About Bird Names

NOTE: like much of this website, this is a work in progress and nowhere near a comprehensive listing


Hediger H (1976) Proper names in the animal kingdom. Experientia 32: 1357–1364.

Jobling JA (1991) A dictionary of scientific bird names. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jobling JA (2010) Helm dictionary of scientific bird names. London: A&C Black.

Lederer R, Burr C (2014) Latin for Bird Lovers. Timber Press.

Marttila A (2010) A cross-linguistic study of lexical iconicity and its manifestation in bird names. München: LINCOM Europa

Stickney E (2009) The “Whys” of Bird Names. New York: Vantage Press.

North American Birds

Beolens B, Watkins M (2003) Whose bird?: common bird names and the people they commemorate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Choate EA (1973) The Dictionary of American bird names. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Common Press (revised in 1985)

Cooke WW (1884) Bird nomenclature of the Chippewa Indians. The Auk 1: 242–250.

Cowan W (1972) Reduplicated bird names in Algonquian. International Journal of American Linguistics 38: 229–230.

Faaborg J (2015) The scientific nomenclature of birds in the Upper Midwest. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 127: 344–345.

Holloway JE (2003) Dictionary of Birds of the United States. Timber Press

Höhn EO (1969) Eskimo Bird Names at Chesterfield Inlet and Baker Lake, Keewatin, Northwest Territories. Arctic 22: 72–76.

Hohn EO (1973) Mammal and bird names in the Indian languages of the Lake Athabasca area. Arctic 26: 163-171

McAtee WL (1951) Folk etymology in North American bird names. American Speech 26:90–95.

Mearns B, Means R (1992) Audubon to Xántus: the lives of those commemorated in North American bird names. London: Academic Press.

Central and South American Birds

Berlin B, O’Neill JP (1981) The pervasiveness of onomatopoeia in Aguaruna and Huambisa bird names. Journal of Ethnobiology 1:238–261.

Birds of the British Isles

Birkhead TR, Montgomerie R (2016) A vile passion for altering names: the contributions of Charles Thorold Wood jun. and Neville Wood to ornithology in the 1830s. Archives of Natural History 43: 221–236.

Braidwood J (1965) Local Bird Names in Ulster–A Glossary. Ulster Folklife 11: 98–135.

Hough C (1997) Place-name evidence for Old English bird-names. Journal of the English Place-Name Society 30: 60–76.

Jackson CE (1968) British names of birds. London: HF & G. Witherby.

Jackson R (1996) A Guide to Scots Bird Names. Ptarmigan Press.

Kitson PR (1997) Old English bird‐names. English Studies 78: 481–505.

Kitson PR (1998) Old English bird‐names (II). English Studies 79: 2–22.

Lockwood WB (1984) The Oxford book of British bird names. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.

Lockwood WB (1961) The Faroese bird names. Denmark: Munksgaard.

Lockwood WB (1993) The Oxford dictionary of British bird names. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mearns B, Means R (1993) Biographies for Birdwatchers: The Lives of Those Commemorated in Western Palearctic Bird Names. London: Academic Press.

Swainson C (1885) Provincial names and folk lore of British birds. London: English Dialect Society.

Whitman CH (1898) The birds of Old English literature. The Journal of [English and] Germanic Philology 2: 149–198.

Eurasian Birds

Black JA, Al-Rawi FNH (1987) A contribution to the study of Akkadian bird names. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie 77:117–126.

Baldacci M (1994) Some Eblaite bird names and biblical Hebrew. Die Welt des Orients 25: 57–65.

Cabard P, Chauvet B (1997) The etymology of bird names origins and meaning of bird names in Europe scientific names, French names, 2nd edition. [L’ etymologie des noms doiseaux origine et sens des noms des oiseaux dEurope noms scientifiques, noms francais 2nd edition.]

Cabard P, Chauvet B (2003) L’étymologie des noms d’oiseaux : Origine et sens des noms des oiseaux du Paléarctique occidental ( noms scientifiques, noms français et étrangers. Belin.

Desfayes M (1998) A Thesaurus of Bird Names: v. 4: Etymology of European Lexis Through Paradigms. Sion, Switzerland: Museé Cantonal d’Histoire Naturelle

Greppin JAC (1978) Classical and Middle Armenian bird names: a linguistic, taxonomic, and mythological study. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books.

Lindsay WM (1918) Bird-names in Latin glossaries. Classical Philology 13: 1–22.

Sandberg R (1992) European bird names: in fifteen languages. Lund: Sandberg.

Tyrberg T (1985) Place-names derived from bird names in Ostergotland, Sweden. A study in avian faunistic history. Var Fågelvarld, 444: 207-222

Whinnom K (1966) A glossary of Spanish bird-names. London: Tamesis Books.

Birds of Australia and Oceania

Clark R (1994) Evolution, migration and extinction of Oceanic bird names. pp. 73-86 in A. K. Pawley and M. D. Ross, eds., Austronesian Terminologies: Continuity and Change, Pacific Linguistics C-l27. Canberra: Australian National University

Condon HT (1955) Aboriginal bird names: South Australia. South Australian Ornithologist 21: 74–88.

Gray J, Fraser I (2013) Australian bird names: A complete guide. CSIRO PUBLISHING.

Ploeg J, Weerd MV (2010) Agta bird names: an ethno-ornithological survey in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, Philippines. Forktail 26: 127.

Rand AL (1955) Philippine bird names of Blasius. The Auk 72: 210–212.

Verheijen JAJ (1963) Bird-Names in Manggarai, Flores, Indonesia. Anthropos 58: 677–718.

African Birds

Moreau RE (1940) Bird-names used in coastal north-eastern Tanganyika Territory. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal 10: 1-26

Muir J (1940) 1. Afrikaans bird-names in Riversdale, CP. The Ostrich 11: 1–19.

Clinning C (1989) Southern African bird names explained. Southern African Ornithological Society.

Veldhuis N (2004) Religion, Literature, and Scholarship: The Sumerian Composition of Nanše and the Birds, with a Catalogue of Sumerian Bird Names. Leiden: Brill.