Myers, Susan

The Bird Name Book is an alphabetical reference book on the origins and meanings of common group bird names, from “accentor” to “zeledonia.” A cornucopia of engaging facts and anecdotes, this superbly researched compendium presents a wealth of incisive entries alongside stunning photos by the author and beautiful historic prints and watercolours. Myers provides brief biographies of prominent figures in ornithology – such as John Gould, John Latham, Alfred Newton, and Robert Ridgway – and goes on to describe the etymological history of every common group bird name found in standardized English. She interweaves the stories behind the names with quotes from publications dating back to the 1400s, illuminating the shared evolution of language and our relationships with birds, and rooting the names in the history of ornithological discovery.

Whether you are a well-travelled birder or have ever wondered how the birds in your backyard got their names, The Bird Name Book is an ideal companion.

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Princeton University Press, November 2022.  416 pages, hardcover, 200 colour photos and colour illustrations