Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 67

What the Heck is a Tanager? K nowledge and memories from back home heavily infuenced the European explorers, settlers, and naturalists who selected names for the "new" animals and plants they encountered in the Americas. Sometimes they got it right, as they discovered and named new species of owls, woodpeckers, crows, etc. Many of the smaller birds looked and behaved like familiar species in Europe, so they were given names like bunting, warbler, blackbird, oriole, and grosbeak. Several new names had to be coined. One of those was tanager, and it was used for colorful, fruit-eating birds that didn't ft in with what was known back home. Though most of the names these frst explorers applied weren't quite correct, many of their "new" species have retained these common names. On the other hand, as the years have passed and more has been learned, most of these "misnamed" birds were given different scientifc names, and some were moved from the families into which they were originally placed. Such is the case with the "nine-primaried oscines". This assemblage contains a number of groups whose origins lie in the Americas and are still found exclusively here: New World warblers, icterids, tanagers, New World sparrows, and cardinalids. It also includes groups that are 12 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | November 2013

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Birder's Guide - NOV 2013