The Lapwing once had many regional names; the Loon has a British-American identity crisis and the respectable-sounding Apostlebird is often called a Lousy Jack. Why do bird names, both common and scientific, change over time and why do they vary so much between different parts of the English-speaking world? Wandering through the scientific and cultural history of ornithology takes us to the heart of understanding the long relationship between birds and people.
Lapwings, Loons and Lousy Jacks uncovers the stories behind the incredible diversity of bird names, explains what many scientific names actually mean and takes a look at the history of the system by which we name birds. Ray Reedman explores the natural history and folklore behind bird names, in doing so unlocking the mystery of the name Scoter, the last unexplained common name of a British bird species.
Ray Reedman combines his love of birds and travel with a deep understanding of language and history. As a retired Senior Master of a successful independent school Ray rekindled a life-long love of the natural world by teaching courses on ornithology and travelling the world to watch birds.
Introduction Historical Perspectives Roots and routes Widening horizons Frameworks The milestones Developments before Linnaeus Linnaeus and the Linnaean System The evolution of formal English names Inside the System The matrix Classic deviations The names behind the names Things in their place Cardinal points And the scientists didn't always do so well Warts and all The names and the stories New Horizons North American names - Crossing the Great Divide Australian names - Let's go fossicking Trinidadian names - The Tropical Trail Journey's End Appendix: The Legends behind the Names Bibliography