless in pondering this question? I certainly hope not.

Happy weekend to all.

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At 11:50 AM, Blogger rmharvey said...

Sort of like knowing someone named Richard Sissel.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger brdpics said...

Or Robert O'Link

At 2:07 PM, Blogger thecutestcouple (Daniel) said...

The Yellow-headed Blackbird is Xanthcephalus xanthocephalus

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Beth & Bill Clark said...


Beth and I immediately thought of: Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) Eurasian Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Winter Wren (Troglodytus troglodytes)
A little searching and we found:
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Corn Crake (Crex crex)
At this point we got a grip, had a chuckle, and went back to real life. Thanks for the break. Beth just found the Greater Honeyguide, Indicator indicator, now there's a name that means something. We really have to quit!

At 3:53 PM, Blogger thecutestcouple (Daniel) said...

Okay, so I'm not sure if I should feel proud or ashamed, but I went and wrote a script to extract species with repetitive scientific names from the Clement's checklist. Of course, now that I have done this, I realize that Bill may have been wondering about birds with the common name repeated in the genus and species name...hmmm. A quick check showed that the Anhinga is unique in this regard.

The total number of species with doubled scientific names (including the Anhinga) is 86. Here's the full list:

Southern Cassowary : Casuarius casuarius
Graylag Goose : Anser anser
Whooper Swan : Cygnus cygnus
Coscoroba Swan : Coscoroba coscoroba
Common Shelduck : Tadorna tadorna
Harlequin Duck : Histrionicus histrionicus
Trinidad Piping-Guan : Pipile pipile
Alagoas Curassow : Mitu mitu
Helmeted Curassow : Pauxi pauxi
Snow Partridge : Lerwa lerwa
Black Francolin : Francolinus francolinus
Gray Partridge : Perdix perdix
Common Quail : Coturnix coturnix
Red Junglefowl : Gallus gallus
White Eared-Pheasant : Crossoptilon crossoptilon
Willow Ptarmigan : Lagopus lagopus
Hoary-headed Grebe : Poliocephalus poliocephalus
Manx Shearwater : Puffinus puffinus
Red-footed Booby : Sula sula
Anhinga : Anhinga anhinga
Black-crowned Night-Heron : Nycticorax nycticorax
Boat-billed Heron : Cochlearius cochlearius
White Stork : Ciconia ciconia
Red Kite : Milvus milvus
Eurasian Buzzard : Buteo buteo
Corn Crake : Crex crex
Spotted Crake : Porzana porzana
Purple Swamphen : Porphyrio porphyrio
Little Bustard : Tetrax tetrax
Common Crane : Grus grus
Northern Lapwing : Vanellus vanellus
Black-winged Stilt : Himantopus himantopus
Wattled Jacana : Jacana jacana
Black-tailed Godwit : Limosa limosa
Common Snipe : Gallinago gallinago
Great Black-headed Gull : Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus
Dovekie : Alle alle
Golden Parakeet : Guarouba guarouba
Saffron-headed Parrot : Pyrilia pyrilia
Guira Cuckoo : Guira guira
Eurasian Eagle-Owl : Bubo bubo
Common Swift : Apus apus
Amazilia Hummingbird : Amazilia amazilia
Bronzy Inca : Coeligena coeligena
Sword-billed Hummingbird : Ensifera ensifera
White-backed Mousebird : Colius colius
Jamaican Tody : Todus todus
Green-tailed Jacamar : Galbula galbula
Greater Honeyguide : Indicator indicator
Suiriri Flycatcher : Suiriri suiriri
Eastern Kingbird : Tyrannus tyrannus
Guianan Cock-of-the-rock : Rupicola rupicola
Purple-breasted Cotinga : Cotinga cotinga
Purple-throated Cotinga : Porphyrolaema porphyrolaema
White-bearded Manakin : Manacus manacus
White-crowned Manakin : Pipra pipra
Ratchet-tailed Treepie : Temnurus temnurus
Eurasian Magpie : Pica pica
Red-billed Chough : Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Bank Swallow : Riparia riparia
Winter Wren : Troglodytes troglodytes
White-throated Dipper : Cinclus cinclus
Goldcrest : Regulus regulus
Thrush Nightingale : Luscinia luscinia
Common Redstart : Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Northern Wheatear : Oenanthe oenanthe
Eurasian Golden Oriole : Oriolus oriolus
Southern Tchagra : Tchagra tchagra
Lafresnaye's Vanga : Xenopirostris xenopirostris
Blue-backed Tanager : Cyanicterus cyanicterus
Common Diuca-Finch : Diuca diuca
White-bridled Finch : Melanodera melanodera
Northern Cardinal : Cardinalis cardinalis
Yellow-headed Blackbird : Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Melodious Blackbird : Dives dives
Austral Blackbird : Curaeus curaeus
Venezuelan Troupial : Icterus icterus
European Goldfinch : Carduelis carduelis
European Serin : Serinus serinus
Black-headed Canary : Alario alario
Eurasian Bullfinch : Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Hawfinch : Coccothraustes coccothraustes
Rock Petronia : Petronia petronia
Red-billed Quelea : Quelea quelea
Violet-eared Waxbill : Granatina granatina
Red Avadavat : Amandava amandava

