Berghaan to Blackbird

Bird Dictionary

Get more interesting bird facts and information at The Wonder of Birds or check out more from our bird dictionary:

Aasvogel to Albino

Alectorides to Amazon

Ambiens to Ani

Anisodactyli to Ateal

Auk to Axilla

Babbler to Barley Bird

Barwing to Bengali

Berghaan to Blackbird

Blackcap to Bluecap

Bluethroat to Bronze Wing

Brubru to Buzzard

Caeca to Carr Goose

Cashew Bird to Charadriomorphae

Chat to Churn Owl

Circulation to Cob

Cobblers-Awl to Coracoid

Coracomorphae to Crest

Crocker to Cypselomorphae

Dabchick to Devling

Dhayal to Dollarbird

Berghaan (Mountain cock)
            Berghaan is the name given to some of the larger Eagles, and especially to the beautiful Bateleur Eagle, Terathopius ecaudatus, by the Dutch colonists in South Africa.  The name has often been adopted for this bird by English residents also (Layard, B. S. Africa, pp. 11, 18).

            Apparently the correct way before the dawn of the 20th century of spelling the word now written, in accordance with its pronunciation, "Barnacle" or "Barnicle." Its derivation is as puzzling to the etymologist as is to the ornithologist the discovery of the breeding-grounds of the bird it denominates. Dr. Murray, under the word "Barnacle" in the New Enqlish Dictionary, gave as the oldest known English form the Bernekke (Latinized Bernaca) of Giraldus Cambrensis about 1175 ; and states that the Cirriped (Le pas anatifera), also so-called, took its name from the Bird, a kind of GOOSE, and not the Bird from the Cirriped.

        Said to be a local English name for the Water-RAIL.

Bill or Beak


Bird of Paradise

Bird of Prey
            A phrase in common use, signifying any member of the Order Accipitres of Linnaeus (the SHRIKES being generally excepted) or of the RAPTORES of many later systematists.

Bishop Bird or Bishop Tanager
            Latham's rendering (Gen. Synops. ii. p. 226) of the French l'Eveque, by which name a species inhabiting Louisiana was, according to Dupratz (Hist. de la Louisiane, ii. p.140), originally called, as stated by Buffon (Hist. Nat. Ois. iv. p. 291).  Dupratz's bird was probably the Passerina cyanea of modern ornithology, the Indigo-bird or Indigo-Bunting of the English in North America; but Buffon confused it with his Organiste of Santo Domingo - a very different species, while Brisson had already applied the French name (l'Evesque, as he wrote it) to a third species from Brazil, which subsequently became the Tanagra episcopus of Linnaeus, known as the Blue-Gray Tanager, and this seems to be the only one now known (and that to few but "fanciers") as the "Bishop-Bird" or "Bishop-TANAGER" - the colour of its plumage suggesting, as in the original case, the appellation. Audubon, himself a Louisianian, makes no mention of the name "Bishop-Bird"; but said (B. Amer. iii. p. 96) that it was known to his countrymen as the Petit Papebleu.  He adds that the first settlers called all the Buntings, Finches and "Orioles" Papes.


        The Blackbird is the common, but not the most ancient, (Its earliest use seems to be in the Book of St. Albans in 1486, where it occurs as "blacke bride.") name of the OUSEL, the Turdus merula of Linnaeus  and most ornithologists (By some unhappy accident the order of these words was reversed in Dr. Murray's New English Dictionary. The bird has been named Merula atra, but never Merula turdus (as therein stated) by Linnaeus or anyone else).  The blackbird is one of the best known of British birds; but since conferred in distant countries on others whose only resemblance to the original bearer lies in their colour, as in North America to several members of the Icteridae (GRACKLE and ICTERUS), in the West Indies to the species of Crotophaga (Ani), and perhaps to more in other lands. Occasionally too in translations of Scandinavian works it is used to render Svartfugl - the general name for the Alcidae (Auk) - of which indeed it is an equivalent, but its use in that capacity tends to mistakes.

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