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Bird of Prey Names Explained #2
Wild Birds Mix
"I seemed to find an interesting quiz theme for the last one of these, so by request, here's another quiz where I'll explain the scientific name of a raptor, and you get to work out what the common name is."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
This raptor is the largest of the true hawks. The Latin name Accipiter gentilis translates directly as the pagan hawk. It is found all over North America and Europe. What is it called in English?
Slightly morbid, this bird is a vulture. The Latin name (Cathartes aura) is an apt name for a bird that cleans carcasses and keeps disease from spreading. Cathartes is Greek for "purifier" and aura comes from Greek for "breath" or "air". Which vulture is this?
This owl has the largest facial disc of any owl. The Latin name is Strix nebulosa. Strix comes from the Greek for screecher, which says that they are from the screech owl family. Nebulosa is Latin term, meaning foggy, misty or cloudy. This is very apt - the size of the bird is similar to an Eagle owl, but under all those fluffy feathers is a body that is half the weight. What is it called?
Great grey owl
This falcon, Falco columbarius, has several possible translations for its name. Falco obviously means falcon, but columbarius has several possible roots. One of these is from the Latin "columba", meaning dove. In fact, one of the nicknames for this bird is the pigeon hawk. However, its common name is most often associated with a magician of Arthurian legend.
This eagle has a very mythical name. The name Pandion haliaetus comes from Greek, rather than Latin. The genus name Pandion is from the Greek king of Athens (also called Pandion) and the grandfather of Theseus, who was transformed into an eagle. The word haliaetus is derived from the Greek for sea eagle. What is this regal eagle known as?
White-tailed sea eagle
This vulture has a scientific name derived from Greek. It is listed as Coragyps atratus. Coragyps is a combined word, from korax (raven) and gyps (vulture). The raven part comes from the all over, black plumage. The species name atratus reinforces this, and means clothed in black, particularly when in mourning. It should be easy to guess what this one is called in English!
This falcon, Falco biarmicus, like all other falcons has the genus derived from the Latin "falx", or sickle shaped. Biarmicus is Latin for being twice armed, which is a reference to the additional sharp points midway along the beak. It is very maneuverable, and as a result, this falcon tends to be the bird of prey that you will see flown to the lure in falconry demonstrations.
One of the smallest owls, Athene cunicularia, is found in the same genus as the little owl, as they look very similar. Athene comes from the Greek godess Athena, cunicularis means "pertaining to the rabbit". Taking rabbits as a clue to the English name, what is this owl?
This Latin name is very descriptive of the vulture in question. Gypaetus barbatus translates as the bearded vulture-eagle. It is a scavenger, but passes on the rotting meat, and prefers the marrow inside the bones. It will drop large bones from a height to crack them into smaller pieces. The obvious English name for this bird is what?
This bird's names, both Latin and English, suggest that the person that named it wasn't quite sure what to call it. Geranoaetus melanoleucus has the genus that comes from the Greek meaning crane-eagle. Melanoleucus, the species name comes from Greek again - melano meaning black, and leukos meaning white. The typical habitat of the "Black-white crane-eagle" is South American hills, which gives a clue to its common name.
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Compiled Jun 18 13