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Mary said...

That's a glorious

I can't keep the days of the week straight, either.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Wren said...

I'm in love with your anhinga photos. Oh, gosh, that first one is so beautiful I want to run right down to FL and kidnap a few for the back yard. (kidding, of course)

As for days of the week, given the international nature of the 'net, you can post most anything anytime. It's always Friday somewhere, or so it seems.

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Janet Creamer said...

Well, I think the anhinga is unique in having common and scientific name all matching for bird species. In the mammal world, there is the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)and the Bison (Bison bison)(I think Katdoc had something on her blog about this.) But one that I like who only has a double scientific name is our friend the skunk (Mephitis mephitis) which means bad odor. So its name means it is an extra stinky winky. :)

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Julie Zickefoose said...

Don't you love your readers, B?

All together now!

Mitu mitu! Pica pica! Crex crex! Grus grus! Alle alle!


At 9:01 AM, Blogger Rondeau Ric said...

Sounds like a snappy new song for a certain simian named group I've heard of in Ohio.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger KatDoc said...

Yes, Janet is right, I am fascinated by animals whose common name is the same as the genus and species. The Anhinga is the only bird I know who fits that category.

As for mammales, I knew the American Bison, Bison bison, and the Eurasian lynx, Lynx lynx.

In the line of same-names, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla is (wait for it)

Gorilla gorilla gorilla

For those whose genus & species names are the same, I knew the wren, the night-heron and the buzzard, but Daniel's list blew me away. I didn't know about the skunk.

Fun stuff!


At 10:05 PM, Blogger Bennet said...

I'm going to do some research, but I recall reading somewhere that the Anhinga is the only bird in the New World with the same common, generic, and specific name. Hopefully if I can find the reference it would pin down where the other bird(s) would be. Or eliminate a hemisphere, at least.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Bill of the Birds said...

Wow! I am overwhelmed by this response! You am some smart cookies!

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Ann said...

Finally! My 15 minutes of fame...

I've always said that I traded up when I got married and exchanged the identity of a long-necked swamp bird for that of a famous designer, but I'm rethinking that now.

Nice to see that life's good for you. Juli Pohlman says hello, too. She's the one who saw this post and tipped me off via Facebook.

Ann Hinga Klein

At 2:13 PM, OpenID elizabird said...

Wow it is funny Ann Hinga Klein responded. Just like real birding--mention it and up it pops.

The Anhinga is also a sacred bird of the Peyote ceremonies. The Water turkey and tail feathers are used in the ceremonial fans.
I have piece of silver jewelry that is an anhinga I bought on one of my trips out west. The anhinga is also believed to be the Thunderbird. Why it is sacred to the Cheyenne people is unbeknownst by me.

Just a tiny piece of the puzzle on this really cool bird.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Owlman said...

Spectacular Saturday? Those shots are fantastic!

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Bill of the Birds said...

Hi Ann! How great to "see" you after all these years.

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Ann said...

Hi, Bill! It's been a treat for me to have landed in your online community. You and Julie can add my family to your list of readers... we just picked up a copy of her beautiful book. And thanks to elizabird et al, I have a new appreciation of Anhingas. All the best!


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